I have just finished “Deep Work” from Cal Newport. For a long time I have believed that multitasking is the best thing to be productive but with the years passing by I realised that like a computer, context switching is very expensive on me. You can’t really concentrate in some demanding thing and then try to be on top of small things and interrupted by everybody. I am happy that I am not use social media but still at work I am easily distracted by people demands, emails, etc.
And I am pretty sure that It is not just me. Most people suffer this. And to be honest, I want to improve, I want to make a more meaningful job with my time. And life (like Winifred Gallagher) Cal’s examples (himself and others) are really good. I liked quite a lot the one regarding Daniel Kilov and how to memorize a deck of cards. I think this is a good exercise to execute deep concentration in small chunks of time, that is actually the most probably outcome in (most people) normal day.
You can do it. But you need to work hard for it. The society, working environment and yourself are not going to make it easy.
I think with the lockdown period, it is a good moment to put these techniques in practice.
I need to pay less attention to the emails and slack. I dont have to be the quickest answering something… (that is so good for your ego….) I need to really prioritize my working hours and tasks to focus on with a time frame. I need to make myself accountable, stop blaming somebody else. And communicate, make my peers that I will focus in things I will not answer immediately (if you are my CTO, maybe not 🙂 And as a manager, make my team members better: make them to take more ownership so they can deal with problems by themselves. And schedule times of the day to check emails and/or attend meetings.
One thing I have done, it is to put a pink sticker close to my screen saying “ONE THING AT EACH TIME”. I did this before reading the book as a reminder from a speech at work of a brilliant guy in his last day. And he said he learned that sentence from our CTO. That got burned in my mind. I have used it mainly from troubleshooting. It has been a critical tool that I have applied successfully many times since then. But I can be applied to more things as “Deep Work”
All very nice words. Let’s make it happen.