Any high performer can tell you – the zone is the destination for success. The “zone” is that elusive place where our concentration is heightened and we lose ourselves to a task. Perhaps you’ve been at the gym and kept a focus on a good cardio workout or lift. Maybe you’ve been working on a video editing project and lost a few hours.
Or maybe you’ve fallen into the zone reading – regardless of the activity, that zone is the perfect space for productivity. And if we embrace the Pareto principle – the zone is likely a big part of the 80% productivity we get from 20% of our time.
Psychologically, the zone is a tunnel vision experience where we become creatively powerful, productive, and creative. It’s a place discussed by world class athletes, painters, and Britney Spears (In the Zone was a great album!).
Psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, a part of the field of positive psychology, wrote in his book ‘Flow: the psychology of optimal experience’ on how “flow” takes you to a place of full engagement and enrichment with work.
<blockquote< Also, how the flow does a lot to make us happy.
Flow is a state where we engage challenges with focus that feels effortless and brings us confidence.
What can you do to take yourself to a place of flow?
The key place is to engage yourself in the right challenge between skills and challenge. Tasks that are too easy don’t engage our skills enough, and these things make us bored or apathetic about our work. Too difficult, however, and worry and anxiety keep us from accomplishing anything because we disengage from goals we don’t feel like we can attain.
As a leader, as an employee, as an entrepreneur, you should be striving for that middle ground where your skills are engaged and active.
Being flexed as it would be, but you’re not trying to climb a mountain of sand in flip flops.
If you’re seeking to be a higher performer, this means being conscious of always striving to challenge yourself.
Eventually we become skilled and automatic at the things we do.
If you are seeking the highest levels of performance for yourself, however, you need constant challenge. When things become easy, praise yourself, but be prepared to step it up. Whether it’s at the job, at the gym, or in the pursuit of creative excellence.
Well oiled machine
The zone requires a well-maintained machine of your body however. Be cognizant of your physical, mental, and social wellness. Ask yourself if you rested, are you fed? Personal excellence demands physical wellness (Harvard Business review agrees). Make wellness as much a priority as your productivity if you want to stay in the zone.
So with that said, set some goals, get passionate about what you need to do, and get started. There is a lot to get done, and the zone is the place to do it.