Taken out of context

It takes the average person nine minutes to get back into a task after an interruption.

04 June 2024

There’s a particular joy when you realise that the last 400 words appeared on the page without prompting, and that 30 minutes or an hour have passed in what seemed like moments. It’s the same feeling as when a couple of hundred lines of code now fill the screen, which was blank, in the blink of an eye. Artists crave the sense that the paintbrush moves itself, or that the music notes just pop on to the score as if by magic. Most of us get this sensation at work sometimes; whether we’re creating a new presentation or fitting a brake pad, intense concentration and creation can be sublime.

It’s what’s formally known as “flow”, a term coined by psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, who described it as “a state in which people are so involved in an activity that nothing else seems to matter; the experience is so enjoyable that people will continue to do it even at great cost, for the sheer sake of doing it”.

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