Deep Work

3 min read

The more I read about productivity the more I realized it's less about doing more and more about doing better. Deep Work had a profound impact on my view on how to approach my activities on a daily basis.

My focus is on distraction-free activities, focused on quality and depth. This is how you make progress in your goals and have a huge impact on your life.

What is Deep Work?

It's simply an activity, a cognitively demanding task that you focus on without distraction. There's a hard thing and you're thinking hard about it, and you do it without distraction, in the absence of a context switch.

Common distractions are checking email, phone notifications, slack notifications, social media, news, TV, people, etc.

Why is Deep Work important?

The future of work and the ability to thrive in the new economy requires two things

  1. The ability to quickly master hard things.
  2. The ability to produce at an elite level, in terms of both quality and speed.

To perform both abilities, it requires us to practice deliberately. Deliberate Practice is 1. your attention is focused tightly on a specific skill you’re trying to improve or an idea you’re trying to master; 2. you receive feedback so you can correct your approach to keeping your attention exactly where it’s most productive.

To learn hard things quickly, you must focus intensely without distraction. To learn, in other words, is an act of deep work.

In today's world, attention and focus are increasingly valuable and rare. There are too much noise and too many distractions.

But it's the deep efforts that move the needle. This is how you make progress. This is how you create value.

Performing deep work consistently creates a disproportionate competitive advantage. If you prioritize depth in an increasingly shallow world, there is a large reward that you are going to get.

Questions & Habits

Here are some questions to drive actions and habits:

  • What are the common distractions in your day?
  • What do you do when you procrastinate?
  • What do you think impact your concentration when doing important, essential activities?
  • Are you scheduling and planning deep work time?

The author talks about 3 “how” to create deep work:

  1. Schedule distractions: the next distraction break you'll have permission to go online, check email, etc
  2. Develop a deep work ritual: create a routine of scheduled deep work
  3. Daily shutdown: rest and disconnect

And here are some actions and habits you can take to help you in your deep work process:

  • Plan and schedule deep work time
    • Don't wait to do it organically. It doesn't come naturally.
    • Time block and plan what to do in advance
  • Evening/Morning routine: plan the next week and the next day ahead
  • Train the ability to concentrate hard
  • Remove distractions as much as possible
    • e.g. of distractions. check email, phone notifications, slack, social media, etc
    • Add browser extensions to block social media
    • Block Slack notifications for your deep work time
    • Schedule the deep work time in the morning to have no distractions
      • The world is still sleeping. Use the morning time to have more depth in the work and fewer distractions


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