Being in the zone means that you’ve become so absorbed in the activity at hand that it’s impossible to concentrate on anything else. It’s when code seems to flow from your fingertips, when words seem to fly out of your pen, and when your stylus seems to take on a life of its own.
But a common misconception about the zone is that it’s some some elusive, magical place. It is not. The founder of the language training app Yakk, Martin Rue, has a simple two-step process for tapping into, and remaining in, the zone:
1) Give a shit about what you’re doing. This is so often ignored when talking about productivity in general. Remember back to the days of high school when the nerdy kids would get awesome grades at difficult subjects. They got awesome grades because they enjoyed it. People rock way more at things they enjoy, and enjoyment is much easier and far more effective than discipline. We need to be excited about the problem and feel like all we want to do is work on it right this minute.
2) Know how to do it. The overwhelming desire to start work is useless if we can’t because we don’t even know where to start. We’ll jump into the work and be idle 10 minutes later as we uncover many of the finer details we skimmed over when thinking at much higher level earlier.
There are several factors that influence our ability to get into the zone, chief among which are focus, energy, no distractions and music. As Will Smith once said, “If you stay ready, you ain’t gotta get ready.”
Read the rest of Rue’s blog post on how to remain in the zone here.