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March 12, 2021 Friday 01:24:06 PM IST

Involve in Deep Work

Leadership Instincts

Distraction has become synonymous with modern world: overflowing emails inboxes, the siren call of enticements like Facebook, Twitter, video games, or that net series in Amazon Prime or Netflix we’ve been binge watching. Some of these distractions may be beneficial for organizations while others are just seductive. Then there’s emotional chaos, the single most powerful distraction of the lot. For a leader, focus is critical for success. A leader’s control of focus is of paramount importance individually, for the team, and for the whole organization.

Cal Newport, author of the international best seller, Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World, introduces a unique concept to survive in this distracted world. By applying this concept, he vouch that business leaders can stay focused in a highly distracting workplace environment, remote workers can stay focused without having a traditional office and says why distractions are never good for your productivity. The concept is called Deep Work.

Deep and Shallow Work

In the book, Newport enlightens us about the two types of work. Shallow work consists of minor duties performed in a state of distraction and deep work consists of professional activities performed in a state of distraction-free concentration that stretches your intellectual competencies to their limit. These labours create new value, enhance your skill, and will be really tough to replicate.”

Majority of individuals spend lion’s share of their days doing shallow work, and it’s often these low-value tasks that keep your focus away from the crucial, higher-value work. For instance, have you ever been trying to concentrate on a large project and been preoccupied by aninsignificant email that you felt you needed to respond to straightaway?There’s animportant reason why we’re more carriedaway be these types of tasks: they’re quick and easy and give us instant gratification. In the long run, however, they’re holding us back from bigger career and organizational goals.

So, what can you do about it?

Deep Work Strategy

While you may be persuaded of the importance of deep work, you may still doubt about how to integrate it in your day to day work life. Newport shares four unique types of deep work scheduling you can pick from. All four of these philosophies have their advantages and disadvantages that should be carefully considered:

·The Monastic Philosophy of Deep Work Scheduling is the most devoted form of deep work and encompasses spending all of your working hours on a singular high-level focus. While this philosophy can be phenomenally rewarding and demands minimal context switching, it’s impractical for majority of individuals who are required to perform numerous kinds of work in their role. It also curbs the potential for new prospects as your default response to commitments that arise is, “no”.

·       The Bimodal Philosophy of Deep Work Scheduling facilitates high amount of deep work while equipping people to continue other activities in your life that you find important. Effectively embracing this philosophy involves the elasticity to organise your year, months, or weeks as you see fit into larger chunks of deep work.

·        The Rhythmic Philosophy of Deep Work Scheduling is perfect for people with a fairly fixed schedule. If you can forecast what most of your days will look like, it’s possible to keep aside several hours every day for deep work, thereby maintaining daily ‘rhythm’, and leaving the remaining time for shallow work.

·       The Journalistic Philosophy of Deep Work Scheduling is a choice for individuals who are continuously on the move with little to no consistency to their days. This method requires watchfulness with your time and the keen capacity to notice natural ebbs and flows in your day where you may be able to fit an hour or two of deep work. Regrettably, this method is not for novices and is likely to fail for individuals who are not proficient in deep work.

Adopt the deep work philosophy that matches your work and life. Also, always try out before you adopt a method that finally takes hold in your schedule.

 Deep Work Routine

Focusing on intention with your time and identifying when you’ll fit in periods of focus plays a crucial role in succeeding with a deep work habit.Keep the following things in mind when creating a deep work ritual:

·         Location-- Identify a place that’s distraction free and ideal for long hours of focus. If you cannot find out such a location, choose for noise cutting headphones that will shut out the world while you work and notify your brain that it’s time to focus. Try to be stable with your surroundings since familiarity facilitates to get into deep work mode more quickly.

·         Duration -- Before you initiate a deep work session, find out specifically how much time you’ll dedicate to the task ahead. It’s better to start small, with as little as 15 minutes, and work your way up to longer sessions. Your capability to concentrate will enhance as you flex your deep work muscle.

·         Structure --Decide a structure for yourself and have clarity on what deep work mode looks like. For example, do your prefer to keep your phone be off or on? Do you prefer to check the internet? Are you permitted to the kitchen to get a snack? Make your rulesobvious and follow them for the duration of your deep work session.

·         Requirements --After a few sessions of concentrated work, you’ll learn what support system you need to facilitate your commitment to deep work. This consists of a particular type of music, your preferred beverage, or access to specific software. Always make sure that you have everything you need before diving in.

Artificial intelligence, machine learning, and robots are excelling in shallow work. Individuals who will outshine, lead and be more competitive will be the ones who can do the deep work and raise their value by enhancing their skills and inventingnovel ideas.


Dr. Manu Melwin Joy

The writer is an Assistant Professor at School of Management Studies, CUSAT

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