Book in Focus – Deep Work by Carl Newport

If you don’t produce you won’t thrive – no matter how skilled or talented you are.
– Carl Newport

Deep work is difficult, important work which required uninterrupted attention and single-minded focus. Deep work creates value and builds the flow.

There are 3 deep work strategies that can heighten your ability to focus and produce results.

1.     Plan for Distractions in your Schedule

Allow yourself fixed time periods to attend to social media, unimportant mails and calls. Keep a journal where a dedicated time of 30 minutes to an hour is scheduled for such activities.

2.    Deep Work Practice

Try to develop a rhythm in doing deep work. In due course less energy would be spent into getting into this phase of more focussed work- devoid of any distractions.

One needs to find out the peak performance time periods either during the day or in a week when one can go into deep work. Begin it by stretching it to 1 hour and let it expand to 3-4 hours of undisturbed work taking hourly breaks in between.

3. Daily Shutdown Practice

Shutdown the work at the same time daily and stick to this routine. Thereafter there shouldn’t be any temptation to check mails, prepare to-do lists, etc. Free time from work is required for the brain to recuperate. The motions of the day get settled and the mind is capable of being agile.

Other Tips
Using Productive Meditation as a tool during the times when we are engaged in mundane or in unproductive activities. Like while commuting, we could think over the points to be covered in the agenda of a meeting or solve a complex problem mentally. The long duration provides us opportunities to think deeply.

Carl uses different strokes for different folks when he suggests the four approaches to deep work depending upon the work personality type of an individual:

The monastic approach – disconnecting yourself from the world till the task is over.
The bimodal approach – setting aside 6 hours daily for deep work as it takes priority over anything else.
The rhythmic approach – fixing a certain block of time in your calendar dedicated to deep work into order to develop it as a habit.
The journalistic approach – any free time available is utilised towards deep work. This especially in the case of busy executives.

The key to incorporating any of the above is to be aware of your work habits; to spot the unproductive time periods to establish a pattern. Use the unproductive times for productive meditation. Find out a suitable approach to deep work depending upon your working style. These actionable points would certainly up your productivity.