Driving Time: Talk on the Phone or Feel the Flow?

One of the more interesting findings in Flow: The Psychology of the Optimal Experience was that people note they are often in "flow" states while driving. Most of us may think of road rage or phone calls. Today out of three different driving segments, I spoke on the phone the whole way during two of them. The one segment where I didn’t talk, I put on the radio, listened to Just My Imagination by The Temptations, and found myself deeply relaxed. I am going to try to talk as little as I can while driving going forward. Driving is one of the last places where I can think, and listen to my thoughts without constant distractions.

On a side note, if you’re looking for a relaxing — and interesting — song, check out "Hide and Seek" by Imogen Heap.

3 comments on “Driving Time: Talk on the Phone or Feel the Flow?
  • I haven’t gotten around to reading Flow yet, but I definitely need to. Perhaps it’ll help me figure out why I reach “flow” ten minutes after I begin doing yardwork, but it often takes at least as hour into a jam session. (These aren’t talkative sessions. Generally just the instruments and the sound of my voice permeate the room.)

    The trick is to be ready. If I have time to lose, I’ll set a guitar outside so I can pick it up soon after I reach “flow.” It’s transferable.

  • I find that if I drive and think (no music, no telephone), I can usually come up with 4-5 new business ideas on a 30-minute drive.

    I actually had to go back to listening to books on tape in the car because I had built up so many company ideas that I couldn’t focus on any of them!

  • Music plays a large role in attitude. This weekend I have revelled in my laziness, work starts back at 530am tommorrow but this weekend has been a lovely flow of sleeping in, catching up on Movies/Books and music.

    I have the extrememly bad habit of returning email/SMS while driving – and you thought calling was hazardous! But this weekend I shut off the phone and put on Jack Johnson… I don’t think I’ve had a more relaxing weekend in ages.

    Vacation is just another one of those states of mind we have to be in. Jack Johnson, Temptaions, or Israel Kamakawiwo`ole are probably going to send us floating on towards the rest of our day while a little Stones, Aerosmith, or Hendrix might have me ready for a no non-sense, no interuptions work session. Different people respond differently but knowing your own triggers can be essential in improving your own mood.

    Chris – As good as your ideas are, feel free to toss some of them my way… if you’re not using em’ 🙂

    You know I had that same problem in Europe where I would have sketches and plans in my journal that would keep me busy tell I was 50 if I persued them all. I was tossing around ideas on how to manage my ideas… all in all a fit of craziness.

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