"Wired In", "In the Zone", "On Fire"; whatever you may call it, it's an important practice to follow to enhance productivity. If you walk around the offices of Breadboard and Strombeck Consulting you'll find a slew of different wired in signs on doors. We think it's so important, the employees here get a little creative with making sure others know not to bother them.
What It Is
Being "wired in" is when someone dedicates themselves to an above average focused state. You turn on some of your best jams, ignore office banter, and stop thinking about everything but the immediate task ahead. When you're truly wired in, you solve problems quickly and efficiently while seeing things in a different light. Some might even say they see the code, they're in the code, or even as far as being one with the code.
We encourage our employees here at Breadboard to wire in to permit the creation of something awesome. Employees get a budget to purchase quality headphones to make sure wiring in is comfortable, desirable, and easy to accomplish.
What It's Like
What's it like to be wired in? We think this article on being in the zone strongly resonates for many of us. To take it a step further, I think there are multiple zones that have different effects. I go into some details on each below (of course, all is subject to the individual!):
- Limitless Zone
- Achieved 1-3 times a month
- Lasts anywhere from 1-6 hours usually
- Achieved at different times of the day for different people (personally, I reach this zone after 11PM usually and typically tails off around 2AM)
- This is when you are completely in the game; I feel like the article above accurately describes this zone. You're insanely productive and designing architecture while simultaneously implementing it's complex nature. It's difficult to reliably enter this zone on purpose.
- Creative Zone
- Achieved once every few days/weeks depending on the person
- Lasts 1-2 hours
- This zone is unlike the others as it encourages stray thoughts and creativity, but you're still focused on creativity. Usually this is achieved when brainstorming with coworkers about solving problems. Typically involves crazy suggestions and wonky ideas. This zone is also achieved during sometimes periods of rest (i.e. while in the shower). Many novel ideas are created while in this zone.
- Caffeine/Common Zone
- Achieved easily (1-5 times a day)
- Lasts 0.5-4 hours usually
- This zone is achieved on a regular basis and easy to enter (drink some coffee/caffeine, eat a favorite snack, your favorite song comes on, etc.). You're less productive and easier to distract, but you can crank out some serious code during this time.
- Obligatory Ballmer Peak reference
Don't Disrupt (aka "Unplug") Someone Who's Wired In!
When you're wired in, you should try to prevent distractions. Being unplugged at the wrong time can be more harmful than not wiring in to begin with; you can lose your train of thought, get lost, and have difficulty re-entering a state of productivity. This is why we have wired in signs around the office and close our doors when disruptions are discouraged.
Get Wired In!
Whether you're a programmer or not, everyone can be wired in. It's a state of productivity rather than a state of awesome coding. It's different for everyone, so I encourage you to figure out how you wire in and get into the zone!