6 Tips for Getting In the Zone
Where do you start? What takes precedence? What can wait? Please stop asking me to do little things for you, and do I really have to do that one?
I’ve recently arrived at the realization that if I don’t understand myself and forge a plan around containing my weaknesses and supporting my strengths then I’m basically just making my life miserable and my job much harder on myself.
In the past, I’ve tried things here and there that—for whatever reason—just haven’t worked that well (to be honest I’ve more often than not given up pretty early in the process), leading me to the following conclusion:
Old habits truly do die hard and creating new positive ones is even harder; they both take time and willpower to succeed
In the technological fields, we learn by taking on challenging projects, keeping up with industry trends, and taking the time to learn new skills when we can. In order to do that, you need time.
I get easily distracted, I’ve started and stopped writing this article multiple times because I can’t keep focused long enough to finish. The internet is as much my enemy as it is my ally. Right now I’m staring at a week’s worth of work that I need to complete in the next 3 days.
This is often the life of a developer and it is a constant challenge.
To try and improve on this, I’ve focused the past few weeks on understanding my strengths and weaknesses as a developer, and I’ve found a fundamental lacking in my ability to divide my tasks appropriately and get “In The Zone.”
Here’s the breakdown of what I’ve learned as of late:
- Mondays – Mondays are a battle regardless of how prepared I am mentally and physically. I’ve switched to utilizing Mondays as staging days to plan my entire week, setting myself up for success rather than spending it vainly trying to get back into the groove.
- Your Calendar is Your Friend – Use your Calendar to make you a better you. Don’t just fill it with meetings, errands, and obligations. Use it as a tool to help you free up your time for tasks. The leads us to…
- Set time aside – (See above) You are another one of your projects and you need to devote the time you need for the interests you have and working on becoming a better you. Plan on time for projects and learning, write it down, and STICK TO IT!
- Give your Willpower an Occasional Break – You’re more useful if you take 30mins to step back and recharge than you are while struggling through the entire day, pushing yourself constantly, and eroding your willpower to nil by 2pm. Reflect on yourself and how you work best (and worst). Find whatever it is that can help you re-energize.
- Create Small Educational Goals – This is part of the planning and calendar process. Make a list of things you want to learn and mark the time on your calendar to do so. Try to learn something new every week.
- Read a book – Right now I prefer self-help, Whatever you choose (right now I prefer self-help), simply taking time to read is making you a better you. Take some time every week to read and relax.
If you aren’t already doing so, try these out. You’ll be surprised at how motivated you’ll get and how good you’ll feel. Not to mention all the free time you might find!
Do you have any time management best practices? Tell me about them in the comments. I’d love to hear from you.