“Deep work” is a trendy buzzword swirling around the productivity conversation. But what is it? Deep work is someone’s ability to work in a state of peak concentration and focus for a long period of time without interruption. Cal Newport, a computer science professor at Georgetown University, coined the term and suggests that one could stop using all forms of communication for 60 to 90 minutes per day to achieve peak productivity.
Deep work is different from shallow work, which is work that includes standard day-to-day tasks such as sending emails, planning meetings and using social media. While some shallow work is necessary, it often leads to people spending much of their day switching tasks and ultimately reduces their ability to perform as effectively as possible.
Benefits of Deep Work
The following are some benefits of deep work:
- Enhanced productivity
- Decreased errors
- Increased attention span
- Increased creativity
- Increased performance
- Decreased stress
Tips for Deep Work
Deep work requires a conscious effort, and if you don’t create habits to reinforce it, you are unlikely to succeed. In order to succeed, you need to plan out deep working time, remove potential distractions from your working space and stay disciplined in adhering to your plan. Consider the following tips as you experiment with deep work:
- Eliminate distractions. If possible, close your email and other lines of communication to ensure you can focus on the task at hand. In order to succeed, try to find a place with minimal distractions.
- Construct a plan. Create a prioritized list of things you need to do to help you stay on track. Rank the items you must complete from high to low priority and set aside time for each task so you are more likely to complete what you need to.
- Time block your sessions. Impose a time limit for each task you work on. Knowing you only have a set amount of time to complete a given task puts you under pressure to concentrate and you are likely to get more done.
- Measure your deep work. Use an automatic tool to track the time you spend doing deep work. This will allow you to compare your deep work to your shallow work and better track your productivity habits.
Deep work could be a great way for you to increase productivity. Try some of the above tips to see if this way of working benefits you.
Discuss with your manager how to best block off time for deep work, and reach out to your employer for more productivity resources.
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