7. Go easy on the email. Constantly checking email is another big distraction and detriment to flow that most office workers deal with, according to Howell. Even though it may only take a few seconds, it pulls you out of your zone and can affect concentration. To boost your chances of going with the flow, only allow yourself to check email every 30 minutes. If the little preview window that pops up in the bottom right corner of your screen tempts you to click over, change the settings in your email client (such as Entourage or Outlook) so this doesn’t appear, suggests Perry.
8. Take care of yourself. Your lifestyle habits can keep you from getting in the zone at work. “Stress, lack of sleep and a poor diet can make you more susceptible to getting distracted during the day,” says Howell, who noticed that he slept better and thought more clearly at work after he changed his diet and started eating healthier—namely, by munching on more fruits and vegetables and easing up on heavy meat meals like burgers. Besides getting enough sleep each night, stay satiated during the day by not skipping meals and ditch the junk food, suggests Perry. Both of these factors can alter your brain functioning because they affect your hunger and blood sugar levels.
9. Have a recovery plan of action. Inevitably, things are going to come up throughout the day that will take you out of your flow, but you can’t let each one completely derail your productivity, notes Perry. Find a quick way to get back on track. This can be as simple as telling yourself: “Okay, as soon as I answer this phone call, I’m going to go right back to the project I was working on.”
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