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What would be the German equivalent of to get in the zone?

Here are some definitions (via The Free Dictionary):

  1. in the zone (mainly American informal)

    If you are in the zone, you are happy or excited because you are doing something easily and with skill.

  2. in the zone

    Informal In a state of focused attention or energy so that one's performance is enhanced

In psychology, it is also used to describe when a person is fully immersed in an activity (flow).

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    Pease elaborate on that. What is meant whith "getting in the zone? – Beta Oct 8 '16 at 7:50
  • A sportsman "gets in the zone" when he is about to perform. An actor "gets in the zone" just before hitting the stage. A writer "gets in the zone" when writing his novel. etc. – Catherine Oct 8 '16 at 7:52
  • I suggest you edit your post, and write that explanation in your Q. – Beta Oct 8 '16 at 8:02
  • @Beta in the top question or the text? – Catherine Oct 8 '16 at 8:16
  • In the text of your question. You can edit it by klicking on "edit". Also try to tell us what you have come up with this far and why you still haven't found an answer. – Beta Oct 8 '16 at 8:30
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Anything that is related to the term "Zone" (as opposed to "Zone" in composite words, or combined with numbers or other qualifiers of any kind) in German is somehow "loaded" by German history - At least in Western Germany, "Die Zone" used to be the term for the Soviet-occupied zone and later, the German Democratic Republic.

So

Dann geh doch in die Zone!

would have been used towards people being considered "overly socialistic" or communist to tell them they might probably better fit there.

Thus, you wouldn't want to use anything close to a literal translation.

An expression that would convey the meaning of someone being "in the Zone", i.e. exactly within his range of abilities and skill would be

Er ist in seinem Element

and, more or less related to that and a bit more sloppy

Er fühlt sich wie ein Fisch im Wasser

In case you are relating to "being in the zone" as to the common meaning of "being in the flow", you might want to maybe revert to a literal translation of that. German has some idioms that somehow relate to that, but not describing a person's state, but rather the flow of actions.

Jetzt geraten die Dinge in Fluss

Would maybe translate to "now we get things rolling"

And "the Flow" as a psychological technical term is used in German as well, as a loan word, sometimes translated as "Schaffens-/Tätigkeitsrausch"

  • Similar to "Jetzt geraten die Dinge in Fluss" is "Jetzt kommt Schwung in die Sache", but I think neither is getting in the zone. Something like "Tunnel" comes to my mind when I think of forgetting everything around you, although I don't know any nice expression with "Tunnel". – PerlDuck Oct 8 '16 at 15:50
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    'Anything that is related to the term "Zone" in German is somehow "loaded" by German history' - I think this is rather exaggerated. Yes, the term Zone can be understood to refer to the former GDR, but other interpretations of Zone are commonplace in nowadays' German, as well. No-one would think of the Soviet-occupied zone or the GDR when hearing Fußgängerzone, Be-/Entladezone, or even on occasions where the word Zone appears more or less on its own, such as on the (30) Zone roadsign. – O. R. Mapper Oct 8 '16 at 17:12
  • @O.R.Mapper I should probably have made it clear that I'm referring to "Zone" standing alone. Done, thanks. – tofro Oct 8 '16 at 23:12
  • @tofro: I have slightly edited the answer to make that very part more accurate (I would have preferred to suggest an edit, but apparently, beyond a certain reputation, the site automatically applies edits) - hope you agree with the change, otherwise please change it back. I was thinking of cases such as the aforementioned "(30) Zone" roadsign, or also "Zone ..." used in the context of public transportation fares, where "Zone" is not truly a compound word, but combined with a number or similar. – O. R. Mapper Oct 9 '16 at 0:02
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Tofro's answer is proper German, but I've never heard someone say those expressions in an informal setting.

Instead I would say:

Wenn ich programmiere und voll im Flow bin, dann bin ich hyperfokussiert und habe total den Tunnelblick. Wenn dann jemand was von mir will, bekomme ich nichts mit.

  • Flow has a bit of a more specific meaning than just being very concentrated. – O. R. Mapper Oct 9 '16 at 0:03

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