The Ultimate Flow State Guide

Part IV: Getting into Flow State: Learn How With Recess's Five Factor Flow Model
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Matt Swartz
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Chief Flow Officer
April 25th, 2022

Welcome to Part IV of the Ultimate Guide to Flow State: Getting into Flow State: Learn How With Recess's Five Factor Flow Model

If you missed the previous post I highly recommend you read the previous posts before continuing.

if you're ready, let's continue...

One of the challenges engaging with Flow is that while there is a lot of material that exists to describe and assess flow what is not outlined is How - so that's the question, how do we to get into flow state? It feels a lot like forgiveness – I know I want to forgive someone, but how do I do that? 

At Recess we have spent over a year of research creating a map for getting into Flow State, sustaining it, and allowing that state to spread out and integrate into other areas of our life.

We call this map The Five Factor Flow Model. These are the knobs, buttons, and levers that anyone can push and pull to improve  ability to enter flow state. The more you streamline each of these areas, the easier it will be to get in flow...stay in flow...and experience Flow State in your daily life.

The Five Factor Flow Model

The best part is that while these factors can be influenced for individual situations, they also have a generalizing affect. That means that when you work on each of these areas in your life, they should apply globally to other areas enhancing Flow in multiple situations. It’s the difference between watering a plant with a watering can (Growing Flow in one single situation) and setting up a self-watering irrigation system (improving the Five Factors of Flow in your overall life): while it may be more work upfront to set up the irrigation system, it will mean a lot less work in the long run!

Factor 1: Presence
– Awareness, Focus, and Energy

Those in Flow State report total Presence: this factor outlines your ability to be fully tuned in to Flow and engaged in the activity in the present moment. The first component, Awareness, is your conscious and unconscious attention towards the factors in the present, past, and future impacting your objective. Second, Focus is your ability to tune out distractions and fully immerse yourself in the activity. Third, Energy means you come in energized, and you can sustain and even grow your energy level through the task at hand.

Being fully Present is both a requirement and result of being fully in Flow State. 

Factor 2: Peace
– Safety, Stress, and Stability

Peace and ease are by products of Flow State, but how do we attain them? First, Safety is required, by safety we mean both physical and psychological safety. This feeling of safety needs to be present in your general life as well as specific around the performance of the task you're engaging in.

Next, we must both manage and heal our areas of Stress that inhibit flow. This means that when you become aware of something blocking you from getting into flow state, it needs to be addressed.

Finally, Stability centers on the predictability and structure of the task that facilitate Flow.

When these factors are addressed, we find Peace, and a pathway opens into Flow State. 

Factor 3: Purpose
– Achievement, Goals, and Passion

Being in Flow means you feel totally on Purpose when attending to your goal. For this to occur, you first need a sense of Achievement. This sense of achievement is related to having past success in the task you are approaching. Secondly, you need to have a clear Goal that feels attainable, and a clear pathway, with rules and steps to get there with a fair degree of certainty. Finally, you need to feel Passion about both the activity and goal you are looking to achieve. In order to experience Passion the journey must create a positive emotional reaction.

With these aspects in alignment, you feel a deep sense of Purpose that will lead you into Flow State. 

Factor 4: Potential
– Capability, Worth, and Connection

When you’re in Flow, you’re clear on your Potential and the potential of the present activity. To begin, you need a sense of Capability - do you feel up to the task? do you feel able to get it done? do have the skills necessary to address it?

Second, it is important to be in touch with your sense of Worth, this is a deep sense of value regardless of your performance or any outcome involved (after all, you can always try again).

Third, having a sense of Connection, ideally with others either involved with the task or who benefit directly or indirectly. If no others are involved, then it's about connecting with yourself, or the task itself.

When these elements of Potential are consistently present, the outcome will be Flow State. 

Factor 5: Play
– Curiosity, Creation and Joy

You’ll be thrilled to know that an essential aspect of Flow is Play. First, having Curiosity means approaching the task with a sense of open-minded wonder and genuine interest to discover something new. Second, you recognize the Creative input and output involved in the task, and your inherent creative spark you bring to the moment. Third, you bring a sense of Joy, happiness, and fun to the task, and remember not to let it get too serious.

With a Playful approach, you will find it much easier to move into Flow State.

Some Advice...

As you work to grow the Five Factors of Flow in your life, start small: focus on one factor at a time, and slowly build as you find success. Don’t overwhelm yourself trying to be perfectly in Flow by tomorrow. Building a life in Flow is a journey so be patient and loving with yourself.

Remember, if you want to get deeper on this, Check out this blog post where we go more deeply into the Five Factors of Flow and how you can grow them in your own life.

Just a reminder our team at Recess makes your journey to Flow State quick, easy and accessible.

Our app gets you into Flow State in just 10 minutes.

See the app here
Learn How it Works
Sign Up for Early Access

Closing Thoughts

We hope you now have a good understand of Flow State, why it’s important, its benefits, and the Five Factors Flow map of how to get into flow state and stay there longer.

The Recess app is built to help you build one of these areas at a time, so we encourage you to check out our app. Also with help on the journey, we are excited for you to join our community,
Recess Flow Tribe - a community of amazing people like you committed to Living in Flow!

Join us on Telegram

Don't forget to check out the rest of The Ultimate Guide to Flow State


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  1. Csíkszentmihályi, M. Good Business: Leadership, Flow, and the Making of Meaning. New York: Penguin Books, 2003. 
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  1. Kotler, S.  “Is The Secret To Ultimate Human Performance The F-Word?” Forbes, 2014.
  2. Šimleša M, Guegan J, Blanchard E, Tarpin-Bernard F, Buisine S. The flow engine framework: A cognitive model of optimal human experience. Eur J Psychol. 2018;14(1):232-253. doi:10.5964/ejop.v14i1.1370

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