Fifteen Minutes To The Zone

I’ve been reading a few productivity books lately and have become inspired to use my time more efficiently as I have become a bit wayward in it’s management in recent times. Something that I read about and mulled over how it applied to poker is the notion that it takes 15 minutes of total focus on something until you are in ‘the short zone’. The definition of  ‘the short zone’ is an uninterrupted state of productivity if you will. It’s characterised by state where you’re totally absorbed by what you are doing and everything just flows, so much so that you fail to accurately realise the passage of time.

I would say that being in ‘the poker short zone’ comprises of enjoying yourself, not worrying about you’re running, total focus on in game decisions, game selection, marking hands and tagging players to a point where you’re not bored, not distracted and are actually disappointed when you suddenly realise you’ve been playing for 3 hours and have to get to quit because you have another engagement.

So how do we make sure we are in ‘the zone’ more often? I’ve come up with a few suggestions that I’m going to be trying for myself over the coming weeks…

  • Playing at the most productive times: When are the games best? What time of day does my brain function best?
    • Since Black Friday this has been a difficult one for me, it used to be that the best time to play was the best time for my brain, but it is no longer the case. I’m going to be experimenting with different session times and lengths.
  • Set a 15 minute timer at the start of your session where you must actively be reminding yourself to stay focussed on every little detail like new games that are starting, getting reads, every single street of every small pot etc.
  • Shut your door (and put up a DND sign), turn off music, put your phone in a drawer, close IM client, browsers, email etc. – No distractions for the first 15 minutes and it becomes impossible for you not to focus on the task at hand with all your energy.
  • Listen to music after the first 15 minutes or if you’re in a loud environment. If you have a shared workspace or house mates, put your headphones on and drown out what is going on around you and also make yourself less approachable and likely to get distracted by a conversation. Listening to music generally should aid in making the passage of time feel a lot quicker.
    • I’m actually going to be experimenting with different types of ambient noises as well. I’ve heard that pink noise can be quite useful and calming.

About the Author: Andrew Ferguson

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