I have often wondered and theorized different ways we can try and place ourselves in that certain “zone” where tasks are accomplished in the most meaningful way for us. The things that seem to help are mainly skill-level related. To illustrate, imagine doing something that required complete absorption into the activity at hand. This can be anything from doing desk-work to traveling to an entirely new destination. I believe for any beneficial production to occur, your activity should be totally achievable in the first place (well-suited to your skill level, whether it means learning some new things or putting to use what you already know). Sometimes I believe the best way to achieve something of value is by truly focusing on the task at hand, yet every now and then taking a break in which you perform another activity that doesn’t require as much skill. That way, you might come up with a new, outstanding idea out of the blue that’ll help for the main task. I suppose this is the case for most people, but of course each person’s views of the matter will vary.
I personally consider being outside of one’s comfort zone can be either a good thing or bad thing. It really just depends on the situation. For example, many common major-life-events call for a necessary change in comfort, in my opinion. This can include changes in career-status, adjustments in health, and moving to different places, among others. Things in such a situation tend to shift dramatically, so it is necessary to try and adapt to the new event as extensively as possible. Even so, it is good every now and then to look back on what you’ve previously been through, in order to learn from those experiences and apply them to the current situation. Then there are times when pushing yourself outside your comfort zone can seem sort of unnecessary. For example, at a common social gathering (non-business-related), it’s usually best to try and stay away from behaving in a manner completely unrelated to your usual self. That’s not to say it isn’t good sometimes to act differently; just not so much that it detracts from your association’s high judgment of you.