There’s this place called “the zone.” It’s a metaphorical place where passion, creativity, and performance break loose. For an athlete, it’s when brain and body synchronize. For a writer, it’s when words flow easily, like water from a tap. For a musician, same thing, but with notes.
Needless to say, you want to get into the zone as often as possible. But the zone is temperamental. It’s tough to find and easy to lose. Life’s many distractions nip at your attention, preventing you from achieving the right flow or keeping it intact. So how can you unleash your zone-powered productivity when you need it the most?
First, set aside some time. Then set yourself up with the right tools and environment. It’s easier than you think. With a few smart ideas and some helpful pieces of technology, you can find the zone and reignite your creativity.
Here are four ways to get started.
1. Suit up with the right gear.
Art, music, writing – most modern creative endeavors involve a PC. So when you’re choosing a new one, make sure it’s designed to help with those pursuits. The Lenovo Ideapad Miix 310, for example, provides a keyboard when you need one but easily separates from it for tablet-powered tasks like painting and music composition. It also offers up to hours of battery life, so you can create all day pretty much anywhere you go without having to seek out an outlet.
2. Put some sound in your background.
When you’re trying to focus on your work, feed your brain some ambient sound to help it filter out background distractions. Focusmusic.fm was designed exactly for that purpose, delivering a steady stream of mostly non-vocal, mostly electronic background audio. If you find the music selection a little too up-tempo, there's a white-noise alternative in the form of rain sounds.
3. Use tech to block out other tech.
Your laptop or tablet screen serves as the gateway between your art and the tools you use to create it. Look for a model that gives you as much screen as possible, to better immerse you in your work. The Dell XPS 13 employs a nearly borderless and stunningly bright 400-nit display so you see mostly brainstorms, not bezels. And if your work consists of writing, consider ditching your current word processor in favor a full-screen text editor that eliminates all toolbars and other onscreen elements. FocusWriter is a distraction-free text editor that you can install on your PC for free.
4. Take a hike. Or a nap.
Still can’t get the creative juices flowing? Take a little time to unplug entirely before you reboot. A 20-minute walk will help clear your thoughts and get the blood flowing. When your body is on auto-pilot, your mind is able to engage on a deeper level. Your brain’s creative side shifts into gear, effortlessly solving problems and sparking ideas. Welcome to the zone. And if walking won’t work for you, countless studies have shown the rejuvenative benefits of a mid-afternoon nap. Perhaps tough to pull off for 9-5-ers, but where there’s a will, there’s a way. Just ask George Costanza.