In flow, all aspects of performance are remarkably heightened, and this includes creative performance. Taking on a creative project is a great way to experiment with flow as you can set the conditions in a very controlled way. Plus its fun, and you may end up with something pretty!
Surfboard Art flow Project
I received my new custom shaped surfboard from my mate Felipe, who is a highly skilled shaper. His brandname is Flow surfboards- It was meant to be! I’m so excited to surf the board but waves have been small lately so I decided to save her for the next good day and to get creative instead. I’ve never painted a surfboard even though they are the perfect blank canvasses. This was the perfect opportunity.
I freed up my entire sunday afternoon, bought the posca pens and spraypaint, planned out my rough design, and organised my art area. I turned off the phone, put the headphones on and BAM… there goes 6 hours of pure fun. My mind was so focused by the precision of drawing and colouring in. It was very meditative; I was flying on autopilot, yet fully immersed in my task.
My senses were fully occupied with colours, lines, textures, smells. I planned out the design, but mostly free-styled the colours and some of the patterns and made a few decisions on the spot. I felt like a kid with a new colouring book, and I had a smile on my face the whole afternoon! I can’t wait to do the next one. And thats what flow states are all about.
Flow project tips
Here's some pointers for how to use an art project to experiment with flow states:
1. Plan out what you want to do/set the goal: Write ideas down, make sketches, do whatever you have to do so that when its time to go, you have a clear idea what the next steps are and the eventual goal is clear.
2. Know your limits/set the challenge: I had some crazy intricate ideas, but I know I'm no Picasso. So I kept it relatively simple, yet intricate enough to challenge me and keep me interested.
3. Remove distractions: set aside time, allow yourself a few hours where you won't be interupted by other people or digital distractions. Use headphones and music if that helps you.
4. Don't take it too seriously. Its colouring in! This is playtime. Find your inner child and enjoy the process rather than obsess about the outcome.
Flow project wrap-up
After the project, run through the below checklist of flow indicators, and see how many of them were checked off.
1. You were challenged by the task at hand. The difficulty of your task was “just right”.
2. You were focused -no distractions or noise, allowing flow to flourish.
3. You had a clear goal.
4. You received immediate feedback. It looks good or doesn't.
5. Your worries and frustrations of everyday life receded into the background.
6. Your sense of self disappeared (only for a while).
7. You had a level of control over your actions while performing your task.
8. You lost track of time and felt refreshed when you’re done with your task.
Now spend some time contemplating how you felt during the project. Write it down, share in the comments!