In The Zone

As someone who works mostly with their brain, there is a concept known as being “in the zone”, in which you are fully concentrated on the work and you completely tune out the environment and distractions.

If you’ve ever been in the zone, you’ll know that you lose track of time while creating spectacular work. The trouble however is that getting “in the zone” is very difficult. It can take anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes to start to kick in, and sometimes you just have a day where you can’t enter that state. Instead you resort to being distracted by your phone, coworkers, and even resort to browsing reddit.

Once you’re in the zone, it’s fairly easy to be knocked out of the zone. Any distractions such as noises, coworkers, hunger, and fatigue will knock you out of the zone. Imagine your boss coming over to your desk to ask you how the work is going, 5 minutes later you’re suddenly struggling to get back into the zone to finish the work. That can take upwards of an hour just to get back in the zone.

As a developer, your productivity depends on your ability to balance a plethora of details in your brain at once. “What should this value be? Okay this is valid, Wait this is an edge case… Okay that’s why it’s false.”

A single interruption will collapse your house of cards. You won’t remember what you were doing, let alone how to resume where you left off. Find an environment where you can get in the zone easily and prevent interruptions. Set boundaries if you need to, people will understand. Whether that’s finding a location where you won’t be disrupted, noise-cancelling headphones so you can’t hear any outside noise, or putting up “Do Not Disturb” as your status everywhere including your desk.

Protect your productivity by staying in the zone.