Deep work

To remain valuable in our economy we must master the art of learning complicated things quickly.

Develop the ability to work on one thing, without interruption for a focused amount of time, so that you get something important and relevant done.

How to build that habit 👇

1/ The Roosevelt dash involves settings a timer for a specific task and making sure you finish them before the buzzer. The time need stop be tight so that you can only finish it if all your attention is dedicated to the task. Give yourself too much time and you dawdle.

2/ A damoclean cap on your workday is another way to do this with your whole day. All work must be done by a certain time. Letting it spill over and bleed into the rest of your day means you will never have the time to recuperate.

3/ Sitting around and watching Netflix is not going to rejuvenate you for important work. Paradoxically, if you want to work consistently then idleness is indispensable to getting stuff done. Take planning leisure seriously and then take pleasure in doing it.

4/ Email is great for staying on top of things but work is about getting to the bottom of stuff. Limit time email and other interruptions take up. Batch them together and do them all in one go so that you can remove all distractions when you are working.

The ability to concentrate is a skill that gets valuable stuff done. Most people cannot deliberately concentrate for more than an hour or two. You can work for eight hours a day but most of that time is mindless, responsive work that doesn’t get anything useful done.

Think of work in terms of producing things, not just doing stuff. Decide on what you’re going to produce. If it’s practice, just pick a project. No matter how skilled or talented you are, if you don’t produce work you will not thrive in our current economy.

Set a deadline. Then cap when you finish each day. Break the work into clear milestones. Design the milestones so that you produce something tangible at the end of each one. This helps everything make sense and generates a steady stream of enthusiasm.

Rinse, repeat and produce something wicked. Then take some time off and do something epic so that you are ready for the next project.

This was my summary of Cal Newport’s ‘Deep Work’, if you haven’t already, go read it


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