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By STEPHEN J. BRONNER

When you feel like you’ve hit your stride at work, achieving a state of pure focus and creativity, that’s flow. The term was 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.”

Sounds ideal for accomplishing big things at work, right? Read on for how 10 entrepreneurs achieve a state of flow.

10. REMOVE DISTRACTIONS

“The most important factor that I control for in order to ‘get lost’ in my work is to remove distractions,” said Tony Mariotti, owner and realtor at Great Vancouver Homes. “That might mean turning off my computer and sketching an outline for an upcoming blog post with old-fashioned paper and pen. Often, I have to be separated from my computer, phone, or any other device that will deliver interruptions like texts, emails, or calls. The second controlled factor, which is a little harder to pull off, is to clear my schedule for the first two hours of my workday. That’s not often possible, but getting into a state of flow is a little easier in the morning when my head is still relatively free of distractions.”

9. PLAN EACH PROJECT

“I achieve a state of flow at work by making myself a visual roadmap of each step that I need to take to get from point A to point B before starting a project,” said David Morneau, CEO of inBeat Agency. “While having a mental roadmap helps, I prefer to have it visible by printing it and keeping it in front of me while I am working. It keeps me aware of what is next, and I stay focused and engaged. I have daily feedback sessions with myself or with one of my mentors to know how well I am doing and how far I am from my goal.”

8. REPEAT CERTAIN ACTIONS

“Repetition is the key to achieving a state of flow,” said Adem Selita, CEO at The Debt Relief Company. “I achieve this via positive reinforcement supplemented by repetitive cognitive behaviors. Whenever I am scheduled to speak with a significant client or potential partner, I press my chest twice (similar to how Tony Robbins does), and my mind is naturally conditioned to experience a change in state due to this. After years of this simple repetition, my brain helps me shift my state and achieve a state of high energy and accelerated output.”

7. DO SOMETHING THAT INVITES FLOW

“Let curiosity be the ticket to flow when it comes to work,” said Linda Clark, CEO and founder of Linda Clark Consulting LLC. “Do what takes you into flow, and then transition to work. I may hoop for a few minutes, and then tackle a project that needs creativity. You might run or meditate. Flow is more sustainable with breaks, but don’t take that too far into fracturing your attention span. Come up for air, grab a snack, and go back into the moment. When you’re in flow, or working to get there, create a space for that with minimal interruptions. Close your office door. Go somewhere new, even if it is your patio.”

“FIND WHAT YOU’RE GOOD AT — OR WILLING TO GET BETTER AT — AND MAKE IT A CORNERSTONE OF YOUR WORK.”

6. TIME YOURSELF IN A CREATIVE WAY

“I use a modified version of the Pomodoro Technique (25 minutes on, five minutes off) to help me get into a good work flow,” said Dan Gower, owner of Buddy Gardner Advertising. “Breaks help keep me energized for longer, plus the knowledge that I’ll have to take a break in 25 minutes forces me into a groove right away. I use albums to time myself, as one side of most vinyl records is about 25 minutes. When it’s time to flip the record or put a new one on, I take my break and remember what time I’m supposed to go back to work.”

5. PLAN FOR FLOW

“Before attempting a flow session, you should block out enough time on your schedule,” said Micah McGuire, founder and program strategist at The Mind Redesign. “Most experts recommend somewhere between 90 to 120 minutes. This will allow enough time for you to reach flow state (which can take up to 45 minutes) and remain there without the stress of an impending deadline. Then, set a highly specific goal of what you’ll work on during the flow session before starting. You should define the boundaries of your flow session work and what counts as completion. Finally, check the challenge level of your goal to ensure you’ll stay in the flow channel (illustrated in Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s “flow” diagram). You want the challenge to push your skills by roughly four percent. This may be a concrete goal (such as increasing your target word count on a blog post draft) or a more abstract goal (like brainstorming until you feel you’re mentally challenged).”

4. KNOW WHAT ACTIVITIES AREN’T FLOW COMPATIBLE

“There are a lot of tasks that are ‘flow resistant,’” said Matthew Burke, editorial director at The Complete Guide to Archery. “It could be answering calls from angry customers, dealing with difficult co-workers, or anything that you truly dislike. There are some tasks where it’s not worth finding flow, so hammer down these tasks, get them done, and then get back to the activities that let you focus. Mastery is an important element of flow. Find what you’re good at — or willing to get better at — and make it a cornerstone of your work.”

3. FIND THE RIGHT MUSIC

“What’s worked for me is to put on noise-canceling headphones and listen to ambient music or techno depending on what I’m trying to achieve,” said Ron Stefanski, founder of OneHourProfessor.com. “In the mornings, while I have coffee and try to get through most of my work, electronic music at 140+ BPM is what gets me in flow state. In this state, I can multitask and cut through my more mundane and time-consuming tasks with more efficiency. In the afternoons, when I’m writing, I prefer more ambient and chilled-out music to get me in the mood to write. With no vocals, my mind can drift through my thoughts as I write and think in perfect synchronicity. Music is the rhythm of life, and using it correctly can definitely help you achieve flow state once you’ve trained your mind.”

2. ACCOMPLISH SMALL THINGS FIRST

“To get into a state of flow, start with a ‘quick win list’ — a list of tasks that can be done in five to 15 minutes,” said Trevor Lohrbeer, founder of Day Optimizer. “Checking off these wins will spike your dopamine, helping you increase your focus and motivation. To set yourself up for success, before you end your day or when you are wrapping up a specific type of task, take five minutes to create a quick win list for your next work session. This will help you quickly get back into a state of flow next time.”

1. ACTIVATE ALPHA BRAIN WAVES

“There are quick steps to activate your alpha brain waves and hit that optimal state of flow where focus is interrupted and time flies,” said Tessa Hull, success and optimization coach at No Right Way Ltd. “Green tea holds L-theanine, which has been shown to significantly increase activities in the alpha frequency band without causing drowsiness, and 30 minutes of exercise has also been shown to help. If you could get meditation, a quick workout, and a cup of tea into your morning routine, you’re on the right track to achieve flow state more effectively.”

By STEPHEN J. BRONNER

Sourced from Inverse

By  Freddy Muriuki    

Have you ever wondered how some marketing experts seem to have the magic bullet to drive many sales while you can barely get a single prospect to click any of your buttons?

They naturally appear to have the knack for convincing prospects to buy what they are selling and at whatever price.

It’s like they have a solution for every need the customer has, which causes people to flock to their businesses, whether offline or online.

How do these successful marketers do it, and what can you learn from it? Well, it’s nothing profound; extraordinary marketers have learned how to incorporate psychology into their marketing campaigns.

They know exactly how to get into the mind of their target customer. As a result, they create content and offer solutions their customers can’t resist.

Yap, psychology has a great role to play in marketing. And according to Maryville University, there’s a growing demand for workers with a background in psychology in fields such as market research ($62,560 per annum), surveying ($54,470) and human resources ($59,180) among other career choices.

In today’s post, I highlight a couple of ways you can use psychology to drive your marketing efforts forward. Read on to learn how you can appeal to the emotional and psychological needs of your prospects, and leave them craving for your products.

Relate To Your Prospect

As human beings, we love forming packs or groups. We also tend to view and treat kindred spirits more favorably, a phenomenon known as in-group favouritism.

In marketing, you can use this phenomenon in your favor. It all begins with segmenting your audience in smaller and more focused groups. After that, create relevant content and appeals that are specific to each group.

It is one of the reasons testimonials are a popular part of marketing material. They show the prospect other users like them found a solution in your products and services.

On top of that, have you noticed how marketers are fond of displaying social proof at any given opportunity? Also known as social herding, showing social proof makes the prospect feel like they are part of your community.

Users are more likely to engage with your brand and products if they see others (who are like them) doing it. Take dancing for instance. At the beginning of the dance, everybody is hesitant to take to the floor. But as soon as the first few people start dancing, everybody else wants to join.

It is psychology in action, and you can leverage this technique in your marketing campaigns by trying your best to relate with a prospect at a personal level.

See how almost every mobile app has an “Invite Friends” button? Many web apps and social media sites thrive on this “join your friends” mentality.

It goes something like, “if your friends are doing it, then it must be good.” So, you figure out that “if my friends are buying this product, then it must be good.”

Foot-in-the-Door Technique

Psychological studies show that people are more willing to agree to larger requests, if they previously agreed to a smaller request.If you’re in doubt, you can try this psychological trick on your friends. Say you want to borrow $500 bucks from your friend, asking for $500 bucks in whole outrightly will face some resistance.

But by borrowing $100 bucks first, and then after a couple of days asking for $400 bucks, you’ll realize better results. Try it and come back with results, guaranteed.

This is common especially with email marketers. It’s easier for a user to provide an email address as opposed to buying your products.

Now, instead of throwing products at the prospect’s face and hope something will stick, the smart marketer starts small by asking for the email address.

Afterwards, you can send targeted emails to the user to provide context. Later on, you can introduce the user to your sales funnel.

If a prospect takes time to subscribe, they are more likely to engage with your brand and products later on.

The opposite of this technique is often known as the door-in-the-face technique. Instead of starting small, you start with a large and outlandish request that the user, obviously, turns down.

After that, you make a smaller request that the user “magically” accepts. But this is not a magic show, it is psychology at work. So, start big or small but make your second offer the exact opposite.

Appeal to Emotions

Along with getting personal comes appealing to emotions. If you can trigger the right kind of emotions in your prospects, you can get them to do whatever you desire.

At every stage of your marketing campaign, seek to appeal to your customers’ emotions. So, instead of listing your product’s features, outline the benefits the prospects will enjoy from the said product.

If you had no idea, highlighting the benefits of your product appeals to emotions as opposed to listing the features. By all means, the “features section” is important, but add a “benefits section” as well.

Make the benefits prominent across your marketing collateral. This shows the user you understand their needs, and have just the solutions they need.

And since we are talking about emotions, another psychological trick to use in marketing involves introducing fear, uncertainty and despair. Oh yes, evoking these kinds of emotions in your prospects is legitimate, and a popular tool that many politicians use to great success.

You can show your prospect how opting for an alternative product will cause mayhem in their life. By any means, you want the user to take your product as the best option.

Fear is a powerful emotion and if you can harness it to turn your prospects against the competition, you’re golden.

Appealing to emotions can, in fact, help you to reposition your competition in your prospect’s mind.

Use Amazing Multimedia Content

Using multimedia content helps you to appeal to the customer’s senses. Whether you like it or not, people will judge your business depending on the quality of the marketing materials you use.In practice, get in the habit of using plenty of high-quality visuals on your website, blog posts, email, social media, ads and brochures among others.

Don’t bore your prospects to death with a ton of text! Combine images, videos and infographics among other multimedia content to jazz things up.

If you use audio content, strive to create a catchy story or jingle that prospects associate with your business. Many brands do this, and a good example is McDonalds.

The McDonalds’ “ba da ba ba ba” jingle was originally sang by Justin Timberlake, but it has grown more popular than Timberlake’s actual songs.

Don’t hold back and never skimp on your content. Go all out and create multimedia content that appeals to your customer’s senses. Your content (whether online or offline) must have that wow factor or your marketing campaign is doomed.

Reward Your Customers

There is a reason the opposite of generosity is stinginess, and nobody gyrates or gravitate to the latter. Generosity is a virtue, and stinginess is a vice you should let go off. Remember, there is a big difference between being frugal and stingy, but I digress.Rewarding your customers needn’t be challenging or expensive. For instance, you can create cheap gifts for your customers. You know, I’m talking about something like an order of t-shirts and key-holders for your customers. Or cookies, mint and anything else you can think about.

All because, let us admit is, we all love free stuff. This psychological need is the reason giveaways are incredibly powerful as marketing tools.

If you had no idea, you can use a single giveaway to grow your social media presence, boost engagement on your site, increase email subscriptions and drive relevant traffic to your products among other things.

Use generosity in your favor by rewarding your customers at all stages of the conversion funnel. For instance, mobile games are fond of this technique.By rewarding users at the end of each mission, mobile developers boost engagement and brand growth. You can reward your users for completing a particular action on your site.

Conclusion

Psychology and marketing go hand in hand in the offline or online worlds. By getting into the mind of your target audience, you can craft content and solutions they can’t pass up.

Going forward, strive to incorporate psychology into your marketing campaigns, from market research and product creation to promotion and beyond.

We hope this post points you in the right direction as far as using psychology in your marketing goes. Still, this is not an exhaustive list, which means we gratefully welcome your contribution because there is more to learn.

Which are your favorite psychological techniques in marketing? Let us know in the comments.

By  Freddy Muriuki    

Sourced from Business 2 Community