How to put Cal Newport’s deep work concept to practice? These 3 tips helped me over the last years.
In his 2016 book, Cal Newport coined the term Deep Work, which essentially means working on a single task for prolonged periods without getting distracted.
A concept that back then could have been blamed as productivity geekery is nowadays more relevant than ever and on everybody’s lips.
Especially remote workers often face an environment of constant communication in which it becomes hard to escape Zoom and Slack. Finding time for value-producing work is almost impossible.
Enter deep work. If done right, it enables us to get meaningful work done while simultaneously navigating the jungle of messaging and calls.
Over the years, I tried to embrace the concept as much as possible in my own schedule (meaning as much as you actually put these self-help-book advices to practice).
This article outlines three tips for planning and executing deep work sessions more effectively and rewardingly. These were the things that helped me repeatedly go deeper. Hence, I hope it helps you too!
Note: As a developer, I am very fortunate to work on my own schedule. If you work in a corporate setting, it can be harder. Ideally, schedule meetings with yourself so that colleagues know you are busy during those periods.
1. Setting The Frame
Deep work, and work in general, becomes more effective and rewarding if you set yourself well-defined artifacts to work on. While a task like “designing my portfolio” can feel like a never-ending undertaking, “finish design for blog post page” is much more specific and achievable.
Defining a realistically chosen outcome of the session upfront will help you stay focused on that very task since you clearly defined something tangible to work on.
Additionally, it helps you get creative to reach your goal before the deep work session ends. I found that a bit of time pressure can be helpful to skip unnecessary revisions (especially if you tend to be a perfectionist like me).
Next to the defined outcome, a time boundary is necessary since doing challenging work…