5 tips for activating deep work mode for focused work

Do you know this concept? We explain what it is and provide suggestions on how to work at maximum concentration

Amid so many distractions, many people have difficulty concentrating on work — especially when it is done in front of a computer. To help people perform at their best, North American Cal Newport created the concept of deep work, which can be translated as “focused work” in Portuguese.

Newport is a writer, professor of computer science at Georgetown University (United States) and author of bestseller “Focused Work: How to Succeed in a Distracted World” (Alta Books). In the book, he defines deep work such as professional activities carried out in a state of concentration free from distractions that make the brain work to its full potential.

According to the author, the effort not to give in to the temptation of distraction and to concentrate as much as possible on tasks that demand attention creates new values and improves skills in the corporate environment. And he says that thanks to this method he was able to write his book, produce scientific articles, carry out household chores and even teach at university. 

The idea he defends is that working in a focused way for a long period (somewhere between 1 and 4 hours) would lead to a kind of upgrade in our brain, paving the way for creativity, learning new and difficult things and for more efficiency and speed in work activities. 

How to activate the mode deep work?

It's definitely not easy, after all we are fighting against human nature of preferring pleasure and saving energy, points out the author. Precisely for this reason it is necessary to cultivate discipline. 

Before talking about deep work, it is necessary to understand its opposite, the shallow work (or superficial work), which are tasks that do not require focus. They are important, like attending a meeting or responding to emails; the point is that they shouldn't dominate all the time available for work. 

So, to activate the mode deep work You need to get used to verbs such as: balance (time), prioritize (deliveries), plan (routine), combine (with the team) and eliminate (distractions).

A Asana, a work management platform, listed some tips for practicing work deep work:

Choose your approach

According to Newport, there are four philosophies of deep work, and each person must choose the most appropriate one:

Deep work rhythmic: every day, at the same time(s), block your schedule to have period(s) of total concentration and zero distractions. 

Deep work “journalist”: fit focused work into your schedule whenever possible, such as in between meetings — an approach best suited for those already “initiated”.

Deep work monk: in this approach, superficial work has no place. You need to isolate yourself (like a monk) to dedicate yourself exclusively to work.

Deep work bimodal: instead of zeroing in on superficial work, concentrate it on one or two days of the week and dedicate the rest to deep work. 

Create a ritual to educate your brain

To practice the deep work, create rituals that tell your brain that it’s time to focus 100% on work. The ritual of leaving the table clean, without leaves or other objects, is enough to teach the brain that this is time to focus. The ritual must answer four questions: where the focused work will be done, for how long, what the goals are and how it will be possible to dedicate yourself exclusively to the task without interruptions.

Prioritize what is most important

To organize work, it is essential to choose priorities. This means that one task will be considered more important than the others, which will therefore be ignored for the duration of the journey of total concentration.

Minimize distractions

Here is the big villain of deep work: the many digital and “real” distractions (especially for those who continue to work from home). Turning off notifications that pop up on your cell phone is a good first step. But beyond that, you need to put together a strategy so that the default is deep work, not distraction. One tip is to take your moments to pause to answer messages and check the news of the day.

Rest is necessary

To focus, you need to be sleepy and rest up to date. If your muscles need rest, the same goes for your brain. Newport says that, in his routine, the end of the day has a specific time: 5:30 pm. After that, no more work until the next day. 
He suggests a kind of disconnection process in which you should take a general look at the day and make a small report of what was completed and what is pending so that these thoughts do not get in the way of the day. sweet far niente of the weekend or the well-deserved rest of every day.

Was this content useful to you?

Related posts