Head down, jams up, focused energy, and a one-tracked mind with a single goal: Do. Work. This is deep work. When you’re immersed, laser focused, and everything else is tuned out you can start doing deep work. This isn’t just on the surface, with 20 other things going on, but way down the rabbit hole where it’s just you, working intensely on a project. Check it out.
“Tune out, plug in, and get to work.”
Deep Work and Flow States
We’ve talked about flow states before, but here we can separate this state from the work itself, one being the process, and the other being the product. Deep work is the extended period of time you spend on a project (the actual work), and a state of flow is the state you’re in when you allow yourself to focus on nothing but a single task (the mindset). The two are codependent on each other. Entering that state of flow is something that requires intense concentration, the kind of concentration that you have to give to those bigger projects. Flow helps you do deep work, and deep work helps you get into that incredibly productive headspace.
Where to find Deep Work and how to use it
A state of flow or being immersed in your work does not come from replying to emails. Surprise right? Often times to become engrossed with what you’re doing, you have to feel a sense of connection, of fulfillment and this comes from working on projects that you’re passionate about. So how do you get there? Put the trivial work aside, and focus on something that you enjoy. Then take on the brainstorm mentality of “there are no bad ideas” to get the creativity flowing. When you break down that barrier in your own head, you can enter a state of flow and focus on deep work. What if I tried moving this here, using this word, trying this snippet of code? Maybe it works, maybe it doesn’t, but in a state of deep work, you come to those decisions faster, and jump over those hurdles in half the time.
To-dos, tasks, and how they differ from Deep Work
Emails, revisions, and those other tasks that take just a few minutes to do; we all have them and we’re by no means saying you should shirk those duties. There is, however, a difference between those little tasks and the ones that you know will take longer. Obviously right? Wrong. Often times, many of us approach projects and work that we know we will need to focus on with the same approach as we do with those little to-do’s. We spend 15 minutes on one small task, then try to transition to a larger project for a few minutes until we get an email or think about something else that might be a little more time sensitive. There’s a minuscule amount of brainpower that it takes to switch in between tasks, but when you switch 20 or 30 times a day, that brain power adds up. Separate your tasks from your projects and dedicate time to allow yourself to enter that state and to dive deep into whatever it is that you’re working on.
Do all of those little things that you need to do, but also set aside some time for you to get lost in your work. Compiling all of your smaller tasks into a list is an easy way to make them feel like a larger undertaking, which could help you transition to that big assignment. Tune out, plug in, and get to work.