Do you yearn to know the secret to achieving peak productivity at work – I have two words for you… ‘deep work’.
But what is ‘deep work’ and how it can make you more productive?
Deep work is the ability to focus without distraction on a cognitively demanding task. It’s a skill that allows you to quickly master complicated information and produce better results in less time. Deep work will make you better at what you do and provide the sense of true fulfillment that comes from craftsmanship.
To be put simply, deep work is like a superpower in our increasingly stressful 21st century workplace. It’s being able to stay focused on your most important and demanding tasks. When you’re able to do this, you’ll end up working smarter and not harder.
Sounds easy right, and yet, most people have lost the ability to work deeply, spending their days instead in a frenzied blur of e-mails and scrolling through social media feeds, while attempting to multi-task.
“Deep work” was first coined by Cal Newport, a computer science professor at Georgetown University, in a 2012 blog post. He went on to expand upon this idea in his 2016 bestselling book, appropriately titled Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World.
In DEEP WORK, Cal Newport flips the narrative on impact in a connected age. Instead of arguing distraction is bad, he instead celebrates the power of its opposite. Dividing this book into two parts, he first makes the case that in almost any profession, cultivating a deep work ethic will produce massive benefits. He then presents a rigorous training regimen, presented as a series of four “rules,” for transforming your mind and habits to support this skill.
Want to learn how to gain this super power, but don’t have time to read the book! Here is a quick four-step guide on how to learn ‘deep work’.
Deep work is designed for tasks that take longer or are more taxing on the brain – anything that requires a high level of concentration. Think, strategic planning and thinking, working on difficult numbers, or doing something highly creative, these are perfect tasks for deep work.
1. First things first, is to remove distractions. Deep work only works, if you are not easily distracted. Make sure you schedule your deep work time into your calendar and block it out. Then try and remove yourself from your normal working environment, if that’s in the office go to a meeting room, or at home go to a café, where you won’t be easily distracted. You should also switch off your phone and turn off email notifications. You could even set an out of office to say that you won’t be available during this period of time.
2. Be clear with your boundaries with others, so no one around you disturbs you.
3. It’s important that you’ve eaten enough and done some form of exercise before entering a deep work flow. Try your best to get a good night’s sleep the night before too, so you don’t feel tired and anxious.
4. Set yourself realistic goals and make sure you know what you want to achieve during this time period.
Good luck at unlocking this new super power!