Forum

  • If you are new to these Forums, please take a moment to register using the fields above.

Announcement

Announcement Module
Collapse
No announcement yet.

Getting "In the Zone"

Page Title Module
Move Remove Collapse
X
Conversation Detail Module
Collapse
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Getting "In the Zone"

    How do you get in the zone of highly concentrated, focussed analytical and creative work? How do you set up conditions that are conducive to tasks needing high mental energy and focus?

    I find I do strategic or analytical work best when I am in complete silence, with no distractions. However for the last three years I've been working in an open plan office where those conditions are ad hoc to say the least! I keep getting interrupted or distracted by noise and questions. My boss tends to take all his stuff and go work in a small meeting room, or come into work on the weekends. I don't like the meeting rooms as they're not ergonomic and availabiltity is often scarce. At my previous job I used to have a single office so could just shut the door for peace and quiet. Home is not normally quiet unless it is very early Sat/Sun with the family in bed asleep. So this type of work I have really been falling behind in and need to make a way to get more done on a daily basis.

    So how do others cope with this? Do you setup a special quiet time/space? Or do you make a context and just take advantage of quiet times when they arise?

  • #2
    Meeting rooms are good enough for your boss but not for you?

    Originally posted by Suelin23 View Post
    My boss tends to take all his stuff and go work in a small meeting room, or come into work on the weekends. I don't like the meeting rooms as they're not ergonomic and availabiltity is often scarce.
    Does it mean that the meeting rooms are good enough for your boss but not for you?

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by TesTeq View Post
      Does it mean that the meeting rooms are good enough for your boss but not for you?
      I don't think that's quite what he meant...

      I used to work in a very open office-five companies all sharing the same space. I tried to move to a smaller, quieter area of the office but the throwntogether desk and chair were uncomfortable. I even tried the conference room, too. What works well for a meeting SUCKS for trying to settle in and do the really high level thinking I needed to do. I need to be comfortable to do my best work... Maybe the boss has a different definition of comfortable and that's why he can work in the conference room?

      Comment


      • #4
        Trial and error is all I can suggest - headphones with white noise/rain/sea sounds, working in coffee shops, starting earlier, working later - try em all see what works.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by moosie View Post
          and that's why he can work in the conference room?
          I am with TesTeq on this one. If you really want you can. There are some major distractions in this world, for example you cannot dictate on a construction site (too loud) or write in your paper planner while sitting beneath a waterfall (too wet). But if minor glitches like sterile and ugly office furniture hinder you, than you have IMHO an issue with mental discipline.

          With mental discipline I mean you rule your thoughts, not the other way round. To become better in mental discipline you have to guard your thoughts. Whenever a thought appears you don't want to think, you have to make an coscious effort to stop thinking that. It takes some time to practice. Build up that muscle, it's part of beeing good in beeing focused.

          I am talking from experience. I did this myself. Also, I am like you, I need silence. The other thing I did is managing others into not interrupting me. Don't talk to me when I am sitting at my place, end of story. You know, once the agreement is set, each co-worker will for the max stand twice before your desk and beeing ignored completely. They will stop that.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by bishblaize View Post
            - headphones with white noise/rain/sea sounds
            Headphones work for me too. You can even use them without listening to anything -- just wearing them muffles noise a lot

            Comment


            • #7
              As a trick, I've found it helpful sometimes to use computer headphones. As a substitute for silence, white noise can work -- there's at least one 12-hour loop of white noise up on youtube.

              Or sometimes I'll just sit around with my headphones on but nothing playing. It seems to help discourage people from bothering me.



              Cheers,
              Roger

              (Ha -- apparently this is a popular option!)
              Last edited by Roger; 07-21-2011, 10:28 AM. Reason: ninja'd

              Comment


              • #8
                Thanks everyone, I think I'll try the headphones. The lighting in the meeting rooms is quite poor, the seats give me a sore back because they're comfy chairs and not ergonomic, and the height of the desk isn't adjustable so I get sore wrists typing for long. The wireless connection also drops in and out. My boss isn't as fussy as I am and uses paper not computer.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I've never tried any high level thinking.

                  Originally posted by moosie View Post
                  What works well for a meeting SUCKS for trying to settle in and do the really high level thinking I needed to do.
                  Probably you are right. I've never tried any high level thinking.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by moosie View Post
                    I don't think that's quite what he meant...
                    Maybe the boss has a different definition of comfortable and that's why he can work in the conference room?
                    My boss's definition of a good workspace for thinking is a large flat table or desk on which to lay out all his folders and pieces of paper which he draws his thoughts from. I like to work electronically, so any workspace that doesn't have a proper monitor, keyboard and computer chair doesn't work well for me.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I can relate

                      I can relate to the difficulty in concentrating with noise. I answered phones as my job for so long that phone sounds do a particularly good job at trying to break my attention.

                      Your workspace is less than ideal for the way you would like to work. Taking that as a given, the suggestions I would have made (headphones, arriving to work early, etc.) have been made above.

                      I've been in situations that were so far from ideal that I had to take affirmative steps to change my work environment. In my case, this involved getting a dedicated office away from home.

                      I recommend making the best of what your circumstances permit, and try to accomplish some work anyway, instead of having all work hinge on finding that zone moment. The reason for this is that your ability to get in the zone is also the result of practice, and acting as if you were trying to get in that zone will create more opportunities to do so.

                      Also, if no one else has mentioned it, hiding under your desk when there are fire drills, then sneaking out while everyone is congregated outside, can give you a few minutes of uninterrupted quiet.

                      Comment

                      Working...
                      X