2. Get in the Zone | Ten Ways to Improve Your Quality of Life

This is the second in a series of 10 articles that give suggestions meant to improve the over-all quality of your life.

2. Get in the zone. This is also called “achieving flow.” There is a lot out there on what it means to ‘get in the zone’ or how to achieve it–it’s something you have to discover for yourself. Look for the formula that lets you ‘get in the zone’ by experimenting and once you’ve found it, apply it to your work or play every day. Not only will these be your most productive moments in life (the 20% of the time where you accomplish 80% of the results) but it will be a boost to your confidence that will alter the decisions you make elsewhere in life.

The concept of Flow was introduced by a scientist named Csikszentmihalyi. Here is a simplified list (adapted from the Wikipedia article) of the conditions that help achieve a state of flow and how you’ll know you’re in the zone. Your results may vary.

To get into the zone:
1. Have clear goals for what you want to accomplish
2. Create an environment where you can concentrate completely
3. Make sure you can get immediate feedback. You should be able to tell what is working or what isn’t so you can adjust your behavior quickly to keep in the flow.
4. The activity shouldn’t be either too easy or too hard.
5. The activity should be intrinsically rewarding.

You’ll know you’re there when:
1. You experience a distorted sense of time–“has it really already been 2 hours!”
2. You have a sense of complete personal control over the activity
3. You have a loss of the feeling of self-conciousness, the merging of action and awareness.

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