A Lesson On Deep Work

In my pursuit for continuous improvement I am really examining how to go deeper in my work. Specifically, I am working to increase the amount of time I am engaged in deep or focused work. No stopping every few minutes to read new emails, no looking at my phone, and no taking extra breaks. I’m actually moving from task to task and doing work that’s value-add and essential to moving my projects forward.

Yesterday was a good step in that direction. I can honestly say that I performed deep work for at least six hours. I felt as though I accomplished a lot. I made progress in one of my major projects and discovered new opportunities to create more value for others.

I first learned about the concept of deep work while listening to a podcast episode on the topic that involved an interview with Cal Newport, who wrote a book on the subject. I found it to be really thought provoking and I was inspired to apply the concept to my work.

One take away for me was the timer method. This involves setting a timer for the amount of time I want to work on a task. I often apply this to my writing. Sometimes it’s just a matter of getting started and committing myself to 20 minutes of writing. Once the 20 minutes are up, I am officially in the zone and the focus I need is there.

I also found it helpful to put my phone on airplane mode. This has been really helpful. Push notifications and text messages coming through can be a huge distraction. Not having those interruptions makes a huge difference in my productivity.

It’s so easy to get distracted by the trivial many. Deep work is the answer to overcoming those distractions. Getting started in deep work is easy. All you have to do is turn your phone off, set a timer, and get started. And then watch your productivity increase.

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