I recently read DEEP WORK by Cal Newport. The book brings out the rules for focused success in the distracted world we live in.
Deep work refers to distraction-free concentrated activities that push your cognitive capabilities to the limit. These efforts create NEW VALUE, improve your SKILL, and are HARD TO REPLICATE as opposed to logistical-style tasks, performed while distracted.
Here’s a quick summary of the book:
To ensure we can fit deep work in our lives among the distractions and shallow work requirements like email, social media, and meetings; We can use one or more of the following deep work scheduling philosophies:
Table of Contents
The Monastic Approach:
Maximise deep work by eliminating the shallow COMPLETELY.
This option seemed very radical for my line of business and might seem the same way to most of you. But remember you can be monastic about specific things like certain social media channels and apps which are not essential requirements for your major goals and are taking you in the shallow!
The Bimodal Approach:
Dedicate clearly defined stretches to deep work & leave the rest as ‘open time’. 4-day weekends are a great example of this.
This options works really well for me considering I can take 4-day weekends on my own terms. Also, this is a good option for anyone who wants to engage in deep work sessions for a specific project for example: Writing a book.
The Rhythmic Approach:
Make a deep work a daily habit or ritual. Set a fixed time and define deep work sessions everyday.
This is clearly an option everyone can use. And it’s the best option because it can easily become a part of your lifestyle.
The Journalist Approach:
Fit deep work in your schedule wherever possible.
This may sound convenient but it’s not for everyone. This uses up your daily reserve of finite willpower each time you need to switch to deep work from shallow work. I would personally not recommend this to anyone.
For me, a combination of the Bimodal and the Rhythmic approach works the best.
I have defined at least one Monastic 4-day weekend each month to engage in longer deep work sessions (4 hours per day). I’ve also defined 2 slots of deep work (45 minutes each*2) everyday based on the Rhythmic approach.
I would suggest anyone to start with the Rhythmic slots, pre-define them for a week and A/B test what time and place works best for your deep work sessions. Also, make sure you’ve scheduled shallow work slots on your calendar as well so they do not interfere with the deep work.
I also define the goal of each DWS (Deep Work Session) to cue the brain to know exactly what I’m working on in every session. Do the same for your sessions.
All the best!