Deep Work

As the technological advances change the culture of the world around us, the rules for who define success are also likely to change. In this tech savvy world, success is defined by those of us who are

  1. Owners of capital or those of us who have access to capital or wealth.
  2. Those who can work with the advanced technology we create.
  3. Experts in their chosen field of work.

The people belonging to the third category are those who are able to effectively master difficult skills and produce results at an elite level. Deep Work is a concept that is derived from the interlinkage of the former skills.

Mastery over Deep Work can be gained by working on the hard things in a manner that engages both your attention and unwavering focus. Productivity is the result of working on hard and important ideas over long, uninterrupted blocks of time. This often results work of the highest possible quality.

The new law of productivity, as put forth by Cal Newport, the proponent of Deep Work states that “The Quality of work produced is the product of Time Spent and Intensity of Focus.” The more time and intensity of effort you put into your work, the higher the quality of the output you generate.

When delineating between Deep Work and Shallow Work, Cal Newport distinguishes between them by stating that “Activities performed in a state of distraction-free concentration that push your cognitive capacities to the limit. These efforts create new value, improve your skill, and are hard to replicate” fall under the ambit of Deep Work.

“Noncognitively demanding, logistical-style tasks, often performed when distracted. These efforts do not create much new value in the world and are easy to replicate.” Is what constitutes Shallow Work.

Newport goes on to mention that it is important to minimise the time spent on Shallow Work in order to maximise time spent on Deep Work.

In the age of social media, our ability to perform Shallow Work far outstrips our ability to perform Deep Work and as such, the ability to focus in depth is growing extremely invaluable. Those who harness this ability will be able to thrive in their lives as Deep Work is about working smart and not working hard.

We’ve discussed the benefits of Deep Work thus far. How do you ensure that you are able to follow this principle in an actionable manner?

The routinization for your Deep work rituals will help you harness your ability to be productive and increase the intensity of your concentration. In order to integrate a routine regarding your Deep Work, you need to be able to integrate one of the following styles into your daily life.

Monastic: This is the classical style of Deep Work, where you will attempt to reduce the number of distractions you face as you work by working in an isolated environment with all sources of distraction disabled.

Bimodal: In this style, you block stretches of time wherein you must provide blocks of time where you can practice deep wok and allocate the rest of the time for Shallow Work. You need atleast one day a week to work like a monastic.

Rhythmic: The easiest way to integrate Deep Work into your daily life is to start working in that manner on a consistent basis. In this style of work, you create a specific period of time that you in Deep Work mode. This session ideally lasts between three to four hours a day.

Journalistic: In this style of Deep Work, you are able to alternate between periods of Deep Work and Shallow Work. This alternation is not for beginners. By alternating in the beginning, you will experience a regression in your ability to do Deep Work.

Habituating yourself to Deep Work is a matter integrating Deep Work into your weekly schedule. By making sure you are able to practice Deep Work consistently, you will be able to produce results which are of a high quality. Alongside this, you will also be able to practice Deep Work at a more efficient and intuitive manner than before.

You can practice Deep Work effectively by instilling certain habits and rituals which will reduce friction when you try to inculcate the habit of transitioning into Deep Work. You can do this by: Firstly, having a location where you sit for consistently practicing Deep Work. The important thing is to ensure that you use this location exclusively for Deep Work. Secondly, setting up a specific time frame for the amount of time you perform Deep Work at a stretch will also aid you. Thirdly, you can set up for a structured work session when you set up parameters to acknowledge what a successful work session is. This can be in terms of the number of chapters you’ve studied or the depth of the concept mastery you currently have.

These are some tips and tricks to help you work deeper, smarter and utilize your time with the utmost productivity.

 

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