We all know the zone. That magical place where we become so lost in an activity that nothing else matters. We lose complete track of time and of the worries that try to steal your attention are put to rest.
I’ve just come out of this zone. I was in for 2 hours writing away. As I stood up from the dent I’d made in the sofa I felt so calm and focused. So content. As I walked outside to my local shop to pick up something for dinner, I started to think about how we get into these places of flow? And more importantly how we resist the fight at the beginning and give in to inevitability that your mind will stop distracting you if you are patient enough.
Likening the scenario to surfing a wave, I’ve put together 6 ideas that should help you to ride the wave of inspiration and get into your zone of productivity.
1) Go to the beach – sit down, make time
You can’t expect to ride a wave if you are not at the beach. Make time focused and consistent work. Sometimes creative inspiration will be cast over you like a magic spell, but sometimes it won’t. Don’t always wait to feel inspired. Sit down and get in the zone.
2) Find a place where the conditions are right – eliminate distractions
The water needs wind, your mind needs right conditions too. It feels nice to respond to an email straight away, or to pick up the phone when somebody calls. But all of this is taking you away from the important stuff. Most things aren’t urgent. Emails and phone call especially.Stay inside your zone.
3) Wait for the wave – let your mind settle
If it doesn’t come straight away, wait in the water. Ignore the swirling thoughts in your mind. If they’re important, write them down. If it’s chatter, watch it go by.
4) Ride the wave – use the zone
Get to it. Ride the wave when it comes. Write, create, do whatever you are doing. You will be in the zone without realising – stay there. Commit to using this time wisely.
5) Get up again if you fall off – resist temptation to quit
If the waves stop or your fall off, resist walking away. The slightly uncomfortable feeling and possibility of distraction is somehow inviting. Ignore it. Stay in the zone. Keep surfing.
6) Stop when the waves do – stop only you’re done
Eventually the waves will stop or you’ll be tried. You should come to a natural phase of completion. Make sure you get out every last drop of creative juice that seems to be available and stop. Give someone a high five or pat yourself on the back!