Nice article! A while back I figured out that things got so much easier and enjoyable for me when certain elements came together. Not surprisingly, those elements I discovered were essentially the same as Steve's.
Though, I with I'd known this all when I was in high school and college so many years ago! School seems like such a waste when teachers and students don't know how to inspire creative flow states. No wonder studies show that we only retain something like 15% of what we learn in school. It must be that most of that lost 85% was just not important, challenging, meaningful, or creative...
I have a little diagram that I use to visually explain the idea of flow and peak performance. It's not very creative, but it gets the point across. (Maybe some day I should challenge myself to create a more interesting and engaging, and maybe more humorous diagram!)
As for the blocks of time to allocate to creative flow, I've heard that human metabolism creates a rhythm where you work best in about 1.5 hour blocks of time, with 15 minute long breaks to stretch the muscles to get the blood flowing again, in between. So, I would agree that at least 3 hours (and 15 minutes!) is what I would aim for, whenever possible.
My own ideal work environment is a little different than Steve's, though. I like my desk right at the window, so I'm facing the sky, trees, birds, and humans (though I've covered up the window area at my eye level to block my view of the cars, because they depress me!). Being able to see the natural world keeps me connected to it, I suppose. And having a big sky above me gives me some sense of vastness and freedom, I think.
I also sometimes like to have others around to bounce ideas off of, even when I'm working on a solo project, but that really only works well when the others are also working on something vaguely similar to what I'm doing, or at least have similar interests.
I also resonated with this bit in the article: "When you’re in the flow state, you won’t be worrying about where you fingers need to be, what buttons you need to click, or what words you need to type. Your subconscious will handle those details for you while you remain focused on the high level composition."
Not only is the typo particularly amusing in that passage, but also a friend of mine recently complimented me on my website and all the great ideas I was sharing there. She said that she thought I was really brilliant, and she wished she could think like that. I thanked her for the compliment, and told her my secret... I said that I just put lots of great, interesting information into my brain, and without really thinking about it, lots of other great, interesting information just kind of flows back out of my brain! It really does just spew out sometimes, ya know? The real trick is to seek out and put into your brain the sort information that is going to be worth
spewing out at others :-)
Peace, Love, and Bicycles,