Getting In the Zone

focusAh, that intense work related panic. We’ve all been there. Some important deadline is looming and it’s blotting out everything else on the horizon. But all you need is to get into that mythical “zone” that certain level of focus where everything is supremely easy and the work flows like never before. Not that I’m over promising or anything…

Given that we are all perfect snowflake-esque butterflies of individuality, everyone has a different type of “zone” with different ways to get into that state and motivation behind it. Perhaps it’s a crucial presentation that’s getting you all stressed. Or a blog post that badly needs writing before the rest of the morning slips away (just a totally random example).

Here are a few handy hints and tips to get you started:

  • Routine is important. If you get yourself into the habit of settling down to do a certain task at the same time every day or point during the week then the familiarity will definitely help get you started
  • The right environment. You might find that a coffee shop, being outside (weather permitting) or even somewhere like an aeroplane is more conducive to your process. If you’re able, make it so

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  • However, we don’t all have such luxuries. I work on a busy sales floor so often I need to be able to block everyone else out. That’s where my trusty iPod comes in very handy indeed.
  • Listening to music can help even if there’s no outside noise to overcome. When you’re trying to come up with ideas, something without lyrics is probably best. Some opt for classical music, one of my colleagues swears by video game soundtracks, which are designed to be motivational without being distracting, but I’ll stick with my movie soundtracks (just blasted through the Lego Movie and now I’m onto Inside Out).


  • Caffeine. Sure, too much will leave you in a state so wired that all you’ll be good for is bouncing off the walls. But just a little to kick things off couldn’t hurt. Right?
  • Organise and Assess. Empty your brain and write down everything on paper, this will instantly reduce some of the anxiety. Once done assess what needs to be prioritised and how to go about it. One thing that is paramount is your goal. It needs to be something clear and achievable. If it’s something undefined or out of the question then it will pull your focus rather than making things easier

When it comes to something like a presentation, it’s all (well, not all. The content may have a little something or other to do with it) about your mental state.


  • Try to visualise success. Seeing it go well in your mind’s eye will do you the power of good. Picture your confident, witty and engaging delivery. Imagine how impressed your audience will be and the uproarious round of applause they’ll spontaneously burst into at the end
  • Prep, rehearse and prep again. When you know your content inside out you’re bound to feel more confident
  • Do everything in your power to keep calm. Leave outside or personal problems at the door as that’s where they belong. If you’re feeling emotionally unbalanced then try and focus on something else


  • For example, breathe deeply in and out while counting to ten. This is to get you focused on one thing rather than any other distractions. Probably best to save this before you get in the room so that the audience isn’t staring at you during this particular mindfulness exercise

A fear of failure is one of the most common things holding people back in this type of situation. The best way to combat this is to get out of your head and into the zone!

Career Advice, MedComms Professionals