Wanna be in the flow of ‘deep’ work? Some great insights

In the age of distraction, deep work is a moat. Some great perspective from Paras Chopra (with reference to Cal Newport’s book Deep Work).
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2/ Increasingly, the super-power is not access to information. It’s the ability to prioritize, focus, and internalize.

Yet modern work is all but conducive to focus. You have emails, meetings, slack and constant firefighting.

3/ Actually, the importance and the difficulty of deep work is correlated.

As leaders and founders, reasons to attend to urgent work daily are plenty. Work *always* finds you.

But the more important your work is, the more important finding the *right* kind of work becomes.

4/ As the founder and CEO of @wingify, I used to be drowned in work.

I’d start my work by opening my inbox and start replying to emails. Pretty soon, there’d be meetings to do and before you know it, the day would end.

And then chatter on Whatsapp starts.


How will you have breakthrough insights if your mind doesn’t have space to think?

How will you change the trajectory of your career and life if you’re always busy?

How will you get new ideas if you’re never reading?

6/ You need to do deep work in order to progress professionally and intellectually.

Yet, resolving to do deep work doesn’t cut it. Our work is full of distractions and just like weight loss affirmations, deep work affirmation also doesn’t last long.

8/ For deep work, here’s what I typically do:

– I start the day with a 20-30 minute silent meditation.

When you wake up, you may have work-related random thoughts in your head and if you start your work like that, you’ll attend to random thoughts (and not be intentional).

9/ I find that meditation lets my brain churn through random work thoughts and after the session, my mind is fresh and almost a blank slate, ready to *pick* work (rather than having work *pick* me).
10/ After meditation and before starting to work:

– I typically turn to a blank sheet in my notebook and start writing my todo under two columns: IMPORTANT and URGENT.

I write IMPORTANT column first as otherwise URGENT takes over your entire mental space.

11/ Then the work starts:

– My calendar is blocked until 5pm FOR MYSELF. I typically take no meeting before that.

No emails, no slack, no meetings. Just a pure block of time to do deep work.

This work typically comes from the IMPORTANT bucket.

12/ One easy way to get engulfed in work is when you open your inbox, see attention-seeking emails and get lost in answering them. (Sometimes you may even forget why you opened your inbox).
14/ As far as meetings go, I feel the best meetings are those where everyone comes prepared.

So, for the meetings where I’m leading, majority of pre-work happens through documents (where people comment and ask questions asynchronously).

Final meeting is simply to get commitment

16/ TLDR:

– Block time in your calendar for deep work where you do no meetings and don’t check emails
– Make todo daily and focus more on IMPORTANT more than URGENT
– Attending to your inbox makes you feel busy BUT you can do much more than that, can’t you?

17/ That’s it!

Hope you enjoyed going through the thread.

Happy to answer any other question on deep work or productivity.