Finding Your Zone

“The mind is pretty powerful. In skating, you learn to click into that zone and focus not necessarily on what you’re doing but if you’re doing it well.” – Dorothy Hamill 

For some, getting in the zone is not easy.

Whether the work or hobby you enjoy is in a restaurant, in a sport, in an office, or in a creative environment, we all experience a place called, “the zone.” 

“The zone” is a mental place where we become fully immersed in a task, that our energy is concentrated and focused, and our enjoyment and passion find perfect balance and flow without effort, thought, consideration, or concern. Confidence peaks and we become the center of the universe. 

It’s a zen-like state of meditation that completely mesmerizes and absorbs us in what we’re doing. All external and peripheral distractions fade and blur, becoming meaningless to the sheer pleasure of being in “the zone.” 

But, the lingering question for many is, how do you get into “the zone?” How do I find that place where my flow is free to move like liquid on glass, without fluctuation or interruption? 

Well, I’ve come up with some thoughts to help get into  “the zone,” opening that channel where freedom, peace, and passion commingle to lend a full breath of meditative joy in the work you do, and where the takeaway is immeasurable: 


If you don’t like gardening, chances are you’re not going to find your zone pulling weeds or planting seeds. However, if you love getting your hands in the soil, then gardening might be perfect to reach your zone. 


If you’re sad or angry, it’s going to appear in your work. If you’re anxious, it’ll show in your work. I never seem to have time to immerse into projects the way I need to, as there’s always a demand for my attention, yanking me out of my zone. 

It’s often a challenge for me when I’m not in my optimal state of mind, not feeling at my peak. I love spending as much time as I can in my zone, but when I’m feeling sad, worried, frustrated, or upset, it’s difficult to get in my zone, but I try. 


Browsing the web, looking at home decor sites like Houzz, Etsy, or Pinterest to get ideas for your own home is a passive, relaxing and fun zone to get into. Social media sucks us into a zone of exploring the trivial goings-on of our friends.

These kinds of tasks are about enjoyment and escape, not growth or development. Writing or replying to posts on Instagram or Facebook is disposable thinking. No one remembers our brief comments a day or two later, let alone a year. Now, if that same time and effort were spent assertively, the results would be in the form of growth and personal development. 

In the time taken to reply on Facebook, I could’ve written a brief how-to blog entry on home decor, that I could then share with friends on Facebook. Heck, this blog you’re reading now, was created from a desire to capture my own thoughts and perspectives on creativity and applying positive energy to my world. It’s a platform to refine my skills as a writer, as well as create a timeline of themes to help remind myself of why I enjoy what I do and keep myself on task. 

Look at past entries, I’m happy I’ve held up to my own challenge to create one per month. I now have several entries to reflect on. For me, having a reason to get into the zone is just as important as being in the zone. Reading a book is a great zone for relaxing, but writing a book is a proactive, productive way to spend time in the zone, with a result that is tangible, accessible, and potentially lucrative. 


Like you, I’m pulled in many directions, with no idea how to keep it together and get anything done. Kids need constant rides, money, and attention; groceries; laundry; yard work; being Mr. Fixit around the house; family; friends; sleep… oh, and that whole work thing! 

These are all real life demands that require my time and attention. I’m able to eek out time, here and there, to do the things I love, like draw and paint, but it’s never enough time. I find myself sitting in my car or on a sports bleacher, doodling randomly in a tiny sketchbook while waiting for others to come out of their zone.

It is not quality time to fully immerse into what I need to do – it can be frustrating. At work, I access a different zone to make a living. That zone is reached in the morning and spread throughout the day, usually expended when I get home.

I’ve trained myself to get to bed earlier (I used to be a night owl, staying up late into the night) and getting up as early as I can, often 4:30AM to 5AM. 

Getting coffee and settling into my personal workspace, there’s great satisfaction in having 1-2 hours of pure immersion time to spend in my zone. It takes 15 minutes to find the zone, wander through fluctuating comforts and emotions, but once I find it – I’m all there! 

There’s a time warp in the zone. An hour can go by in minutes. Usually, right when I begin to see progress, it’s time to stop and leave the zone, much like a kid told to turn off a video game – it’s a harsh shock to the zen-state of mind to be suddenly shaken out of the zone by the clock. 


If you go jogging to get in your zone, you don’t want to get caught up in doing laundry while looking for your running shorts. If you edit video in your zone time, you don’t want to get caught up in emails or social media. 

Distractions can be the worst enemies. Social media is a time killer, despite how much we enjoy it. Doing dishes or laundry are tasks in continually need of attention. But, managing time wisely and saving routine tasks, like laundry, for time outside the zone, leaves time to spend in the zone, doing what we enjoy. 

With social media, I suggest setting specific times to check in. This limits time with it, but also makes me look forward to checking in. For me, I check every two hours, if I need to, but more often less. It takes discipline, like everything. 


An important thing for me is having my work space already set up before I go into my zone. This means being organized. For the most part, I keep everything in place and tidy, but, in the photo, below, of my desk, that’s not always the case. 

A bird’s eye view of my work space after I’ve spent time “in the zone.”

Two days ago, my desk was spotless. It took just one day of being in my zone to clutter it up again. I walked away from the desk at midnight on Saturday, too tired to clean up, leaving it all to put away when I’m out of my zone, so it won’t affect my time when I go back. 

When in the zone, there’s nothing worse than having to spend time doing prep work or cleanup that takes time away from the real work. 


So, you’re finally there – in the zone! If you’re like me, you think to yourself, “I just love doing this!” That’s the moment of gratitude – the moment when you should recognize and be grateful to have the opportunity to be in the zone. Not everyone is fortunate to be able to access their zone, leaving potential wasted.

For me, once I’m in the zone, I don’t want to leave. I stay as long as my energy and time will permit.


So, you spent several hours in your zone and enjoyed every productive moment of it, feeling grateful for the time and opportunity. But now, the energy is spent and you find yourself ready to leave and on the other side.

That’s the decline – the down side. The exit ramp out of the zone. 

Think of it like coffee or candy. The idea of coffee or candy, for many, creates a craving in the mind. Getting the coffee or candy excites the brain and the body. Drinking the coffee or eating the candy makes the whole body smile. But, soon, the caffeine or sugar rush kicks in. Unexpected energy bursts the body and brain into full motion until – it starts to wear off. Then, the sluggish fatigue begins to set in. The body and brain slow down and fall into decline. 

The smell of coffee from the beans holding pens & brushes.

Knowing beforehand and being aware of the results, we can prepare by drinking water to offset the decline before it starts. 

This is what it’s like coming out of the zone. We can prepare for the departure by recognizing the feeling of energy loss and starting the cleanup process. 

For me, I rely heavily on my phone’s alarms. I always set three and the ringtone is usually gentle, not to jerk my attention, harshly. I don’t often need three alarms, but I like having the back up, just in case.   

I use my phone’s alarms for everything!

In many cases, l leave thing where they are and deal with putting it away later, when I’m out of my zone. But, during my zone visit, if things are tidy it makes leaving more pleasant, which means I’ll walk away feeling terrific! 


It’s so disappointing to get in the zone only to have things go awry and have to waste time on unexpected results. This happened recently when a small spill while I was setting up a drawing took 30 minutes to clean up. It not only pulled me out of my zone, but I gave up early out of frustration. 

Another instance is getting texts or calls while I’m in the zone. I love to hear from people, but when I’m in the zone, I shut my phone off, completely. I don’t like the distraction and when I recently left my phone on, I got caught in a long conversation that I could’ve had out of the zone, later. 

Imagine trying to nap with a dog barking. Any effort to ignore the dog and focus on sleeping is for naught. When external interference collides with meditation, it’s time to find a new location or plan the meditation for another time. 

A neighbor’s kid rides dirt bikes around his yard, incessantly. It’s a problem out of my control. Focusing on my work is impossible with the noise. So, I got a pair of noise canceling headphones, which solved the issue and allows me to immerse in my zone, fully. In fact, I’m wearing them right now!


I’m going to attempt my first garden in many years. I know, from the past, that a good garden takes loads of care and attention. Spending time in your zone is much the same. Planting an idea of potential benefits of being in your zone will help motivate you to get there. 

Nurturing the desire to be there by making time and being prepared will motivate you to want to be there and stay there for as long as possible. 

Finally, seeing the results of what being there brings is like picking the fruit from the tree you’ve grown. It’s a fully satisfying effort and will make you want to keep coming back, again and again, as often as possible. 

So, in the future, should you find yourself saying, “I just wish I had more time to ” then perhaps re-evaluate the value in how your time is spent. 

Go to bed late? Sleep ‘til noon? Wait on other people’s needs before your own? Being the best you can at your job, yet never having time to pursue your dream?

Finding time, planning ahead, and making your life work for your benefit will not only enrich the quality of your life, but it will enhance the quality of relationships with those around you, as well as your place in the world, bringing a strong, positive energy to your step and broader connection with our universe.

As always, thanks for taking the time to read this. I wish you the best in your creativity. Remember, life is far too short to waste time, so get in your zone today!