“Most enjoyable activities are not natural; they demand an effort that initially one is reluctant to make. But once the interaction starts to provide feedback to the person’s skills, it usually begins to be intrinsically rewarding.”Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience
It can be challenging to get started on an important task first thing in the morning. We’ve put together a list of tips to help you settle into your morning routine and get in the zone faster.
1. Declutter your workspace
Our lives are filled with constant distractions. When you arrive at your desk, clear your workspace to eliminate any distractions that may be present. Notes that aren’t relevant to the task at hand, snacks, scrap paper, garbage, whatever it is — get it out of sight!
“The space in which we live should be for the person we are becoming now, not for the person we were in the past.”Marie Kondō, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up
We love this quote, as we think it applies not only to the place we live but also the place we work. After all, ⅓ of our life (on average) is spent at work.
2. Put your phone away
If you remember anything from this article, remember this: put your phone away. We live in an age where our phone isn’t just a phone — it’s our music, our personal trainer, and our social network. You wouldn’t sit in a room with a group of your best friends gossiping about the weekend while trying to meet a vital deadline, would you? Having your phone within reach is equally distracting. Silence the group chats, Snapchats, and Instagram notifications so that you can get in the zone and focus on what’s in front of you. Not convinced that your phone is affecting you at work? Check out these stats.
“83% of millennials open text messages within 90 seconds of receiving them. Cell owners between the ages of 18 and 24 exchange an average of 109.5 messages on a normal day – that works out to more than 3,200 texts per month. This means they are receiving somewhere between 30 and 40 messages during a workday.”Kaytie Zimmerman (@KaytieZimms), Forbes Magazine
One study shows that it takes about 25 minutes to get back into the swing of things after you’ve been interrupted (Kristin Wong (@thewildwong), LifeHacker).
If you’re receiving 30 messages in a work day, that is about 4 messages an hour. If you are responding to every single message you receive, and it takes you 25 minutes to get back in the zone, you may go an entire day without ever getting in the zone. Have you ever felt like you’ve worked a whole day without getting anything done? Yeah. We have too, and our phones may be to blame.
3. Give yourself time
Don’t get frustrated if you’re not in the zone right from the get-go. Studies show that it can take at least 30 minutes to focus your mind. As easy as it is to let your mind wander, check your personal email, or scroll through Facebook — especially when you first start a task — try to hold back for the first hour while you get started, and those distractions will subside. If you give in to them, you’re only pushing back the time it takes to get in the zone.
4. Establish clear goals
Establish clear goals for the day before starting anything else. This will create a ‘roadmap’ for your day so you’ll never be sitting there wasting time wondering what to do next.
Plug your tasks into your Momentum Dashboard at the beginning of the day, with your main focus front and center. If you are a Momentum Plus user, take advantage of our Autofocus feature that automatically pulls up your next task when you complete your current task. This feature helps intercept distraction right when you are most likely to get off track — when you aren’t sure what to do next.
At Momentum, we believe that productivity is personal. The above are some of our favorite tips and tricks, but we encourage you to experiment with what works for you!
Here are a few things to consider:
- Music: do you focus better with it or without it? Lyrics or no lyrics?
- Environment: are you able to focus like a rockstar in a noisy coffee shop or do you want to be able to hear a pin drop in your office?
- Timing: are you an early bird or a night owl? Schedule your essential tasks around your most productive times in the day!
Always remember there will be days where you find yourself battling to get in the zone, no matter how many coffees you drink, or how perfect your playlist is. When those days come, try not to get frustrated. Instead, think about what may be contributing to your lack of productivity. Maybe you haven’t slept enough or had enough water. Perhaps you need some time to clear your head? Listen to what your mind and body are telling you and let that guide you to optimal productivity.
What are your favorite tips for getting in the zone? Let us know!