Published on 25 Sept 2022 | 4 Minute Read
#51 - Keep the Deep Work Flow Flowing
To do our best work, we need to stay in a state of flow to perform deep work. So, here are 3 tips to avoid distraction and keep the deep work flow flowing.
Hey Friends 👋
It's often said that in a lot of industries, especially knowledge-driven ones, we need to be able to get into a state of flow and achieve "deep work". In other words, we need to get lost in our work so much that time disappears and the world around us melts away, leaving just us and the problem to be solved at hand.
So, for the last few weeks, I've tried to pay more attention to the times when I've been in a state of flow and then been pulled out of it for some reason. And, then after noticing some patterns, I decided to try some new routines and ideas over the last few days to hopefully eliminate as many flow disturbers as possible to keep the deep work flowing.
That's what I want to share with you in this week's edition, the three ideas I've been trialling so hopefully, they can help you too.
1: Disable all but the most essential notifications
Notifications are everywhere, every day our lives are filled with pings, dings, pop-ups, and the odd alarm. They all serve a purpose in some way, some more important than others but what they all share is that they disturb our flow and either stop us from entering a state of flow or they pull us out of one.
So, to combat this I went into my phone's settings and disabled all of the notifications that aren't essential. And, by essential I mean phone calls and text messages; everything else from social media to emails has been disabled.
At first, it was weird not getting constant pings but after a day or two it's been great and I've been able to crack on and get some good deep work sessions in. 🙌
2: Remove distractions and temptations from your surroundings
Sometimes, just disabling notifications isn't enough. On the days when willpower and motivation are running low and you can't stop yourself from checking infinity pools. Try hiding your distractions (e.g. a phone) away in a different room or out of sight in a draw.
It's amazing how when something is out of reach or out of eyeshot our attention is drawn to it a lot less and we're free to get on with what we need to do.
Now, I'll admit I need to up my usage of this trick and I'm actively trying to train myself to not have my phone attached to my hip all the time but the few times I have left my phone elsewhere it has been bliss.
3: Time blocks and fake deadlines
Finally, we have time blocking which recently seems to have been beaten to death as everyone and their dog seems to be doing it or recommending it but that is for good reason.
Time blocking provides us with dedicated time to focus on our tasks without needing to worry or think about what to work on, everything is already predetermined for us. Now, the proper way to time block is to split your entire day up into blocks (e.g. 30 minutes) and allocate tasks for each.
But, even if you don't commit fully to time blocking and just do it for individual tasks it can help you get in a flow state thanks to the fake deadlines it inherently uses. When the clock is ticking and we only have so much time to do something that needs to get done, it's impressive how quick we get in gear for it.
Take this newsletter edition, for example, in the past I would spend hours dwelling, planning, writing and editing it. But, today I've given myself exactly 30 minutes to write it and then another 30 minutes to edit it to make sure I get myself in gear and don't spend too long on it.
Hopefully, these three tips help you stay in the flow and achieve some deep work this coming week, I'd love to hear what you're up to so hit reply and let me know.
Thank you for reading as always.
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