How We Stay in “The Zone”

February 17, 2020

I was reflecting at the end of the day, and I realized I had one of the best days I can remember. It felt like I was in a state of flow, and I was happy with what I worked on. What was different about this particular day? How can I duplicate it?

I think a lot about this idea of self optimization and there are a ton of resources, books, podcasts, etc. on the subject. I’ve been working on my “stay-in-the-zone” formula for the last month. Here is what it looks like:

The mornings are generally reserved for none computer work and set aside for pen and paper. Now, I am cheating a little because I use a tablet with a stylus, but the point is to use this time to capture at my most creative thinking time.

My rules for staying strategic and creative are simple:

  • No checking email before 11 am
    Drawings and writing are the key activities here
  • Use OFFLINE resources or books that help you engage in creative thought
  • Use OFFLINE inspiration drivers (coffee shop, galleries, etc.)
  • The goal is to stay in a positive, creative zone for as long as possible without interruption. I use this time to brainstorm a new campaign for a client, to write copy, or to sketch concepts.

The afternoon is for getting work done on the computer. Here is where I execute on the creative and critical thinking in the morning. In many cases, I share the work with my designer and writer colleagues here and get their help with building on my ideas. There is a set of rules for the afternoon, which I’ll talk about in part two.

I want to know your practice for staying strategic and creative.

How do you stay in the zone?

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