Of all the work that we do, we’re most excited about Deep Work, which is solely for ourselves. A concept coined by Cal Newport, Deep Work is the unique ability to focus without distraction. Deep Work requires true thoughtfulness in order to yield an understanding or uncovering of a realization that could not be achieved without explicit attention.
Knowing ourselves better, discovering potential, and even recognizing faults come through with Deep Work. But these learnings are often not explored because, as Cal explains, “every time you give in to the buzzing notifications of our phone or computer, you pay a price: little by little, you lose your ability to focus” and miss an opportunity to grow.
It does seem as though notifications never stop. News, social updates, emails, text messages… it’s no wonder we feel completely connected and somehow equally isolated at the same time. We’re flooded and we’re worse off because of it.
Some of Cal’s recommends to carrying out Deep Work include understanding how you work, planning your time, outlining what you want to achieve, and establishing rituals to help you succeed. Of all suggestions, we most appreciate Cal’s advice to become unavailable:
“All communication outside your deep working space can wait until you’re done. You need to be ruthless to make sure all your attention is focused on your set task. Mute your office communication tools, log out of email, delete your social apps and turn off your phone, if you can face it. Auto-enable “Do Not Disturb” mode across your devices whenever you enter deep work.”
For this week’s Seven Minutes, decide on a time of day you will consciously make yourself unavailable. It may be during your morning coffee, during a much-needed mid-afternoon break, or 30 minutes before bed. Commit to being unavailable so you can focus on an aspect of your life, work or learning that deserves your undivided attention. Read a few chapters of a book, write in your journal, go for a walk or take a bath, leaving notification-sounding devices far away.
How will you know if you’ve successfully done Deep Work? You’ll walk away with a thought, realization or truth about yourself that might not ever have considered if not for the uninterrupted time.
Deep Work is a rewarding activity that inspired Seven Minutes this week, but it's a practice we are committed to revisiting during many more weeks to come.