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What Deep Work Is

A process of performing “professional activities…in a state of distraction-free concentration that pushes your cognitive capabilities to their limit. These efforts create new value, improve your skill, and are hard to replicate.” - Cal Newport

Historically, psychologists used to refer to deep work as “being in the flow."

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MORE IDEAS FROM THE SAME ARTICLE

 ... is all about taking your existing time spent working and concentrating it to make the most out of it. 

But it’s not that you have to do more things in less time. Instead, it’s about getting more out of the tasks you normally do by reducing distractions. Deep Work is...

The non-cognitively demanding, logistical-style tasks, often performed while distracted, tend not to create much new value in the world and are easy to replicate.

  1. Develop a deep work schedule and routine: A systematic way of getting in that deep work mindset is to develop a routine in which you always perform the task in the same place and time, for a given time frame.
  2. Work on what matters: At the end of the day, you should be ac...

If you want to find time for your deep work, close all your distractions—email, Slack, phone, internet connection—and work until you’re done. Then reconnect to the world.

The strategy is effective for the simple reason that you’re forcing yourself to do your work — you give...

  1. Schedule all your activities: schedule your day before you start it and organize your work — both deep and shallow.
  2. Finish your workday early: cutting off your working time early will put your mind in “scarcity mode,” pushing you to finish it in less time than usual.

But instead of denying their use completely, use the  “Craftsman Approach to Tool Selection.” This means that you copy the way craftsman pick tools: they use the ones with positive impacts that outweigh the negative impacts if you are a Facebook Ads marketer,  use Facebook. If you h...

...is the first element of deep work.

That means you won’t have the mental discipline to stay concentrated on a single task unless you prepare your mind and environment to it.

  1. Identify a small number of ambitious outcomes to pursue with your deep work hours
  2. Find your lag (the goal you’re trying to achieve) and lead metrics (the behaviors you’ll do to reach the goal)
  3. Develop a scoreboard where you track your time spend in a s...

  1. Take breaks: instead of trying to get rid of distractions, you should concentrate the energy you put into them during set breaks.
  2. Schedule tight deadlines: pick your most important tasks, the ones that require deep work, and then you schedule them in a shorter time span...

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High-Quality Work Produced = (Time Spent) x (Intensity of Focus)

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Time blocking

It's the practice of planning out every moment of your day in advance and dedicating specific time “blocks” for certain tasks and responsibilities.

When you fill your calendar with the tasks and things you want to do, it’s harder for others to steal your time.

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Cal Newport on better managing time

  • To-Do lists are useless. Schedule everything.
  • Assume you’re going home at 5:30, then plan your day backwards.
  • Make a plan for the entire week
  • Do very few things

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