Deep Work: Power of Directed Focus

The skill of focusing on a cognitively demanding task without distraction.
4 Min Read
Deep Work: Power of Directed Focus

What does your working day entail? Does it consist of pointless meetings, time spent bouncing between your inbox, and replying to group chat notifications while keeping a close eye on your social media newsfeed? All of these are markers of busyness, but they are in no way a sign that you’re being productive.

There’s a new buzzword in the business world and it’s “Deep Work”. In this article, we’re going to explain what it means and help you decide whether it’s worth the hype.

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What is Deep Work?

It is a concept popularized by Cal Newport, a renowned author and Georgetown computer science professor. He expanded on the concept in his 2016 bestselling book, Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World.

In the words of the master himself, it is:

“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”.

What does deep work mean?

Deep work is the skill of focusing on a cognitively demanding task without distraction. This skill allows you to quickly understand complicated information and help you be more productive and produce better results.

It is also the opposite of shallow work. These are low-value tasks that anyone can do and include tasks such as replying to emails, using social media, and scanning websites.

Deep Work Associated Jargon

There are several associated terms that it’s important to understand.
They include:

  • Cognitive fitness: This term relates to your ability to focus without distraction. Working in such a way means you’re making the most of your brain power. It’s also a crucial element.
  • Task residue: This term is used to describe switching from one task to another, but never completely focusing your attention on the new task. A residue of your attention is still focused on the previous task.
  • Depth philosophy: This is how you plan to achieve it. You might set aside regular periods in your daily routine. The plan could be to eliminate shallow work completely. You could dedicate whole weeks to deep working.

What’s The Deal All of a Sudden?

We live in a world that is full of unproductive and unrewarding distractions. Our obsession with shallow work means people spend large sections of their day in a state of distraction. When this happens, productivity is reduced.

Many consider it to be the only way to achieve productivity in the workplace. Learning how to practice it is a skill you can use to secure a competitive advantage. Those who can practice it outshine colleagues and produce work that is of the highest quality and quantity. Because people are more challenged, there is a deeper feeling of satisfaction. Shallow work, on the other hand, can be draining, unsatisfying, and stressful.

How do I do deep work? Achieve deep focus

There are several things you can do if you want to add them to your skill set.

  • Manage your attention: Learn how to set priorities and think deeply about any problems you have. Practice concentrating for long periods of time.
  • Focus: Think about whether the work you’re doing will make an impact. If it’s not, maybe there’s something more important you can accomplish.
  • Schedule your “workflows: Find time in your calendar to focus on new tasks and only do them at the scheduled time.
  • There’s no time like the present to start: It’s very easy for our brains to be drawn to distractions and instant gratification. Make a conscious effort today to ignore the thumbs-up on your Facebook feed or the little heart on your Instagram photos.

The important lessons to learn are that a little isolation can be very useful and healthy. Be honest with yourself about how you use your time and remember, time management is at the core of every successful business.

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