Sometimes I struggle working optimally, but then sometimes I am traveling during the day, e.g. 2 hours by train, waiting 2 hours at the airport, flying for 3 hours and for some reason I get more work done during these few hours than during the entire rest of the week.

Especially I feel much more creative in my thinking process. The lack of internet in the airplane also seems to help me be able to focus completely while feeling completely chill. It's hard to imitate that environment at home, even when I manually kill the internet.

How can I obtain such amazing flow states more frequently?

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    How is this related to workplace, specifically? – Sourav Ghosh Jan 30 '20 at 16:17
  • do you work in a normal office environment? – RA828 Jan 30 '20 at 16:19
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    @SouravGhosh - it seems that the OP is asking about conditions under which they're able to work effectively, which is, literally, talking about the place(s) in which they are doing work (the workplace). – dwizum Jan 30 '20 at 16:22
  • youtu.be/kj1hLFSORTQ – cbojar Jan 31 '20 at 1:53
  • What altitude do you live at, and what happens if you go to 8000 feet (2500 m)? Do you usually have an alcoholic drink on the plane? – Jon Custer Jan 31 '20 at 3:32

How can I obtain such amazing flow states more frequently?

Duplicate the conditions:

  • Lack of distraction from people you'd talk or communicate with
  • Lack of distraction from internet access
  • Passive constant background noise
  • Fixed - but reasonable - length of time during which you're isolated

If you can't get in the flow while trying to recreate these conditions at home, try some other environments:

  • Try just shifting to a different spot in your workplace. If you work in an office, try sitting in a common space or a conference room for a few hours - get away from your desk, and maybe stay disconnected from wifi. (I do this in my current workplace some times, we have no wifi so if I go sit in a vacant office or conference room I am completely offline). If you work from home, try sitting in the kitchen for an hour instead of at your normal desk. When I worked from home, I would sometimes go sit on my back deck on a nice day, and work unplugged for an hour.
  • When other people know you're on an airplane, they won't be expecting anything from you. This may be a factor for you: feeling like you need to be able to work without being directly or immediately subject to the demands of others. Try working outside of normal hours, or otherwise creating a situation where people won't have immediate expectations. Some people will be able to create this situation by blocking off time on their calendar and/or putting an away or "do not interrupt" status on their instant messaging, for example.
  • Go sit in a park where you don't have internet access
  • Try a library or coffee shop
  • Take the literal approach to recreating those conditions: buy a ticket and ride a commuter train for a few hours (I used to have a coworker who would ride a commuter ferry every afternoon, round trip, in order to have an isolated environment. It was well worth the $6 to him.)
  • Try a short "retreat" to a natural setting - go camping for a few days, or take a day off and climb a mountain, or go sit in a canoe in the middle of a lake for an afternoon. Shake things up and see what sticks.

It's great that you're able to identify that there are situations where you can get into the flow like that. Many people never really experience that. The downside is, we can't give you a literal or specific answer, so you may need to be willing to experiment a little to find what works for you.

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    Great answer, a good option is to just relocate inside your workplace, not necessarily outside (like @dwizum mostly mentioned). If you work at home, go sit in the kitchen for example. If you work at an office, try working on a couch or in the dining table for a few hours. – RA828 Jan 30 '20 at 16:29
  • @renanAlmeida828 I added another bullet to address that. I agree, sometimes just shifting in your normal workplace can be effective. – dwizum Jan 30 '20 at 16:33
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    I often notice I can calm my mind and get really good flow when I know nobody is expecting anything from me, which could be related to OP's situation. If I come in on a Friday evening, or work on a holiday, I often get into a much better productive groove and higher level of focus. Maybe an edit here to try working at different/unusual times when there is no feeling of pressure to perform. – Cameron Roberts Jan 30 '20 at 16:47
  • @CameronRoberts that's a great idea as well, I've made another edit to incorporate it. Thanks again to both of you for constructively using comments to suggest improvements. – dwizum Jan 30 '20 at 16:50

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