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Monday, May 1, 2017

Making Time for Deep Work


“If you’re used to jockeying among multiple browser tabs and responding to notifications all the time, your brain will crave that extra stimulus when you are trying to settle down to work more deeply,” according to the author of the article, Natalie Houston. Yep, that’s me…checking my email while I’m waiting for the bus is a matter of course for me. I tell myself that I should do this so I am not overwhelmed with email when I finally get to my desk. 

Someone recently sent me a New York Times article: You’re Too Busy. You Need a Schultz Hour by David Leonhardt. When I read it, I knew I had to add a Schultz Hour to my calendar at least once a week. I have to remind myself I don’t need to say yes to everything! And then, cleaning up some papers on my desk (organized desk = organized mind, right?) I came across a recent article from the Chronicle of Higher Education: Making Time for Deep Work.  Here’s a sentence that jumped right out and hit me hard – “No one else will protect your time.” In a world of multimedia distractions (think about your cell phone for a minute – haven’t you checked it recently? Aren’t you getting lots of notifications?) including Facebook, Instagram, etc., etc., etc., aren’t you often pulled away from your work? Have you ever considered being just a little bit bored?


In his book, Cal Newport defines 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.”

So, here’s my challenge to you: can you follow a few rules for creating some deep work time? Here is what Houston suggests:

  • Look at your calendar to see how much time you actually have available.
  • Put your deep work commitment on your calendar (and be specific).
  • Protect these appointments with yourself.
  • Show up.
  • Repeat, repeat, repeat.

Ready to try this? Let us know how it works!

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