What is creative flow and how do I get it?

Creative flow, often referred to as being “in the zone,” is a psychological state where an individual (us graphic designers!) becomes fully immersed in a creative or productive activity, experiencing a deep sense of focus, heightened concentration and a seamless connection between their thoughts and actions. This state is characterised by a sense of effortless control and a distortion of time, where hours may feel like minutes as the individual, whether it be an art director, designer, copywriter or artworker for example becomes engrossed in their work.

What happens when you get in the flow?

During creative flow, individuals often lose self-consciousness and are completely absorbed in the task at hand, allowing their skills and creativity to unfold naturally. This immersive state is not limited to any specific creative pursuit like graphic design; it can manifest in various activities such as writing, painting, coding or even problem-solving. The term was popularised by psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, who extensively studied the phenomenon and identified key components, such as clear goals, immediate feedback and a balance between challenge and skill, that contribute to the onset of creative flow.

Routines and rituals

Achieving creative flow is not only about productivity but also about the joy and satisfaction derived from the process of creation and design. To get into the creative flow, it’s crucial to create an environment that fosters concentration and minimises distraction. Establish a routine or ritual that signals the start of your creative session, helping your mind transition into a focused state. This might include setting specific work hours, using certain tools or props, or playing background music that enhances your concentration.

Helpful hints

Setting clear goals and breaking down larger tasks into smaller, manageable steps can also contribute to achieving creative flow. When objectives are well-defined, it becomes easier to stay engaged and navigate the creative process without feeling overwhelmed. Embrace challenges and view them as opportunities for growth rather than obstacles. Maintaining a positive mindset and being open to experimentation can stimulate creativity and keep the creative flow going!

No more imposter syndrome!

Eliminating self-doubt and perfectionism is essential for entering the creative flow. Understand that making mistakes is a natural part of the creative process and can lead to unexpected discoveries. Allow yourself the freedom to explore ideas without the constant pressure of achieving perfection. Embracing a mindset of curiosity and playfulness can enhance creativity and contribute to a more enjoyable creative flow experience.

The bigger picture

Finally, taking care of your overall well-being is crucial for sustaining creative flow. Ensure you get enough sleep, maintain a healthy lifestyle and take breaks to avoid burnout. Physical exercise, mindfulness practices and staying connected with a supportive creative community can also contribute to a more sustainable and enriching creative flow. Ultimately, entering the state of creative flow is about finding a balance between focus, relaxation and a positive mindset to unlock your creative potential.

At Fresco Creative we love nothing more than getting immersed in creative briefs! For your next project, contact us today!