I have no time. I need an extra day a week! Sounds familiar?
To help with these issues Cal Newport created Deep Work, which aims to maximize intellectual potential, develop abilities, and derive the most from work.
“Professional activities performed in a state of distraction-free concentration that pushes your cognitive capabilities to their limit. These efforts create new value, improve your skill, and are hard to replicate.”
This is a definition of Deep Work by Cal Newport. Its essence is to get rid of all distractions. During a deep work session, you should cut off from the influence of external factors, giving you full focus.
“Great creative minds think like artists but work like accountants.”
If you think that deep work is just another empty buzz word, let me present examples of successful people who use it to their advantage:
Woody Allen, between 1969-2013 wrote 44 scripts, using a typewriter so the electronic device wouldn’t distract him.
K. Rowling didn’t socialize when writing the Harry Potter novels.
Bill Gates has a ‘week of thoughts’ twice a year. He isolates from the world to ponder.
Why do I need to work deep?
“The real reward will go not to those who use Facebook efficiently, but to people who can create innovative operating systems that support this website”
Deep Work is a valuable skill. The current information economy and systems are changing. To succeed, you must give your best. Learn new things, and fast. Taming distractions and going deep into the topic allows us to get better results of our work in a given time slot.
Four philosophies of scheduling Deep Work
“The key to getting into the habit of doing Deep Work is to move from good intentions to work procedures and rituals.”
The monastic philosophy of Deep Work scheduling
This is the most drastic method. It assumes isolation and the elimination or radical reduction of simple activities. It is daily, lengthy and systematic work in a state of deep focus. It works for people with a clear goal.
The bimodal philosophy of Deep Work scheduling
We divide our time into deep work and the rest of our duties. We devote certain hours to deep work only. The smallest period for deep work is usually one whole day. We can also divide time between weeks or months.
The rhythmic philosophy of Deep Work scheduling
The goal of this method is to create a rhythm of work, which removes the need to wonder whether or when to start deep work. Deep work sessions should be a regular habit. Such rhythmic work best suits human nature and is easiest to implement.
The journalistic philosophy of deep work scheduling
The last method is not recommended for beginners. It requires a quick shift from shallow to deep work. This requires a lot of faith in our skills. A conviction that what we do is important and that we will succeed.
Tips to get into a state of Deep Work
“If we deal with shallow activity for a long time, our ability to work deeply is permanently reduced.”
Even if we choose one of the methods and save time, this is not a guarantee of success and efficiency. People who change contexts at work often will have difficulty with deep work. Below are some tips from Cal Newport that should help.
Ritualize Deep Work
Great creators rarely have a chaotic style of work. They usually have an exact rhythm in a day. Keep in mind that there is not one proper ritual. It’s an individual matter and there are dozens of different ways to plan work. 90% of them will fail, but it’s worth discovering the 10%. And don’t wait for inspiration: you must act today.
Execute Like a Business (4DX)
In business, we have 4 Disciplines of Execution, a tool which helps companies implement complex strategies. It helps when you need to do something despite many responsibilities and distractions.
Focus on what is important. The implementation of the plan should address a small number of important goals.
Operate using progressive measures. They direct your attention to the improvement of the mode of operation we can control in the future. For Deep Work, such an ideal measure is the number of hours spent in deep work.
Keep a record of results. Recording of progressive measures motivates you to act. It also improves planning Deep Work sessions and has a positive effect on work satisfaction.
Create a settlement system. Hold meetings with yourself to review the results register. Commit to actions and review previous tasks. Take a few minutes every week or two.
Schedule when the Internet is allowed
Plan when you allow yourself to browse the Internet. It is currently the norm that we are connected to the virtual world all the time. A recommended practice is to set Internet breaks between recollection periods.
Quit Social Media
Would you be able to completely give up social media? Consider the positives and negatives. Look at social media as a tool to support your goals. Which social media activities do not support them? When you think about it, end all activities that prevent you from reaching your goals.
Schedule your day
The most common reason for our dispersion is the lack of a plan. We tend to jump from task to task without realizing what we’ve achieved. I’m not saying plan every minute, but rather choose the most important thing you want to achieve on any given day. Give yourself space for spontaneity.
Become hard to reach
Make contact difficult. This will be a natural filter for important matters.
I leave you with this quote:
“When you work, work hard. When you’re done, be done.”
I also encourage you to read Deep Work by Cal Newport. There you can learn more about the concepts and its principles.
Software Tester at Aspire Systems Poland. Makes sure her projects are all buttoned up and sees to every tiny detail during the development stage. Being a professional tester she does her best to detect and solve all bugs and errors.
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