5 Ways To Hack Flow State
We’ve all felt it. We know it’s crucial for us to make our best music, but what is it?
Well… you know, when you sit down to make music and suddenly find out 3 or 4 hours have gone by?
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi is a major contributor to positive psychology. His research has spawned many discoveries that contributed to creativity and mindset. Cool dude.
Being a psychologist and author of Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, he founded the term “flow.”
“People are happiest when they are in a state of flow – a state of concentration, or complete absorption with the activity at hand and the situation.” – Mihaly
In other words, flow is a highly focused mental state conducive to productivity and positive psychology.
In the zone, grooving, on a roll, maaad pocket, on fire, isn’t that what music production is all about?
Flow states can also help us to learn faster, improve our skills, and engage our subconscious mind. It’s also been linked to improved performance across various fields.
However, how many of us intentionally try to find a flow state when we’re producing music?
1 ) Create an optimal environment
Comfortable, practical, vibey, and no distractions. Sort of like a summoning ritual; it will help you overcome procrastination and immerse yourself more quickly into the channeling zone.
You have to practice and prepare to get creative.
Personally, I like to have my studio clean, take some time to be mindful, and get some physical activity in before working in the studio. I can’t just wake up and get into a creative mode.
Throw your distraction device (aka phone) into a neighboring solar system when you’re in the studio. I could go on a rant about this; just know if KILLS your focus and creativity.
2 ) Get moving
The body has its own awareness, its own wisdom. When we move to what we’re creating, it can help the body sync with the mind.
Emotions are closely tied to the body, and the body is linked to the subconscious mind. That’s because the body has an intelligence that functions beyond our conscious thinking.
Think about it… you don’t need to think about pumping your heart, breathing, walking, and about a billion other things.
It’s a lot easier to feel the music when you’ve got some pep in your step. You’ll stay more energized and motivated. This is where the magic happens.
So whether it’s going for a walk, doing a workout, or creating music standing up, the more you engage with your body, the less you’ll get in your head.
3) Clarify what sonic pallet your song is going to have
Tempo? Key? Genre? Instrumentation?
With proper preparation and clarification in the beginning phases, you can more easily open the floodgates of your creativity. You want to get out of your head and make the most of that subconscious mind.
If you can choose your “band members” in advance, AKA your sound and instruments, you’ll be far less likely to get stuck menu diving and adjusting parameters.
You want to make it as easy as possible for you to get into and stay in flow.
Design sounds, instruments, and use effects that will stimulate your expressiveness and creativity. The more options you have to affect the sound as you’re playing it, the better
Pro tip: spend one studio session per week solely focused on finding or designing cool sounds/instruments. You can then use them to jumpstart your flow state!
Think of it his way: Your controllers, instruments, and effects = your paint tray where you mix your colors.
This can be more easily achieved with some of the burdens of endless decisions taken care of in advance.
4) Activate your right brain, and disengage your left brain (easier said than done)
Don’t be afraid to make mistakes and jam out an improv session. Don’t judge any of your ideas when you’re trying to flow.
You guessed it! This idea is all about jamming and dissolving into the flow. Learn to get in the zone on demand and play your instruments like a modern virtuoso. We want to enter the zone where serendipity and happy accidents occur.
Time. To. Immerse. Yourself. In. Your. Senses
What can I feel when I create? Can I feel every note? Am I comfortable? Do I need to address something before getting into the zone? Am I aware of the overtones and textures of the sounds?
The point is to completely let go of the analytical mind and embrace your creative expression.
Escape the clutches of binary thinking by creating beyond “right” and “wrong.”
This state is when your mind is completely synchronized with your actions.
5) Micro goals
If you confront a lack of motivation, depression, or anxiety, set micro-goals to help circumvent that. The immediate feedback you’ll receive from your efforts will keep your inspired flame alive.
Strategically place mini-goals to achieve within your creative session. The right amount of challenge (obstacles) can help you develop bursts of flow (creative insights).
Keeping the balance of challenge versus your skill will allow you to harness intrinsic motivation. Keep it fun yet challenging. It will help you stay curious, persistent, and keep you excited to try different approaches.
All the hard work you put in to establish and consistently tap into your flow state will all be worth it when you create extraordinary results. All simply due to getting out of the own way of the essence that is you.
I hope that was helpful!
If you’re interested in learning more, check out my ►► 7 Simple Steps To Take Your Songs From Start To Finish. Download Your FREE Pro Producer Roadmap PDF: https://www.metamindmusic.com/workflow
My name is Alex, and I help musicians produce themselves by developing their mindset, expanding their creativity, and connecting to their inner artist in a deeper way.