Do you want to increase your productivity by 50%. Camille Preston shows us how to create more flow, and tells us that, once in a state of flow we are 7 times more productive than normal. So do you want to create more flow in your life?
How to Create More Flow
As Camille says the world needs flow now more than ever before. Flow allows you to organise your life around practices of intrinsic value: habits and ways of being that we have decided are important, fulfilling, and have the capacity to change the world for good.
That’s what you’ll find in her new book: Create More Flow.
About Camille Preston
We spoke to Camille Preston, the most engaging of people, from her home in Boston, Massachusetts, USA. She grew up in New Hampshire. She has lived in London too.
Before we got started, we noticed Camille drinking something like coloured water. It turns out it was Ultima – which replaces electrolytes and hydrates in a healthy way. It is certified vegan, paleo friendly and gluten free. Take a look at Camille’s photo, it’s probably a smart move to try some!!
Camille earned her PhD in Psychology from the University of Virginia in 2000. The doctorate was really looking at systems. How organisations work together.
Graham reminded us of the Fawlty Towers episode where a Psychiatrist stays at Basil’s hotel. Very funny episode! Here’s a short clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RnaHybw6CBI
Camille often describes herself as the woman psychiatrist on “Billions”, Dr Wendy Rhoades. Here’s a scene from the first episode. She uses industrial language, which we didn’t get a hint of from Camille throughout our interview! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KBpeYD1gneY
After earning her doctorate, she did a spell on Capitol Hill. She left there to work with a non-profit, with police executives.
Her first day on the job was 9/11.
The police chiefs asked her what they should do, she didn’t really know, so it propelled her into leadership development. She helped the police chiefs navigate this transition to support their communities post 9/11.
Leadership development was about helping people who were TECHNICALLY good at what they do, to figure out a new chapter. How they should respond to uncertainty. And perform.
How to respond to uncertainty
The whole crux of leadership development is that you cannot really prepare for the unknown, but using the gym metaphor, you can build the muscles and skills and get to know yourself. Then you have more agility and adaptability when uncertainty arrives.
That is the subject of Camille’s book “Create More Flow” so we know how to position ourselves to be our best regardless of what happens around us.
How do you develop leadership skills when they’ve not been taught to you before?
People who are great individual contributors are promoted, not necessarily because the want leadership, but there is this informal hierarchy which says wealth is better. Rarely are people given the skills of leadership. They are just thrown into the new position and it can take them away from the joy, the reason they got the role in the first place.
The most important skill as they move into a leadership role, is to know:
- Themselves (SELF AWARENESS);
- What positions them for success;
- Where their weaknesses are;
- What their developmental opportunities are;
Then build their capacity to STEP BACK and get perspective. We live in this always on, connected, over-wired world. So rarely do we give ourselves the time to just EXHALE.
Tips and thoughts – how do we get that perspective. Camille’s first book was re-wired, all about getting perspective. https://www.amazon.co.uk/Rewired-Smarter-Purposefully-Productive-Overwired-ebook/dp/B006NYFFN4
Get resources from http://aimleadership.com/insights/resources/
Help yourself understand how to move from OVER-WIRED, to UN-WIRED, to RE-WIRED. Re-wired is where you are positioning yourself for success.
The Create More Flow book came out of the first book. People said they get that they need to re-wire, but I just don’t know how. What does it mean, what does it look like, and they wanted tactical skills to help POSITION themselves for success.
Why is this important?
Research from McKinsey & Co shows that in FLOW, we are 5 times more productive and up to 7 times as creative. So, if Camille can increase your time in FLOW by 15-20% we are DOUBLING your productivity.
Which gives you back more time.
The way to get that is not simply doing the same things you do now, faster, more, better. You have to step back, look at yourself and make some changes, so Camille created a 5 Step Process to create more flow.
The “Create More Flow” 5 step process
Step 1: Preparation
So rarely do we get clear on what are the outcomes we need to deliver upon. So, we can get flexible on how we do it. We often jump into meetings ill-prepared.
Step 2: Struggle Purposively
Sit down and do some heavy lifting. We have so many meetings and distractions we don’t do heavy lifting work often enough. When things get hard it is easy to divert our attention.
Step 3: Take Time to Step Back
To release. Walk around the block. Get a coffee. Let your neural chemistry shift back to that neutral purposeful zone. We don’t do any of that well in our world.
You cannot control GETTING INTO FLOW, but you can control the precursors. You can control the preparation, scheduling purposeful struggle and release. Doing that increases the likelihood that you get into flow.
Step 4: Flow
It feels magnificent. Totally absorbed. Time flies by. You are taking on a challenge. Your synapses are connecting in a way they haven’t before.
Step 5: Recovery.
In flow, you have neurological chemicals coursing through your veins. It is costly to your system. So, once you get out of flow you have to get into recovery. And that feels like the flu, you are just exhausted.
If you have tension to get something done, it can ignite flow.
Camille referred to Hungarian Psychologist: Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi – see his 2004 TED Talk “Flow, the secret to happiness” https://www.ted.com/talks/mihaly_csikszentmihalyi_on_flow
In flow, you can create things you might consider beyond you.
The flow status is something you’ll want more. Camille wrote a book, whilst in flow, in just 4 days. After 8 days, 43 agents wanted to represent her book. She credits Dick Reppucci at The University of Virginia, who originally prompted Camille to improve her writing style.
If you have habits that have chosen us. The book will help you develop awareness and then intentionality.
Habits evolve with time. It was a hot-tub and a space where Camille could write, that she needed. She wrote her second book in 5.5 days. 55k words.
Are all the 5 steps equal?
Get clear on the outcome. It can take a long or short time. Get rid of the cobwebs. Prep is essential. If you catch yourself saying I just don’t have time for this: Camille has a free resource on this very subject:
How do you get into the first step?
There are two key things to do in order to create more flow
- Take 3 minutes at the end of the day and keep a log. What worked. That awareness is so valuable.
- Block off 1 hour a day for deep thinking. If you know you have an hour for intentional.
Kevin mentioned 5-minute journal. A $4.99 i-phone app. https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/five-minute-journal/id1062945251?mt=8
Writing stuff down, helps you to close down the mental apps you have in your mind.
When you write things down, your brain doesn’t have to remember stuff you already know. So, your brain can be focused on something new/else.
Camille spoke of WUNDERLIST: https://www.wunderlist.com
NOT to do, BUT outcome – break down the steps to the outcome. Talk about the outcomes you need.
Camille’s Xmas card writing tip– she says 3 things that she feels grateful about the person, things she has learned or feel grateful about. A bundle of love.
She also has a postcard, with finite space – so she cannot overwrite.
Camille’s overall mantra
“What is the outcome that I want? How can I get that outcome faster, easier,
better, more effectively? So that I’m delivering the result, in a way that’s more fulfilling.”
Camille provides executive coaching. If she can increase their flow by 15% she can double their productivity. Re-thinking working environments. Keynote speaking.
Self-awareness – what fat is worth trimming from your work day?
- If you can get stuff done, how will you reward your effort?
- Our work days often spans many more hours, that’s fine, but book a mind-day yoga session, get back.
Ask yourself the question, does your work give you joy?
Maybe it’s not work if I love it so much.
Mentoring and the Doughnut Model
Two things. Choice is so important. We all like to have choices. Automony is important.
Look up the doughnut article.
- The middle, the doughnut hole is your comfort zone (5-point scale 1 and 2)
- The Doughnut is your learning zone (3,4)
- Outer edge of the doughnut is ‘terror’s edge’ (5 – that’s where the tension, aggression kicks in.)
So, when you are putting people in growing and learning, you want them in the doughnut. If they are in the comfort zone, they are not building new skills and capabilities. If they are at the outer edge of the doughnut at terror’s edge, when they hit analysis, paralysis, they are going to get that emotional trigger that can make someone very angry or uncomfortable.
You want to be about a 3, 3.5 constantly.
As he gets comfortable with 3 it becomes his 2 and the doughnut grows bigger and bigger!
How to contact Camille?
Follow on Twitter: @CamilleP
The Next 100 Days Podcast is brought to you by Graham Arrowsmith and Kevin Appleby