January 5, 2022
 min read

Deep Work: The Holy Grail of Productivity

Newport describes deep work as “professional activities 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.” 

In other words, deep work is when you focus on a mentally-challenging task for a long period of time. A task is considered deep work when it creates value—either you learn or produce something new.

For example, right now, I’m engaged in deep work. I have my earplugs in. A timer is ticking. My notifications are turned off. I’m focused on writing clear sentences. I’m trying to make this article coherent. I want to create value. 

How to do Deep Work

Now that you know what deep work is, I want to give you a strategy for how to do it. The steps are easy to follow. I guarantee that if you apply them, you’ll be able to work for a long time. You’ll also be able to enter a flow state.

Here’s my process for doing deep work:

  1. I start at 5:30 a.m.
  2. I block off an hour to work.
  3. I set my phone on Do Not Disturb.
  4. I use earplugs. My favorite brand is “CVS Health Dual-Use Earplugs
  5. I know the exact project I’m working on (e.g., what course I’m watching, what article I’m writing, or what strategy I’m building).
  6. I set a timer using Forest.
  7. I work.

Like clockwork, every time I follow these steps, I make progress. I get into a rhythm. I learn, build, and flow.

My steps can be modified. I choose to work early because it’s quiet. I choose to use Forest because I like seeing my tree grow once the timer’s up. And I choose CVS Health Dual-Use Earplugs because they’re $4.99. You may prefer something different; that’s fine. 

Just consistently work without distractions for an hour or more per day. This simple strategy could change your life.

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