How to Get Started with Deep Work

Is it the deep blue seas? Is it a deep-scan of an anti-virus software? Is it messing around in your garden? Is it an FBI agent going deep under cover? Or is it a deep data dig for some research?

Well for me… “deep” means digging deep into getting stuff DONE! “Deep work” the phrase coined by Cal Newport, from his book with the same title… and sub-heading of “Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World”…

 

I LOVE Deep Work! It enables me to get so much more done in less time, keep my focus for longer, and once I get into a routine, I can smash my 4 day week, to do list, actions for business, CPD learning and more! I love it!

 

I can’t believe I only found this way of working 10 years ago! Where was it the rest of my life?! When I have 3 jobs and was going to Uni as a non-academic… when I was running deadlines to broadcast live on air and getting pulled in so many directions every day… where was deep work then?! Nowhereeeeee to be seen!

I wish someone had told me about deep work 20/30 years ago! So, I feel it’s part of my service to other people on this planet to share it with others now… and not have someone saying “why didn’t you tell me this 10 years ago Liz?!”

 

So what is deep work then, Liz I hear you ask?

It’s actually pretty simple…

It’s as Cal would say…

 

“Professional activity performed in a state of distraction-free concentration that push your cognitive capabilities to their limit. These efforts create new value, improve your skill, and are hard to replicate.”

 

Doesn’t that sound amazing?! So how do we do this?

 

If you’re new to this concept I would recommend…

  1. Block out 1 hour per day in your schedule and label it “deep work”
  2. Ahead of that 1 hour block, decide what work you’re going to do, that’s meaningful, and that could really impact you and/or your business if you “just had the time”
  3. When the time slot comes around, switch off all your distractions – emails, phone, people etc. (whatever’s possible)
  4. Get your head down and START! (This can be the hardest bit sometimes, so just tell yourself, I’ll just do 10minutes to start with!... works most times for me!)
  5. Do as much as you can of that one piece of work with the time you have allocated
  6. When your time slot ends, spend 2 minutes reflecting on how it went, do you need to block out some more time again to work on that thing, and would you benefit from doing that again?
  7. Based on you answers to those reflections, book some more deep work time into your calendar and repeat… forever.

If you haven’t tried a “deep work” session before, have a go and let me know how you get on! Share in the comments when you’re going to try it if you want some accountability!

If you’re a regular user of this process, what’s your favourite thing about it?

And a shameless plug... if you want to join our 4 week productivity mastermind on the topic of Deep Work for the month of September, with lots of content, support and community too, email us now Productivity@DigiEnable.co.uk