Getting in the Zone

Jeff Davidson

Some people call it "being in the zone." Some call it being on a roll. The "zone" has been described as a short-term, highly productive state.

Regardless of what you call it, to become a consistent, high-output HR professional, it is useful to know how to benefit from the productivity surge that you experience when in the "zone." Here's an exercise to help you create an environment in which you do your best work:

1. Recall a time when you were highly productive:
Where were you?
What time of day was it?
Was anyone else around?
What was the temperature?
What was the lighting?
What resources were available?

2. Think about yourself at that time:
What were you wearing?
What did you consume the night before?
How long did you sleep the night before?
How did you feel?
What was your level of fitness?
What did you eat that morning?

3. What about the time of day and week:
What time of day was it?
What day of the week was it?
What had transpired earlier?
What was forthcoming?

4. Consider the tools available to you:
Were you using: a computer, tablet, or smart phone?
Were you using other equipment?
Did you have a pen or pencil?
Did you have a blank pad?
Were you online?
Were other resources available?
Were periodicals, books, or directories present?

5. Consider your environment:
Did you have a view?
Were you in a comfortable chair?
Were you at a desk or at a table?
Were you in a moving vehicle, i.e., a plane or a train?
Was there quiet or soothing background noise?
What color were the walls surrounding you?
Were you in a room with rugs?
Could you hear others?
Was water nearby?
Were you near the bathrooms?
Were you near the coffee machine?

As you recall a situation when you were in the zone, circle each item above that was present or was a factor at this time. New insights might emerge.

Next, recall a second such time and run through each of the questions above once again. What items have now been marked or circled twice? Soon, your own personal pattern on the road to high productivity will emerge.