We all know when we’ve reached that point in our work space where we’re truly in our zone. Ideas are fresher, creativity is at an all-time high, we’re knocking things off our to-do list, and we just feel good! However, we also know what it’s like to not be in our zone. Our attention span is short, we surf the web, concentrate for an hour then check our phone and end up scrolling for another hour…and before you know it the day is over and we’ve got nothing to show for it.
It happens, but how can we make sure we’re being the most productive throughout our day? How do you get in that zone? It’s simple, you’ve got to find your work rhythm. With these four elements you can become aware of what it takes to get into your cadence, and set yourself up for some real deal productivity.
TIME MANAGEMENT: WHAT ARE THE BEST TIMES TO GET INTO YOUR ZONE?
Is it the morning, when the world is quiet? The afternoon after a workout? Or are you a night owl who gets their genius on when it’s dark out?
My best times are during the morning before I check any messages or engage in social media. I wake up, have some alone time, and get some fresh ideas out on paper. Some people like to block out an afternoon and go to work, or stay up until 3 AM fueled by the passion. You have to decide what’s for you, and you have to manage that time.
Often we feel like we don’t have time or that we’re too busy. Making excuses as to why we did not get as much done as we would have liked, but the truth is…that’s not true. YOU have to choose to make the time. If that means getting up earlier to work on your craft before you head into your 9 to 5, or staying up later until you get it right, then that’s what needs to be done. Time waits for no one, and you want to create something that your future self will be proud of. Invest your time wisely.
SPACE: WHERE CAN YOU COMPLETE UNINTERRUPTED WORK?
The space where you complete your work is so important to getting the most out of your time. Finding a space where you can truly focus is the only way to be productive. By finding a space that is best suitable for working, you can train your body and mind to know “Hey, I’m in my work space. Time to get to it!”
Here are some great places to get in your zone:
- Coffee shops
- Home office
- Co-working spaces
- Outdoor park
- The library
There are plenty more spaces to find your creativity. If you’re an artist, it may be the studio, or if you love to play the piano, it may be the auditorium. By allowing yourself to be one with your creative space, you can achieve great focus in doing what you love.
PRODUCTIVITY: ARE YOU MAKING THE MOST OUT OF YOUR DAY?
Some say there are not enough hours in the day, I ask how are you spending your days? We constantly get overwhelmed with our to-do list. Simplify your list into three to-do’s. I know when I see my list of twelve things I need to get done, my brain is on overload. Prioritize the three bullets and categorize those to-do’s into blocks of time. Knock out the hardest task first while you’re full of energy and fresh thinking, then conquer the rest of your list.
Between 5 AM & 8 AM I will complete: ________________________________
Between 9:30 AM & 12 PM I will complete: _____________________________
Between 1 PM & 4 PM I will complete: ________________________________
By breaking down time into blocks, you can set three to-do bullets for each period and get a month’s worth of work done in one week!
Our phone is the most distracting device ever made. Our productivity falls to the way side when we feel the urge to pick up our phone. There are emails, text messages, social media notifications, and we feel the need to answer right in that moment. That’s what’s killing our productivity! Set aside an hour with no phone and a task to get done and see what you can do.
Sometimes I have to remove my phone from my complete visibility to channel my focus. You can do without it. Trust me, your work depends on it.
ACCOUNTABILITY: ARE YOU BEING HONEST WITH YOURSELF ABOUT DOING YOUR BEST WORK?
We know when we’re half-assing something and not living up to our full potential. You have to hold yourself accountable. Give yourself a deadline, and stick to it.
Here are some great ways to stay accountable:
- Create a to-do list. Prioritize and conquer.
- Planner/Calendar. I live by a planner, but I also love it because I can see on my calendar what I completed for the month. It makes me feel so accomplished to see what work I’ve been getting done.
- Tell a friend. Have a friend check in with you to see how you’re keeping up with your work. Not your nice friend, the friend that will tell you about yourself.
Finding and mastering your work rhythm is the difference between mediocre and extraordinary work. Remember to manage your time wisely, get up earlier, put down your phone. Find your creative space to focus your body and mind to get into that zone. Stay productive by breaking down your to-do lists and taking it one task at a time, and most importantly, hold yourself accountable for the work your produce. In no time you’ll find your work rhythm, and create some of your best work to date.