Time for you lads to begin some Deep Work
Deep work is perhaps the most important skill one can develop in terms of productivity. Cal Newport the author of the book ‘Deep Work’, defines it as
“The ability to focus without distraction on a cognitively demanding task”.
We are living in a world in which we are bombarded with distractions. An instant-gratification frenzy that will destroy you slowly if you let it. People with the skill to focus on a singular task without becoming distracted are becoming rare to find in the new economy. These people are fast becoming the most values employees and members of society due to this skill.
Here are 4 rules for Deep Work:
Rule 1: There are no distractions during Deep Work
Distractions are the bane of all good work. Those who engage in the fine art of deep work understand the distractions are the greatest enemy. If you want to get good work done you must first find a place that is immune to distractions. A study base that is impregnable.
J.K Rowling is said to have rented a hotel when she was writing the final Harry Potter book. Isaac Newton remained in solitude in his house for months whilst developing differential calculus. Study many of our acclaimed ‘geniuses’ and you will see that they all dedicated a significant amount of time to deep work.
Rule 2: Deep Work is deliberate
Deep work is deliberate and is not based on whims. It isn’t based on how you ‘feel’, but is scheduled. Engaging in deep work is committing to greatness, greatness abhors inconsistency.
It doesn’t matter if it’s raining or snowing or hot outside, you do the work. It doesn’t matter if you are tired, you do the work.
As Steven Pressfield stated in his book ‘The War of Art’, you should assume the role of a professional. You should ‘turn pro’.
You wouldn’t skip your day job just because you didn’t feel like going, deep work is more important to you than any one job. You must respect it and keep showing up.
Rule 3: No multi-tasking during Deep Work
Multi-tasking is a myth and the favourite tactic of the amateur. Studies have shown that when we multi-task our brains switch from one task to another. This switching ultimately sacrifices the quality of the work being done as the brain has limited resources.
Each time you switch tasks it’s akin to your brain having to start fresh. Lots of energy gets wasted in trying to get back into the flow.
Avoid multi-tasking and choose to go deep, choose to dedicate your whole mind to the pursuit of one goal at any given time.
Rule 4: Deep Work is challenging
Deep work is not easy, it’s not a breeze. Deep work is challenging and pushes you to the limits. Deep work is not being in the ‘flow’ state (popularised by psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi).
The flow state is almost always enjoyable, it’s when you are in the zone and your skill set and challenge requirements perfectly synchronise.
Deep work has you working on a task that is just slightly above your skillset. Deep work has you slogging it out in the trenches. It is almost never easy or particularly enjoyable whilst you are doing it.
Deep work shares more similarities with the term ‘deliberate practice’ coined by Anders Ericsson in his book ‘Peak’,
‘Flow’ is Kobe Bryan hauling ass on the basketball field, every play seeming effortless. Deliberate practice is the strenuous training that is involved to be able to play at that level, training that far exceeds the difficulty of any one game.
Examples of Deep Work
- Deep work is your training, it’s sitting down for hours trying to understand a mathematics proof.
- Attempting to write a sophisticated C++ program.
- Deep work is writing your book and trying to put the pieces together.
- Deep work is building the funnel for your new business and trying to optimise every page.
Deep work will make you itch at times, the shit is uncomfortable and taxing, however, when you are finished you will be unstoppable.
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