The Best Ways to Apply the "Deep Work" Rule for Focused Success in Distracted World
The digital world is overflowing with noise. Between emails, texts, and social media notifications, it’s nearly impossible to focus for extended periods of time.
In fact, according to a recent study by the University of New Hampshire, the average attention span has dropped from 12 seconds in 2000 to just 8 seconds in 2013. The "deep work" rule is a response to the growing digital noise.
The principle is simple: If you want to be productive and successful, you need to focus for extended periods of time without distraction. The best way to do this? Cut out as much distraction as possible and dedicate blocks of time exclusively to your most important tasks. The rest of this blog post will walk you through exactly how you can make that happen.
Define your most important tasks
The first step in implementing the "deep work" rule is to define your most important tasks. In order to do this, you’re going to need to figure out what your most important goals are. Then, you’ll want to create a task list that corresponds to those goals.
You might want to start by listing out all the tasks you currently do on a regular basis. It’s important that you’re honest with yourself during this process. You don’t want to include tasks that are unimportant. What are some examples of important tasks? Here are a few ideas: - Managing your email inbox - Your email inbox is probably one of the greatest time-sinks.
It’s important that you make a plan for managing email, so you can reduce the amount of time wasted with it. - Writing an important article - If you’re a blogger, you’ll want to schedule time for the writing process. It usually takes more time than people expect to generate quality content.
If you don’t have time to write, consider hiring a freelancer or outsourcing it to an assistant. - Focusing on important projects - If you have important projects in the works, you’ll want to make time for them. Make a list of all the projects you’re currently working on, then block out time for the most important ones.
Turn off everything
The next step in implementing the "deep work" rule is to turn off everything. You’ll want to create a distraction-free environment for the duration of your most important tasks. If you’re like most people, you enjoy the convenience of having a constant connection to the internet.
You might even use social media for your business. There’s nothing inherently wrong with this, but you need to be aware of the potential for distraction. You don’t want the temptation of constant connection to take over your life. If you enjoy using social media, you might consider using a program like Stay Focused.
It’s a browser extension that blocks websites for set periods of time. If you use your computer for work, you’ll want to set up a password to prevent yourself from unblocking the sites. You might also want to consider turning off your Wi-Fi connection. This will prevent you from being tempted by constant connection.
If you’re worried about missing an important message, you might want to consider using an online service like DigitalOcean’s SMS service. This will allow you to receive text messages on your computer.
Block your most important time
The next step in implementing the "deep work" rule is to block your most important time. If you have particularly important tasks on your to-do list, you might consider blocking out a chunk of time just for them.
The best way to go about this is to use a time-management system. There are a ton of different time-management systems available. If you want to get started right away, you can try one of the following: - Getting Things Done (GTD) - This is one of the most popular time-management systems in use today.
It was first introduced by David Allen in his book, Getting Things Done. - Pomodoro - This is a time-management system that revolves around the "Pomodoro Technique". The technique has a long history but is still widely used today. - Sustainable productivity - This is a productivity program based on the 80/20 rule. - Focus - This is another productivity program based on the Pomodoro Technique.
Track your progress
The final step in implementing the "deep work" rule is to track your progress. You’re going to want to keep a log of how much time you’re spending on your most important tasks. If you’re using a time-management system, you should be able to track your progress easily. You can use a spreadsheet or an app like Toggl to keep track of your time.
The best way to combat this growing distraction is to implement the "deep work" rule: dedicate blocks of time exclusively to your most important tasks without distraction.
© 2022 Patel Vatsal