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The science behind great creativity

From Kanye West to Charles Dickens, creative people understand that getting deep into creative challenges is the key to solving them. But it’s also the key to deeply enjoying work. Research shows that reaching a state of ‘flow’, where you lose track of time and find your creative sweet spot, not only yields your best output, it’s also the secret to human happiness. You don’t need to be a neuroscientist to see that’s a win-win…

Get more ‘aha!’ moments

Those moments where your big idea strikes? Neuroscience shows that these don’t come from nowhere – they’re the culmination of a series of brain states… 

Connect the dots

These brain states include intense concentration, interspersed with play and relaxation. Play is associated with high-level reasoning, while relaxation turns your attention inwards to help you reach insights.

Tune out to tune up

The ability to tune out the outside world will also serve you well – there are certain brain activities that work better when you’re alone. Enter a state of ‘constructive internal reflection’ and see the ideas flood in.

“Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something.”

Steve Jobs

Deep working creative minds

Maya Angelou's work was underpinned by simple but strict rituals and a deep work approach. She had a room reserved for writing (which had just a bed, desk, Bible, dictionary, deck of cards and a bottle of sherry). After her 6am coffee, she'd work uninterrupted into the afternoon.

Sahil Lavingia, founder and CEO of Gumroad, sets aside time for creative disciplines to supplement his routine and keep his mind primed for deep work. "The compounding interest of skill development in regards to both writing and painting are insanely fulfilling and keeps me going."

Booker Prize winner Bernardine Evaristo has spoken about her need to write in bursts, interspersed with walks, cycling, swimming, “siesta-ing”, and her various other professional commitments. “I don’t believe in writer’s block,” she told LitHub. “If there’s a problem with getting words on the page, it needs to be investigated.”

Making use of FLOWN on a working break

Get creative with others

Join a daily Flock session – our virtual accountability groups – tap into your brain's triggers to help you focus on your creative challenges.

Read more about FLOWN Flocks

Grab your headphones and explore

Take a break from cerebral work with FLOWN Quests – 10-minute meditative exercises and sensory challenges that refresh your creativity and concentration.

Read more about FLOWN Quests

Take the time to learn deep work

Become a deep work expert with the FLOWN Academy, our bite-sized lessons on creativity and flow.

Read enrichingly

Switch off from social media and indulge in mentally stimulating 5-minute reads in the FLOWN Almanac.

Explore the Almanac

Find your creative retreat

Our collection of curated properties are provide you with the space you need to unleash your creativity. They're all optimised for you to work.

Browse FLOWN Away properties

Get creative with your FLOWN membership today

Join FLOWN now

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