You’re doing a project and you’re in a rut. Doing work feels like you’re banging your head against a wall. Congrats, the primitive part of your human brain is working perfectly!
The primitive part of your brain functions from the motivational triad (conserve energy, avoid pain, seek pleasure). When you’re functioning from that part of your brain, it’s time for a CHANGE.
Use TOOLS to make something easier or more fun. The ways you can change the tools you use are to adopt, adapt, or abandon. If you think about the model (check out my podcast if you’re like “what hell is he talking about?”) you either change your circumstance or thought (aka Environment or Mindset). We don’t need to change our circumstances to feel better (this is 100% true); however, sometimes it can still be beneficial. I’ll address this more a little later.
I call this forcing a brain reset:
- Change of environment or task → Essentially anything that changes your focus and engages one of your learning centers (visual, auditory, and/or kinesthetic/movement)
- Change your mindset → Thinking things that serve you and ditching those that don’t.
- An example of combining the above → Write RESET on a piece of paper – this literally tricks your brain into shifting focus and engages both the visual and kinesthetic learning centers in your brain (say it out loud and you can round it out with the auditory learning center!).
When I say adopt, I mean to recreate the same environment or mindset that has already shown success. Take something that worked for someone else OR something you have done before that just works. Why fix what isn’t broken, right?
- Environment Example: If you do really good work listening to podcasts, put a podcast on
- Mindset Examplet: Focus in on a mantra that’s served you in the past, “I can figure anything I want out.”
Sometimes you need to adapt, which means doing something slightly different. Let’s say you’re listening to a podcast while working and you make a mistake because you were enthralled but you don’t want to make more mistakes.
- Environment Example: Instead of listening to a podcast, listen to music instead
- Mindset Examplet: Shift to I’m learning how to figure things out
Other times you need to abandon the tool or task. This is when you get to a point where you’re making no progress but you keep doing the task to fill your day or because “you’re supposed to”. Now, I don’t mean quit forever; just pause and come back to it later. I block out my calendar for how much time I want or think a task is going to take. If It seems like I’m stuck after a while and can’t reset my brain then I look at my calendar, see what the next task is, and switch. Moving calendar items until you get back in the swing of things can be just what your brain needs to get back into the flow.
- Environment Example: Turning off the music
- Mindset Examplet: Use a completely different mantra → I can absolutely do this
What are some things you do to get back in flow?