Ever wished why you have enough time per day? There are so many tasks, and you’re left thinking about how to finish them. And finish them with utmost quality.
Well, Deep work might be for you. In his book “Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World,” Cal Newport differentiates work that makes a difference between those that don’t.
As an MIT graduate, Cal Newport has written numerous studies while conducting lectures by doing Deep Work. And unlike the regular person, he did this without burning out. Even Bill Gates utilized this technique.
And it’s all about prioritizing Deep work over Shallow work.
Shallow Work vs. Deep Work
So what’s Deep work? Deep work is characterized by focused work done that brings value, improves skills, and is hard to replicate by others. Examples are writing a book, brainstorming campaigns, etc.
And science shows that the more focused you are on a task, a tissue called Myelin develops and covers the neurons to increase the rate of electrical impulses. It allows you to have more brainpower.
In contrast, Shallow work is a task that can be done by most and doesn’t bring too much value. Examples are reading email, typing data, etc.
In order to succeed, you must create as many deep work cycles as possible while minimizing shallow work. On average, beginners can do around 1 hour of Deep work while veterans can have 4 hours in a day divided into 30 to 90-minute cycles.
No, you don’t eliminate shallow work to zero. After all, you still need to read the emails. You just prioritize the things that matter most.
And here’s how to create Deep work cycles for your remote working career.
Choose Your Deep Work Philosophy
For Deep work to happen, you need to be distraction-free to the point of isolation from external factors.
But not all work types are the same. Some people can be isolated 100% without human interaction. But imagine that when you work online. Imagine not replying for the whole day to your client’s questions. Not a good practice.
With that, there are different philosophies to use Deep work.
- Monastic = complete seclusion from any distraction.
- Bi-Modal = complete seclusion for a few days. Minimum of 1 day a week.
- Rhythmic = Daily pockets of time allotted for deep work. Ideally, around 3 to 4 hours a day.
- Journalistic = Use pockets of time to do Deep work when opportunities arise. Similar to journalists who are in deep work when they write whenever newsworthy happenings come about.
For remote working, most can’t really use monastic and Bi-modal because we need to be present in our work. Imagine telling your boss, “I need to be secluded for a month to harness deep work.” Unless you’re an author, you might not have a job when you go back to work.
As for Journalistic philosophy, it’s not advisable for beginners because of the lack of structure. But some can utilize it when you freelance along the way.
Rhythmic is the best for most as we can allot time blocks for Deep work. For example, you have an 8-hour workday. If you’re a morning person, schedule your Deep work during your peak hours. In this case, mornings. And do administrative work during your low times.
In this way, you can create the best work possible without neglecting your shallow tasks.
Make Deep Work a Habit
Our willpower is finite. Not a lot of people have control over it. That’s why breaking bad habits is difficult. To use Deep work best, you must make it a habit. You can use these strategies from Atomic habits to incorporate them into your life.
On top of that, it needs to be scheduled. And as much as possible, you set a location, duration, and metrics to the Deep work. For example, you will incur your Deep work cycle in your workstation for 30 minutes to create one 500-word article.
You can also use a Pomodoro timer to track it even further. With this, your Deep work habit-building will be smoother.
Though unproductive, we can’t keep our distractions for long. I mean, who doesn’t want to play a game. Or watch a Netflix series. Similar to Pomodoro, you can schedule your distractions in return and use them as a reward.
For example, for every 1 hour of Deep Work, you can enjoy 20 mins of gaming time. By playing on a rewards system, we can hack our brains to push through every Deep work session with immediate satisfaction from the reward.
Daily “Shutdown Complete” Ritual
More often than not, we can’t finish all the tasks we set in a day. So do you stop working? The answer is Yes. Unless the deadline is urgent, you should have a daily “shutdown complete” ritual to accommodate rest.
You need ample rest and downtime to sustain continuous Deep work sessions. Deep work is mentally tasking, and without rest, you are sure to burn out.
So with your daily “shutdown complete” ritual, you should have no work done (as much as possible). No remembering of conversations about work. It’s all your personal time.
So keep the time to recharge and forgive yourself for the tasks you didn’t accomplish. After all, there’s tomorrow to use Deep work for more productivity.
Are you excited to create the best remote working career? With the tips in Deep working, you can surely create valuable output for your clients. And increase your value as a remote worker in the process. Cheers!