#54: Make Time for Deep Work
Life is hectic. We often spend our days ricocheting from meetings to phone calls to school pickups to grocery pickups to cleaning to bedtime, with nary a moment to think, or plan, or focus on anything for more than five minutes. Our electronics are never silent, beeping and booping and vibrating and notifying and generally stressing us the hell out. We live in a minute-to-minute world, where something new is posted every few seconds and we now have the attention span of goldfish. (That theory has been debunked, but I'm not above clickbait.)
This is bad, especially if you are working to create an Intentional Business. Flitting from one task to another does not allow you to focus on achieving your targets. It does not allow you to develop deep relationships with your people. It does not help you create a healthy culture. It keeps you locked in the world of the Urgent, not the Important.
But how do you fix this? How do you stop the cycle of five-minute tasks and dig into the meaningful work that is necessary to create the company (or life) you want?
Easy. Schedule it.
Seriously. Put time on your schedule every week for the Important things, and make that time inviolable. Turn off all your notifications, shut all unnecessary programs on your computer (or leave your computer altogether!) and work. Leave your office if you have to. But if you don't schedule it, it won't happen.
Here's how that looks for me. Every week, I block several times on my calendar. First, Tuesday and Thursday mornings are devoted to writing. From 7 a.m. to 8:30, I write. Second, every Sunday, I look two weeks ahead on my calendar and pick at least one half-day session for deep work, block it off, and keep anyone from booking over it. A good week will have at least two of those sessions, but sometimes it simply isn't possible, especially with running one business and starting another.
Then, when it is time for writing or deep work, I put my phone on Do Not Disturb, put my headphones in, close all applications on my computer that I don't need (or go sit in my dining room or on my patio with pen and paper) and just...work. It is amazing what I can get done in those blocks of time. I write five blogs every Tuesday, and at least 2,000 words for my book every Thursday, and in my other deep work blocks I've created all my company collateral, developed pricing plans, and done my own strategic plan. I'm wildly productive.
So, stop living five minutes at a time. Plan your deep work time and commit to it. You'll be amazed at how much better your work quality becomes.