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

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.

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IDEA EXTRACTED FROM:

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

https://www.dansilvestre.com/deep-work/

dansilvestre.com

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Key Ideas

The new law of productivity

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

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.

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.

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. 

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:

  • 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

  • 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

SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

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 ...

Shallow work

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.

Recognizing our limited willpower

...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.

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The Flow State

Flow happens when we hit a rhythm and our work hums optimally; when we find "the zone" of productivity. It’s a state that’s easily disrupted by distractions but can be achieved and sustained...

Tactics To Get Into Flow
  • Separate some time to deep pursuits and leave the rest open to everything else. Channel your inner monastic for a limited stretch of time. Afterwards, return to regular accessibility.
  • Remove the obstacles of “when” and “where” by setting a time and a place for deep work, and making it a habit.
  • When you need to do deep work on demand: fit it into your schedule whenever you can. Developing the ability to "switch on" your deep work muscles is less challenging than dedicating the free time to purposeful work.
Why You Should Take Breaks
Why You Should Take Breaks
  • “Movement breaks” are essential for your physical and emotional health. A 5-minute walkabout break every hour can improve your health and well-being.
  • Breaks can prevent ...
When Not to Take a Break

When you are in a state of “flow” it is not good to take a break.

“Flow” is characterized by complete absorption in the task, seemingly effortless concentration, and pleasure in the task itself.

Good Breaks

A “good break” will give that goal-oriented Prefrontal Cortex of yours a good rest by switching brain activity to another area.

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The 2 kinds of work :
  • Deep work”: using your skills to create something of value. It takes thought, energy, time and concentration.
  • Shallow work”: all the little administrative and logist...
Cal Newport
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"The ability to perform deep work is becoming increasingly rare at exactly the same time it is becoming increasingly valuable in our economy. As a consequence, the few who cultivate this skill, and then make it the core of their working life, will thrive. "

Cal Newport on time management
  • Don’t schedule distractions. Schedule deep work.
  • Keep a scoreboard for deep work: The point is to shame yourself if you’re not up to snuff.
  • Stop saying “yes” to unimportant stuff;
  • Have a “Deep Work Ritual”: Hiding in a conference room and throwing your phone into an abyss is a good one.
  • Ask your boss how much time they want you spending on deep vs shallow work: If they say “100% shallow”, feel free to ignore everything above.
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