Today, I’m going to talk about how over time, your habits become routine and you achieve a state of flow, where you’re able to get shit loads done. More than you ever thought possible.
But to get there, you must first complete a challenge, and to achieve success in that challenge you must practice often, learn to balance what you do and always be carefully curating the things you work on.
Let’s get into it and how you can achieve this state of flow for yourself.
All About Balance
Life, in general, is a balancing act, and when it comes to your habits and goals; it is no different. If you make an error in judgement, consequences await. The repercussions for incorrectly planning your work is usually burnout, and we all know how much that totally sucks.
Something that people often forget when planning their goals and habits is that things aren’t set in stone and always need to be changed and adapted continuously or adjusted to work the best it can. This comes from getting in the trenches and seeing how things go; then making additions, changes and even removals as necessary.
As I have been publicly sharing my plans in a weekly log over on my blog, I’ve seen first-hand how plans evolve and change as you get into the action and learn more about your passions. In just nine weeks of 2020, I’ve made a bunch of adjustments and feel all the better for it. I’ve also gained a ton of knowledge I’ll use going forwards in my content creation.
That knowledge gained from trial and error has an added bonus too, in that with each cycle of completing a task, I need to think about it less, and the results incrementally improve. This leads to me being able to get shit done more effectively and faster the further times I do something.
The Flow State
As you continue to learn and grow with your own plans and habits, you’re able to get into a state of flow with certain tasks, the more you complete them. To reach this mythical place, you need to think like an athlete. And no, this isn’t me asking you to go running or to take up javelin at the local recreation centre.
I’m talking about the concept of periodisation.
Periodisation is a manner of progression and habit completion, first used by Eastern European Olympic athletes in the 1970s (and still used wisely today). It focuses around overloading specific skills one at a time in 4-6 week periods, in addition to the standard basic training.
I use this in my own work to “overload” one discipline at a time in my content routine (be it music, design or writing). I first set a base level I want to achieve every week and then depending on how I feel or the goals I have set out, I push one of those skills further. It’s then just a case of cycling back and forth between my skills often to reduce the chances of burnout but maintaining a constant forward trajectory on all front.
For example, I’ve recently been sharing a lot more music after spending a while practising. I expected this to be a big challenge, but I’ve found that sharing more often on that front is easier than expected. So instead of sharing once a week as I had planned, I can share once every couple of days. On the flip-side, when I dove headfirst into sharing daily on Dribbble earlier this year I quickly had to scale back and then take a break because I was overwhelmed by how much I was having to produce (shout out to those daily UI people, no idea how they do it).
But remember that everything (and everyone) is different. So your mileage will vary. Just make sure to always check how you’re feeling and the quality and consistency of your output. Make adjustments as needed. Then go and smash it!
With further time and experimentation, you’ll unearth the changes and iterations you need to make to your own goals and schedule that keep things feeling fresh and your progress high. And with every round of completions and improvements, you too improve. So you’ll be able to get more and more done every step of the way.
Remember too that every one of those steps adds up towards the compound interest of your success and freedom, it builds a solid foundation for you to do the work you enjoy the most from. The foundation you need to make a living doing what you love.
This originally appeared on my newsletter.