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Performing Focused Work in a Distracted World

Ramesh Dewangan

CEO at Quantum Vision Consulting

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Are you overwhelmed with things to do on your daily tasks?

Are you distracted easily?

Would you like some help managing priorities?

Is Time Management an issue for you?

Why Deep Work?

Deep work involves professional activities performed in a state of distraction-free concentration for extended periods.

The degree of concentration helps you push your cognitive capabilities to their limit. This enhances your productivity. The opposite of deep work is shallow work, the kind of task that requires little mental effort and can be done while doing other activities. These efforts tend not to create much new value.

When you are in a state of deep work, your output is unique and cannot be replicated by someone else. For example, if you can intensely concentrate and write useful code that is not easily replicable.

High-Quality Work Produced = (Time Spent) x (Intensity of Focus)

At our workplace, we like to read and respond quickly to emails. Being constantly connected at the workplace is not particularly helpful. I think this time spent checking emails is a waste of potential time that you can apply to more crucial tasks instead. Ultimately, a tendency to check our emails reduces our well-being and productivity. 

Cultivating deep focus on your work will prevent you from noticing the many smaller and less pleasant tasks that unavoidably populate your life. Embracing deep work in your career and directing it toward cultivating your skills will require effort. This effort can transform tasks at work from being a distracted, draining obligation into something satisfying.

Rules to implement Deep Work

1.    Rule#1: Integrate deep work into our schedule and support it with routines and rituals. Focusing on your work will never be without distractions. The urge to check important emails and notifications will interfere with your prioritized tasks. You must cultivate a deep work ritual. At the end of the workday, shut down your consideration of work issues until the following day. Downtime facilitates insights, and helps recharge the energy needed to work deeply. The work that evening downtime replaces usually does not matter much.

2.    Rule#2: Embrace Boredom: You should learn to live without distractions. Once you’re wired for distraction, you crave it. You need to rewire your brain to a configuration better suited to staying on task. Learn to concentrate. Identify a task that’s high on your priority list. Estimate how long you’d usually put aside for it. Then, give yourself a hard deadline that drastically reduces this time estimation. If possible, commit publicly to the deadline.

3.    Rule#3: Quit Social Media: The false sense of busyness that comes from quick email messaging and social media posing provides a sense of security for many. But the deep life requires you to leave most of that behind.

4.    Rule#4: Drain the Shallows: Shallow work, such as answering emails and attending meetings, are often inevitable but ultimately low-value activities. You must schedule time for deep work and spend as little time as possible on shallow work. Don’t let shallow work get in the way of deep work. Divide the hours of your workday into blocks and assign activities to the blocks. Quite often, your schedule will get interrupted, so make sure you revise your plan.

Summary

If you are like me, easily distracted and struggling to manage time, you need to bring order to your life. Deep Work is the ability to focus without distraction on a cognitively demanding task. Deep work will make you better at what you do. Deep work will also let you achieve more in less time. In addition, it will provide a sense of fulfillment that comes from the mastery of a skill.


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Ramesh Dewangan

CEO at Quantum Vision Consulting


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