During each productive pusuit, a zone is reached when we are coasting at our full potential and our interface with time and space gets significantly distorted. This is the flow zone that occurs often during some serious hard work or crucial external conditions. One must commit to maximize its utility instead of wasting it away. I mention some examples below starting with the physical exercise since most people can easily relate to that context.
- Exercise: Assume that you are on your way to completing 100 pushups. At 82, you take some rest and then do the rest of the 18 pushups. It is a common knowledge that 100 pushups in a sequence are different than 82+18 pushups with a break in between. This is because you are in a different physical condition at number 82. Being at this number is a state you will not reach often and you should always strive to maximize the potential of being there by continuing.
- Creativity: Imagine that you wake up at 4am for your creative projects. This is a time you have stolen from the world around you – just for your own growth. How exactly should you start? Like a horse whose barrier is lifted at the start of a race. With everything essential prepared at night, you need to jump straight into the most important stuff. This is not the time to research side stuff (even if related to your main project) on the Internet. Similarly, in the middle of those 3 hours while developing the software you always wanted to do, it is ok to take a break. However, try to avoid social media during the break and remember that the mental state you are in cannot be regained if you lapse and start working again. The best activity during a break, in my opinion, is physical exercise.
- Patience: With a strong morning routine, a full day either at job or business and daily exercise, chances are that a person would be mentally exhausted or near to being exhausted. But this is the family time. Your spouse and kids are happy to see you but they have their own kinds of days which means that a relaxed quiet evening might not be on their agenda. Kids are going to do things that might irritate you and test the limits of your patience. At that time, remember that it is so easy to smile and ignore little annoyances in the morning or during the office hours. Now you might find difficult to be patient. But this is exactly when the patience muscle grows through enough practice. If you act as an irritated person now, you miss the chance of having a mind like water in all circumstances.
- Sleep: While a break in the sleep might not be necessarily bad, I have found myself at different levels of freshness when I sleep straight for 6 hours versus when I sleep in parts totalling 6 hours. For my case, sound and light must be absent for this purpose. Try what works best for you in achieving continuous sleep.
The bottom line in all the above scenarios is that once you are the in the flow of something beautiful, it is unwise to break it with a useless activity. Like compound interest, let it gain even more momentum instead of restarting from scratch.