You have no time left in your life and feel busy? Maybe it's because of your time management. The harder you work and the more distractions you get rid of, the higher your productivity goes and the more things you get done. When you get a lot of things done, you suddenly have time for new tasks.
With the Deep Work Method, we show you how to get into a state of productive work and how to achieve your tasks and goals faster and better through intense work.
What is the Deep Work Method?
You may have suddenly heard about Deep Work more often lately. The term Deep Work and the method associated with it was coined by computer scientist Cal Newport in his book "Deep Work - Rules for focused success in a distracted world".
The term Deep Work describes a distraction-free state in which absolute concentration occurs. Absolute concentration can push the cognitive abilities of the brain to their performance limits.
The state of Deep Work is difficult to maintain and repeat in today's distracted world. The Deep Work method provides guidance on how to get into this state. The concept of Deep Work is contrasted with what is known as Shallow Work.
What is Shallow Work?
Shallow Work is the opposite of Deep Work. It involves tasks that can be done under distraction, do not require peak cognitive performance, and are often simple in nature. Checking emails, meetings, and "working" on social media platforms are all part of this. Of course, you can't completely avoid Shallow Work, but you should become aware of it and limit it as much as possible in terms of time.
What are the benefits of Deep Work?
If you are absolutely focused and distraction-free, you can double, quadruple or even increase your daily and weekly results. Not only will this translate into more success at work or in your own business, but you'll also feel happier and more fulfilled.
Deep Work can add value to all areas of your life, whether you are learning something, programming something, writing something, or playing a musical instrument. The Deep Work method allows you to create more of what makes the work really successful in the end and thus have more time for more projects or other things.
The following methods and tips should help you to reach the state of Deep Work:
1. plan your days in advance & define your tasks properly.
Every day you have to make countless decisions. Deciding what to do next contains the most risk of fraud. Is it really time for deep work or should it be time to check the emails again? To avoid this, plan your days and ideally your whole week in advance. This may seem very cumbersome and you won't be perfect at it at first. By planning your whole week in advance you force yourself to plan realistically and rationally. Thinking and defining what needs to be done helps to get into the state of Deep Work.
The main purpose of this planning is to take the guesswork out of deciding what to do next, thus increasing productivity and efficiency and removing distractions from your day.
Another benefit is defining tasks properly.
Approach it with the question: If I could only get this one task done today - would I be satisfied? If the one task manages to satisfy you, it is probably Deep Work. Tasks that satisfy you make you productive in your day.
Try to break your tasks down into smaller subtasks. These subtasks are more manageable and motivate you to get started. At the same time, divided tasks give you a solid structure to follow. Go through your week and ask yourself if you don't know how to proceed with a task. If that's the case: Take that task and break it down into smaller subtasks. The subtasks can be worked through in a concentrated way in Deep Work.
Regularly look back on your week and reflect on the week ahead.
Brainstorming can help to optimize your projects. Ideally, first consider whether it's possible to streamline away a task rather than automate or optimize it. This line of thinking comes from Timothy Ferriss in his book "The 4-Hour Week".
Reflect regularly on the current state of your projects. Ask yourself how well you got into the Deep Work state over the past few days and how productively you made progress on your projects. Look back and evaluate: What went well? What was underestimated or overestimated in terms of time allocation?
Plan free time into your schedule
As a beginner, there's no point in scheduling every minute. You'd be incredibly productive, but for most of us, that wouldn't be realistic at first.
Even professional users of the Deep Work method usually don't schedule more than 80% of their work week. This free time also allows you to react spontaneously and compensate for misplanning.
If you are just starting with the Deep Work method, the number of your faulty schedules will probably be even higher. Here it is worthwhile to plan more time.
2. renounce multitasking of any kind - Deep Work is not possible with it.
Multitasking is not possible with Deep Work. Conversely, multitasking prevents Deep Work, so you shouldn't try to do multiple things at the same time. Multitasking can quickly make tasks take twice as long.
In addition to multitasking, you should also refrain from quickly switching between tasks. Quickly checking social media or email takes a lot of cognitive effort. Switching from one task to another results in a loss of limited focus and mental power.
3. introduce valuable rituals to get into deep work
Every day we all have countless decisions to make. What am I going to wear today? What do I cook today? Do I need to take a shower today? Each of these decisions takes our focus and mental power, and each of these decisions is a potential risk of falling into Shallow Work.
It's helpful to go on autopilot with daily tasks. Morning rituals and routines can help you get your day off to a productive start. Have you tried Hug's exercises yet? You can find his morning exercises to wake up on our blog. Do you already keep a 5 minute journal?
All these things can help you make decisions. The time in the early morning should ideally be used for Deep Work. After getting up you are more focused than ever, so it would be a shame to waste this time with Shallow Work, like checking your emails or your smartphone.
4. plan breaks from Deep Work - but not spontaneously through distractions
Breaks are an integral part of any learning process. Learn to build deliberate breaks into your Deep Work. However, these breaks should not be created by distractions; instead, breaks should be deliberately planned. This way you can avoid switching to Shallow Work and multitasking.
The intense work should be the most important part of your activity and the breaks are planned around the outside. Don't let your breaks interfere with your intense work.
5. learn to be bored
In today's world, where we reach for our smartphones at the supermarket checkout and on the train to distract ourselves, boredom is a state that no longer exists.
In Deep Work, we want to feel exactly this calm and freedom from distraction. The necessary paradigm shift in life is called: boredom. Try not to reach for your smartphone at the supermarket checkout, try to look out of the window on the train. Get into the habit of taking these small steps to switch off and do nothing. No music, no book and certainly no smartphone.
Meditation and other exercises can help to train your focus even further.
Sports like slacklining can also improve your focus and attention.
6) Refrain from notifications that pull you out of deep work.
Ding - Trrrrr - Gong, there are many sounds that pull you out of Deep Work. Get into the habit of at least turning your smartphone and laptop to silent, disabling push notifications, and positioning your smartphone out of your direct reach when turned off.
When you look at your smartphone later after Deep Work - which you shouldn't do immediately after - you won't be bombarded by a barrage of notifications. Instead, you can go into the apps whose information you want and pull it up specifically. Targeting information rather than consuming it for entertainment is a decision that radically boosts productivity.
7. refrain from social media (during work)
Social media platforms have one goal - to maximize your time and attention on their platform to sell to advertisers. For aggregating attention, platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and TikTok spend billions.
Make your own attention decisions and consciously say "no." The algorithms are made to show you content that entertains you. Use the platforms at most for content creation, but avoid consumption.
Most people use a social media platform when they get some benefit from it or are afraid of missing out on something. Do better by approaching the platform specifically and asking yourself the question: Is this feature helping or hindering my long-term happiness and success? If something makes you consume and occupies your attention, then it is hindering (at work).
Find a closing routine to clearly stop working.
Work is important in life, but after Deep Work is done, it helps to switch off. Don't go straight to your smartphone after your Deep Work. Learn to welcome boredom and meet up with friends & business associates. Engage in sports and collect moments that you will remember for a lifetime. Ask yourself: Will this make me happy in the long run and bring me closer to my goals?
Sometimes it is difficult to switch off. That's when it helps to close all work-related devices and apps and put them on mute. Find a routine that clearly ends your work day and lets your brain know it can rest. Examples of this would be exercise or special leisure activities.
Deep Work - Work efficiently, focused and productively
Now you have reached the end of this article. We hope it has successfully shown you how you can implement the Deep Work method into your life to work efficiently, focused and productive.
Of course, you don't have to implement all the methods at once to become more successful. Feel free to go step by step and analyze how your productivity grows. The Deep Work Method will change your life if you commit to it.