I once worked with a client – let us call her Samantha – who held a very demanding position within her organization. She had a tremendous amount of responsibility and multiple demands on her time. Samantha was also very ambitious, as she wanted to advance her career up the corporate ladder, and knew what it would take to do so. Samantha was given some projects to demonstrate her abilities, however, those special projects required extra hours beyond her normal workday.
One project was writing a strategy document for her director. This would give Samantha the opportunity to highlight her strategic thinking and superb writing abilities. Her director was supportive and went out of his way to ensure Samantha had the time and resources to write this document.
However, every time Samantha started to write, she would get distracted by emails, phone calls and people stopping by her office. I helped Samantha remove these daily distractions, yet once she sat down to write in her new “distraction-free” office, she still had trouble focusing and writing. Then I realized Samantha was not in her “writing zone”.
I am sure many of you have heard the phrase “she performs best when she is in her zone”. Well, world-class athletes need to be in their zone every time to give their best performance.
Many organizations are struggling with eliminating daily distractions from their working environments. However, if you have removed all those distractions from your working environment and you or your team is still not performing at their best, you might not be in your performance zone.
Try these three strategies to help you move into your best performance zone.
1) Clear your mind
Once you have removed all the distractions from around you, try clearing your mind before you start the activity you are about to do. Remove the thinking about the project deadlines or other mental distraction that have nothing to do with what you are doing right this moment.
A good way to clear your mind is to go for a walk before you start the activity that requires you to perform at your best. When you take a walk, you are changing your physical environment and doing something physical, and that will energize you and help reset your mind. This will give you greater clarity before you start your important activity.
Learning to focus is one of the basic performance skills a person can learn, which will improve a person’s and team’s performance immediately. Once you have cleared your mind, try to stay completely focused on the task you are performing and simply allow your mind and body to do what they are capable of doing. In Samantha’s case, it was writing a strategic document.
3) Choose a challenging goal
Establishing a challenging goal will help you find your performance zone by heightening your energy levels and your ability to remain focused and connected to what you are about to do. These goals move you beyond your comfort zone. Staying focused and connected to the steps you need to take will enable you to reach those challenging goal faster and with more ease.
In Samantha’s case, her challenging goal was to become a VP within her organization, but she knew she had to focus on the steps in front of her to get there.
Turn Your Knowledge into Action
Take one action this week that will help create a “distraction-free performance zone” for you or your team.
All the best in achieving your highest performance.
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