You often hear athletes speaking about being “into the zone” when they’re running a race or competing against another team – those blissful moments when they are at one with their body, fully focused on the competition and their goal. They’ve become unstoppable.
The amazing thing is, you don’t have to be an athlete to experience the focused euphoria of being in the zone. With mindfulness, you can get in the zone in the office; it’s exactly what your team needs to avoid distractions and reach peak performance.
A study by the learning company Udemy has found that 70% of workers feel distracted at work and 16% state that they’re almost always distracted. Mindfulness, the “awareness that arises through paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgementally.” can prepare you to get in the zone and be fully aware of yourself, and the task at hand.
When your focus is immersed on one activity, your performance is enhanced; you’re completely absorbed in what you are doing. Mindfulness gives you that focus, opening you up to being truly aware and present in the moment and zoned in on your goal. And that time spent in the zone can add up to serious benefits. According to a UC Irvine study reported by Inc Magazine, it can take up to 23 minutes to refocus on a task after a single interruption. With the abundance of distractions commonplace in our daily lives, the time spent refocusing can easily eat chunks out of an already packed day.
How often do you find yourself truly engaged at work and not distracted by emails, your phone, or coworkers? Modern society has shortened our attention spans, but mindfulness and being in the zone can help us get it back.
Tips to Get in the Zone
- Identify the time(s) of the day when you are most productive. Are you an owl or a lark? At your best in the morning, or in the evening? According to Harvard Business Review, “employees should take their own circadian rhythms into account when planning their own day. The most important tasks should be conducted when people are at or near their peaks in alertness.
- Visualize what it is you’d like to achieve. Creating a mental image of your desired outcome can help you stay focused on your goal.
- Write down your goals, breaking up larger ones into smaller tasks that you can check off when finished. Having set goals will help you stay focused and see yourself making progress, will keep you motivated.
- Listen to instrumental music while you work. While music with lyrics can be distracting, studies have shown that listening to instrumental music can improve your mood, enhance creativity, and increase productivity.
- Schedule email and social media breaks. Checking your email or opening a social media app can quickly lead you down a rabbit hole of replies and cute kitten clips on YouTube. Aim to stay on task for two-hour blocks before clicking over to your email. Remember, you need to avoid distractions to reach peak performance.
- Try desk meditation. A few minutes of meditation at work can reduce stress and boost productivity. Deepak Chopra recommends this three-minute meditation to help you stay focused.
Get in the Zone: The Benefits of Mindfulness at work
- Focused attention
- Full concentration
- Clear awareness of your goal
- Feelings of control over your task
- Total focus on the activity
When your team is distracted or “zoned out” it can have negative impacts across your entire organization. A UC Irvine study has shown that people who are distracted compensate by working faster which leads to more stress, higher frustration levels, and pressure, doubling the number of errors they make.
To do your best work and achieve peak performance, get in the zone.
When have you had success practicing mindfulness and getting in the zone? Leave me a comment, I’d love to hear about it!