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Deep Work Explained: Uncovering the Secret to Achieving Peak Productivity

Deep Work Explained: Uncovering the Secret to Achieving Peak Productivity

Discover the concept of deep work, who the deep work author is, the benefits of deep work, and how to do deep work here.

It goes without saying that most people are distracted. It feels like we’re constantly wading across a river of seemingly endless ads, notifications, emails, videos, GIFs, memes, and articles just to be able to do what we need to do. But do you know just how much the noise of our lives has impacted us?

If you spend a lot of time on social media, know that it’s hurting your ability to focus. Our attention spans have been diminished due to the sheer amount of information overload social media allows. According to scientific research, it has shrunk to 8.25 seconds from 12 back in 2000. No wonder it’s getting harder and harder to concentrate during meetings, especially the ones that should’ve been emails.

That doesn’t erase the fact that being able to focus remains as important as ever. It’s so valuable that it’s now considered a superpower that can practically guarantee success in the workplace for those who can manage it.

You can accomplish the same feat through deep work, an increasingly rare skill that lets you achieve extraordinary results. Read on to learn all about it and start reaping the rewards.

Deep Work Meaning

While deep work itself might sound a little vague, the concept of deep work is pretty easy to understand. It’s basically a state of peak concentration. It can be achieved by avoiding or getting rid of anything and everything that can distract you from the task at hand. A fairly common example of this is when writers would retreat to some remote place, like a cabin in a forest, to work free from distractions.

Once you’ve achieved peak concentration, your brain will be able to work at its maximum potential. Not only will you be able to learn complicated things easily, but also create quality work in practically no time at all.

Who Is the Deep Work Author?

The term deep work was coined by Cal Newport, an Associate Professor of Computer Science at Georgetown University. He wrote a book about it, titled Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World, which was published in 2016. Such was the need to learn how to have such an ability that it became a bestseller. It was a Wall Street Journal Bestseller, an Amazon Best Business Book selection for January the same year it was published, and 800-CEO-READ’s Best Business Book of the Week. Some of the notable publications that have given it praise aside from The Wall Street Journal include The New York Times Book Review, The Economist, and The Guardian.

Cal went on to write more books, several of which have also become bestsellers that have been translated into more than 40 languages. Apart from being a New York Times bestselling author, Cal is also a contributing writer for The New Yorker and the host of Deep Questions, a podcast where he answers the questions of his listeners and shares case studies with them.

Benefits of Deep Work

Eliminate Distractions Easily

Avoiding distractions is easier said than done. For example, adults in the US check their phones more than 300 times a day. Doing so prevents us from getting anything done efficiently. Instead of focusing all our energy on getting work done, we waste time regaining momentum each time we switch between tasks. Learning how to do deep work greatly improves our ability to tune out distractions, enhancing the quality of our work while decreasing the time it takes to get it done.

Strengthen Your Brain

Every time we concentrate deeply, our brains cement learning pathways and strengthen the connections between neurons so they can fire faster. So whenever we focus on a specific skill, we’re literally rewiring our brains to be able to perform that skill as effectively as possible. That’s why deep work is one of the best ways to learn a new skill quickly.

Feel Great

When athletes perform at their best, they call it getting in the zone. It’s a positive mental state where they feel they’re on autopilot, but are still able to accomplish their goal. Deep work is pretty much the same thing.

How to Do Deep Work

You can only succeed at deep work if you do it according to a plan that fits your personal schedule and work preferences. In his book, Cal Newport outlines four “philosophies” or approaches you can follow to be able to schedule your deep work for the best results:

  1. Rhythmic Philosophy, where you schedule time for deep work then establish it as a “rhythm” or habit. You can, for instance, schedule yours between 8 and 10 a.m. every weekday.
  2. Journalistic Philosophy, or the approach that lets you fit deep work whenever you can in your schedule.
  3. Monastic Philosophy, in which you drastically reduce or completely get rid of “shallow work,” or work you can do even if you’re distracted, from your life. Say you’re an author. You can avoid doing any speaking engagements so you can focus on writing. The more time and energy you dedicate to your passion, the more productive you’ll be.
  4. Bimodal Philosophy, which involves setting aside long stretches of time (like a day or two) for deep work then dedicating the rest for everything else.

Ready to Do Deep Work?

We can’t stop distractions from finding their way into our lives, but we can learn how to deep work to easily avoid them and do our best work. Once you make it part of your life, not only will you be more productive. You’ll also be able to realize your full potential.

References

  1. Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport
  2. “What is deep work? 7 ways to boost your concentration” by Caeleigh MacNeil for Asana

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