Deep work vs. Shallow work - Deepstash
Deep Work: How to Develop the Most Valuable Skill of the 21st Century

Deep Work: How to Develop the Most Valuable Skill of the 21st Century

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Deep work vs. Shallow work

Deep work vs. Shallow work

  • Deep work: Professional activities performed in a state of distraction-free concentration that push your cognitive capabilities to their limit. Creates value.
  • Shallow work: Noncognitively demanding, logistical-style tasks, often performed while distracted. Doesn't create value.

Remove distractions

  • Use Headphones: Coworkers will think you can’t hear them and the barrier to interrupt you is much higher
  • Work Remotely: start by asking for a half-day, preferably mornings
  • Email: treat email as a to-do and schedule it in your calendar twice per day
  • Disable Phone Notifications: disable all notifications. If it’s truly urgent, people will call
  • Schedule Internet Time: schedule in advance when you’ll use the Internet and avoid it outside of those times. 
  • Clear to Neutral: at the end of the day, close all your tabs and programs, delete or move all the files from Downloads, empty the trash, and shut off your computer. 

Why downtime is so important:

Why downtime is so important:

  • New Insights: as your conscious mind rests, the unconscious mind takes over and provides valuable insights or creative ideas and consolidates memories
  • Recharge: rest fills up the energy needed to work deeply. You restore your ability to direct your attention by giving this activity a rest
  • Evening Work Is Usually Not Important: work that you fit in your downtime isn’t normally high-value activities that really advance your career but rather low-value shallow tasks.

How to Get Better at Deep Work

How to Get Better at Deep Work

  • Quit Social Media: all those notifications hurt your ability to focus and stay focused. Social media isn’t all bad but it’s definitely a bad habit.
  • Practice Saying “No”: be selective when deciding what opportunities to go after. 
  • Meditate: 10 minutes of meditation in the morning will greatly increase your ability to focus throughout the day

4 philosophies to integrate Deep Work into your life

  • Monastic: maximize Deep Work by minimizing or removing shallow obligations. Isolate yourself for long periods of time without distractions; no shallow work allowed
  • Bimodal: divide your time into some clearly defined stretches to deep pursuits and leave the rest open to everything else. Reserve a few consecutive days when you will be working like a monastic. You need at least one day a week
  • Rhythmic: involves creating a routine where you define a specific time period — ideally three to four hours every day — that you can devote to Deep Work
  • Journalistic: alternate your day between deep and shallow work as it fits your blocks of time. Not recommended to try out first.

The new law of productivity

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

Make Deep Work a Habit

  • Where: identify a location used only for depth, such as a conference room or a quiet library
  • How Long: set a specific time frame for each Deep Work session. 
  • How: your ritual needs rules and processes to keep your efforts structured. 
  • Support: to maximize success, you need systematized support — so you deplete willpower — your efforts to go deep. 

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