The 7 Essential Rituals for Focused Work | Scott H Young - Deepstash

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Good Rituals for Focused Work

Good Rituals for Focused Work

  • A good ritual should be accessible most of the time you plan to work. If you focus best in a library, but it is closed on weekends when you need it, it is not a good ritual.
  • It should assist with getting into work, not adding steps that turn it into a procrastination tool. _If you first need to meditate for ninety minutes, then drive for two hours to a log cabin before you start working, it is not effective.

Good rituals can be done quickly, on-demand, and help you get into focus. Pairing a consistent routine with focused work can help to direct your mind into a state of productivity. But rituals can also prevent you from moving into focused work and instead become a tool for procrastination.

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Using Noise-Cancelling Headphones

Wearing headphones can block out some of the ambient sounds and create a subtle barrier to being interrupted.

Regular headphones with some sounds playing will also do the trick. But researchers found listening to music with lyrics caused a decline in performance while white noise wasn't found to have the same impact.

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The Distractions We Can Control

For any focused work session, we should prevent the distractions we can control.

  • Allow only a select few emergency channels to go through and interrupt you. Turn off all other notifications on your phone and computer.
  • Ensure your email inbox is closed.
  • Pack your phone away to minimise the impulse to check your phone.
  • Schedule short focused check-in times for essential emails.

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Using A "Do Not Disturb" Sign

The sign needn't be real - signaling to people you're going to do some focused work is enough.

If you have your own room for working, closing a door can serve as a barrier to potential interruptions.

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Plan Exactly What You'll Work On

We often struggle with internal distractions. We get restless, bored, frustrated, or anxious about the task.

The best way to handle these emotions is to plan what exactly you will work on, how you will work on it, and what steps you will follow. Once you have a plan, getting started is easy.

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Creating A Focused Space

Consistently picking the same space for focused work will condition your brain to enter the right state of mind.

You can also pick focused spaces that limit the kind of unfocused work you can do. If you don't need the internet for your task, pick a spot without internet access to boost your focus.

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Keep A Log Of Your Focused Time

Keep a time log of when you do focused work throughout the day. It makes focus more noteworthy than the feeling of being busy all day.

Writing down the starting time of a deep work session sets the intention to work deeply and makes tracking your hours easier.

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Anxiety And Focused Work

Anxiety is a cause of procrastination. You feel your upcoming work will be difficult, so you find a way to distract yourself.

Sometimes your anxiety stems from the standard you expect from yourself. You need to do a practice test, but you don't feel you've mastered the material. You want to write an essay but have no ideas. A good response is to simply lower your standards for now. Be okay with writing a draft you'll throw away just to get the ideas out. A good first step is just to show up, reminding yourself that giving yourself space to focus is more important than an arbitrary standard.

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kevinrw

I strive not to be busy, but efficient.

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