Stanford university student Julia Davids shares an interesting technique professors use to get students in the zone: physical warm-ups such as partner and self massages. Awkwardness aside, both physical and mental warm-ups can jump-start any work activity.
Photo by Bright Meadow
In her Crane for Creativity ebook, Davids writes:
Supposedly, when you engage in a physical warm-up before engaging in work activity, something amazing happens. You start to move, and lo and behold, your engagement in the present increases; your body and mind stand at attention; you gear up to your top performance with record-breaking speed, 0-160 IQ and CQ (Creativity Quotient) in just minutes; and your team wins the World Series. (I do not follow baseball; this just seemed like an appropriate reference).
[...]Most of the time, I simply default to doodling; starting with a blank page and filling it with nonsense gives me pleasure. The frenetic energy of the lines created by my felt tip pen often exceeds the energy I might gain from jumping 10 times.
If you're feeling slow to get into your work, try one of the suggested warm-ups, such as drawing circles on paper and turning them into objects or "educational massage" (may not be appropriate in all work situations!).