I have been reading Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
Flow is that experience you get when you’re deeply involved in some task, and you’re totally focused on what’s going on. I’ve just started the book and it’s an odd mixture of science and self help prose. My only conclusion is that it was written by a Scientist who has read alot of self-help books, but never actually written anything more than scientific papers.
I came to a ‘huh’ moment last night when he listed the 8 common traits all of his several thousand respondants had for the Flow experience. I thought I’d share:
- The experience usually occures when we confront tasks we have a chance of completing.
- We must be able to concentrate on what we are doing.
- We can concentrate because the task has clear goals.
- Like wise because the task gives instant feedback.
- The action seems to involve deep but effortless involvment.
- We exercise a sense of control over our actions
- Concern for the self dissappears.
- The sense of the duration of time goes away. "Time Flies" by either contracting ("That 3 hours? Felt like 10 minutes") or expanding ("That was 10 minutes? Felt like 3 hours.")
There is a harmony in here with David Allen's Getting Things Done time managment system, as well as with all the litterature on User Interface Design and Information Architecture (Donald Norman, Jakob Neilsen et. al.)
It's causing something to churn in an already bubbling mind.
Feel free to share!