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Get in the zone: One secret to boost performance across the board

(BROKERAGE NEWS) There are many paths to being successful. This secret, of getting in the zone and finding your flow, is sure to boost productivity and success across all facets of work and life.

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The Zone

Any high performer can tell you – the zone is the destination for success. The “zone” is that elusive place where our concentration is heightened and we lose ourselves to a task. Perhaps you’ve been at the gym and kept a focus on a good cardio workout or lift. Maybe you’ve been working on a video editing project and lost a few hours.

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Or maybe you’ve fallen into the zone reading – regardless of the activity, that zone is the perfect space for productivity. And if we embrace the Pareto principle – the zone is likely a big part of the 80% productivity we get from 20% of our time.

Positive psychology

Psychologically, the zone is a tunnel vision experience where we become creatively powerful, productive, and creative. It’s a place discussed by world class athletes, painters, and Britney Spears (In the Zone was a great album!).

Psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, a part of the field of positive psychology, wrote in his book ‘Flow: the psychology of optimal experience’ on how “flow” takes you to a place of full engagement and enrichment with work.

<blockquote< Also, how the flow does a lot to make us happy.

Flow is a state where we engage challenges with focus that feels effortless and brings us confidence.

What can you do to take yourself to a place of flow?

The key place is to engage yourself in the right challenge between skills and challenge. Tasks that are too easy don’t engage our skills enough, and these things make us bored or apathetic about our work. Too difficult, however, and worry and anxiety keep us from accomplishing anything because we disengage from goals we don’t feel like we can attain.

As a leader, as an employee, as an entrepreneur, you should be striving for that middle ground where your skills are engaged and active.

Being flexed as it would be, but you’re not trying to climb a mountain of sand in flip flops.

If you’re seeking to be a higher performer, this means being conscious of always striving to challenge yourself.

Eventually we become skilled and automatic at the things we do.

If you are seeking the highest levels of performance for yourself, however, you need constant challenge. When things become easy, praise yourself, but be prepared to step it up. Whether it’s at the job, at the gym, or in the pursuit of creative excellence.

Well oiled machine

The zone requires a well-maintained machine of your body however. Be cognizant of your physical, mental, and social wellness. Ask yourself if you rested, are you fed? Personal excellence demands physical wellness (Harvard Business review agrees). Make wellness as much a priority as your productivity if you want to stay in the zone.

So with that said, set some goals, get passionate about what you need to do, and get started. There is a lot to get done, and the zone is the place to do it.

#BeBetter

Kam has a Master's degree in Industrial/Organizational Psychology, and is an HR professional. Obsessed with food, but writing about virtually anything, he has a passion for LGBT issues, business, technology, and cats.

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Real Estate Brokerage

The psychology behind why customers blame you for everything

(BROKERAGE) When things don’t go our way, we search for a cause, and tend to blame others. Psychology explains why customers point the blame at you.

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The customer is always right – Is that real psychology?

We are all too familiar with the old adage, “the customer is always right.” While we know that it is virtually impossible for the customer to always be right, we play along because it is our job to do so.

Psychology attempts to offer some explanation as to why customers may behave the way that they do and why they love to blame “us” for everything (note: I use the term “us” in a universal sense, as it is not reflective of The American Genius).

Some complaints are warranted, but…

Retailers, restaurant workers, and everyone in between has dealt with a difficult customer or two. While sometimes their anger may be warranted, there are often times where the customer is projecting anger onto you.

There are behavioral theories within psychology, Attribution Theory, and Jones & Davis Correspondent Inference Theory, that may help to shed some light onto why people behave the way that they do.

Attribution Theory explains how we judge behavior

Attribution Theory is simply how we attach meaning to our behavior or the behavior of others. Fiske & Taylor explain that Attribution Theory tends to explain how humans judge behavior. If they are judging the behavior of someone else they are assigning internal attributions, while if they are explaining their behavior, they are making external attributions.

For example, if you are driving and someone cuts you off, you may assign an internal attribution that the person is a horrible driver. On the other hand, if you were the one to cut someone off, you would externalize your behavior as unintentional.

It is natural for people to always look for a cause behind an event. Searching for a cause could explain why customers place blame on us. Using the ideas from the example above, if you are at a restaurant and see that your order is wrong, you may attribute blame to the server in saying, “they don’t know what they’re doing”, when it was simply a mistake.

Inference Theory attributes behavior to personality

Jones & Davis Correspondent Inference Theory takes the idea of Attribution Theory a step further, and deals with how people pay particular attention to internal behavior rather than accidental or unthinking behavior.

The Jones & Davis Theory suggests we attribute a person’s behavior to their personality. This means that you would take the aforementioned assumption that the person who cut you off earlier is not only a horrible driver, but also a horrible person.

When something goes wrong at the (usually) unintentional hands of someone else, we internalize that behavior for them. This goes back to our initial claim that, if something bad happens, we search for a cause.

Easier to blame others than ourselves

Sometimes, it is much easier to place blame on others than onto yourself. The idea of attributing something helps to assign a meaning or a cause to let us organize our lives. Being that customers do not always see us as individuals, it is easy for them to cast blame if something goes wrong.

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Recognize and use free time at work like the gift it is with these tips

(BROKERAGE) Free time during your workday can lead to furthering your mind and productivity. Learn how to use it wisely.

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Clocked in but clocked out

We’ve all had those slow days at work where we’re looking for ways to kill the time until the clock strikes five.

While it can be tempting to use this time to text or mess around on the Internet, there are much better ways to use that free time that will make your future so much easier.

Cleanliness is next to godliness

First off, tidy up your workspace. Papers and items have a way of accumulating and may be distracting you even if you don’t realize it. By organizing your stuff and throwing away what you don’t need, you’re able to breathe and focus within your workspace.

It also does wonders for your work brain to clear up your email inbox.

Once that’s all done, plan out the rest of your work week. Make a list of the major goals you’d like to accomplish and then a sub-list of how you’ll knock those goals out. Update your calendar and make sure everything is on track.

Social media, networking, and research

It’s also beneficial to use this downtime to further yourself and your organization. Three ways you can do this is through: social media, networking, and research.

If you have access, take some time to look through your company’s social media and see what can be done to enhance it. Either throw up some posts yourself or pitch ideas to the social media manager.

Networking can be done in this small amount of time by sending out “catch up” emails to old colleagues, “welcome emails” to new clients or introduction emails to LinkedIn contacts.

Send them a “how’s it going?,” tell them what’s new with you, and see what they have going on. You never know where networking can lead so it’s always good to stay in touch.

With research, see what the latest trends are in your field and study up on them. This may give you new ways to look at projects and tasks at hand. And, it’s always beneficial to have continued learning.

Get Smart(er)

While on the subject of continued learning, take this time to mess around with something you may not feel completely knowledgeable of. Maybe dig around RPR data, perhaps practice using different computer programs it is never a bad a idea to nourish your brain.

Having free time during the workday is something of a gift. If you can help it, try not to waste it.

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Real Estate Brokerage

How you can stick with your habits and actually achieve your goals

(BROKERAGE) Sticking to new habits can be tough, but there are ways to train your brain. We’ve got the deets on the best way to beat fatigue.

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Just about every Sunday night I say to myself, “This week, I am going to eat better.” And, just about every Monday afternoon, I find myself cooking the same frozen pizza I always eat. Why is it so difficult for us to stick to our guns and really follow through on developing better habits? Well, if you’re anything like me, it’s mostly because doing what you’re used to is so much easier.

Trick of the trade

Each year I find myself being notorious for skipping out on my New Year’s resolutions, my fitness goals, and my attempts at reading one book per month. Right when I was beginning to feel completely fed up with myself, I found a trick that has helped me form habits and maintain behavior to accomplish my goals.

And, this trick is quite simple: accountability.

This can be found in the form of a friend or in the form of a planner or calendar.

Creating accountable ideas

I have thousands of ideas per day, many of which are fleeting. However, some ideas are about self-improvement.

For example, I often have the idea of beginning a workout routine. While I know that I should be doing daily exercise to increase my overall health, it can be a difficult task to stick with.

By developing this idea into something that I am accountable for, it makes me much more likely to stick with this habit. Let me explain…

Accountable for others

The two aforementioned methods of accountability, a friend or planner, can be used for the given workout example.

If you find a friend who can daylight as your workout buddy, you have someone that will motivate you and that you can motivate.

Now that you’ve made this friend your workout buddy, you have someone to hold you accountable if you miss a day. Gone would be the days where you could skip a workout and have no one to answer to.

Accountable for yourself

But, if you are a solo exerciser like myself, it can be difficult to find a method of accountability. What I have found works for me is taking my thought of, “I should workout,” and putting my goals down on paper.

By writing down a workout plan and the attached goals, it fosters a sense of tangibility.

I then create a calendar where I write down what exercise I want to do on what day, and, after I complete my goal, I am able to check it out.

For the accountability aspect, I like to put this calendar somewhere in everyday eyesight, so that I can’t ignore it. And, sure, I could easily throw it away and pretend it never existed in the first place, but I promise the act of writing out your goals will motivate completion.

In the end…

While sticking to habits can be a tricky business and different methods work for different people, developing an environment in which you hold accountability helps to inspire motivation.

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