The Go Zone is a combination of personal efficiency, discipline and resilience. It's much more than time management because it includes motivation, daily actions and clear thinking.
t’s like having 3 gears (Go, Slow and No ‘Zones’) and being able to choose the right gear or zone at the right time.
Go Zones are planned and prepared periods each day where we perform at our best without excuse or distraction and with a clear and achievable goal. Go Zones are crucial when we have more tasks to do than time available or in times of high stress. Here’s how it works:
First we have a pre planned task list. Next, we have a set time frame for our Go Zone. Third, we focus on one task at a time without worrying about how much is still left to do. The aim is NOT to tick off every task on your list but rather to focus on one task at a time until your Go Zone time period is up.
If you find it tough to get to sleep at night, or you crash for about 2 hours then wake suddenly thinking about all the things you need to do tomorrow, you are likely to be a victim of too much adrenaline.
If your life is busy and your find yourself getting angry about minor things like a photocopier jam or heavy traffic, you are also likely to benefit from using Go Zones.
Go Zones put a time limit on your worry and they help control the blood chemistry that has so much impact on our mood and energy levels. The very act of writing your to do list purges the anxiety from your brain. It’s the number 1 tenet of Sports Psychology…whatever it is that’s worrying you; get it out of your brain and onto paper.
Having a time limit for your Go Zones (2-3 hours in an office, 4-5 hours in a farm environment) gives you a strong sense of accomplishment and a goal that you can achieve. Rather than aiming to get your list completed or a set number of tasks tick off, your target is to keep going in a focused and effective manner until the time is up. This boosts your productivity and reduces your stress.
The obvious question is ‘but what happens when I’ve still got more work to do?’
That’s where the Slow Zones come into play!
Slow Zones are less intense but still productive. Here we do routine tasks or even the same tasks but at a slower pace. We consciously choose to drop down a gear.
I personally like to do my Go Zones in the morning. I finish my Go Zone around lunchtime, have a bite to eat and even though I’m still working in the afternoon, it feels like I have already achieved a good day’s work and I’m a bit more in cruise mode. I try not to make key decisions in the Slow Zone or take on technical tasks that require my full attention.
The third zone is my personal favourite.
No Zones are where you refresh, recover and relax. You 'let it go', at least for a little while. Because many of you work long and diverse hours, it becomes crucial to have short and effective No Zones so high level performance can be sustained long term.
No Zones need you to be not working AND not thinking about work.
You have to do something just for you. Something that distracts or immerses you so much that you stop thinking about work. My hobbies range from surfing (exciting) to pen collecting (nerdy but fun to me). They key is if I’m trying to catch a wave or make sure my pen is writing properly, I’m not thinking about work. When you do this for at least 30 minutes, all your blood chemistry rebalances. It is absolutely crucial for your recovery and to balance your high performing Go Zones.
You have to find a passion. Anything from riding (cycle, trail bike, horse) to playing chess, painting, sports, reading, woodwork and hundreds of other things…it doesn’t even have to be physical, as long as your enjoy it, feel better for having done it..and it’s legal!!
Never feel guilty about having a No Zone!
Overall it's about having control of what 'zone' we are in and building strong personal disciplines and resilience ( not too high on the highs or low on the lows). Don’t endure your career, enjoy it!