Cal Newport does a wonderful job of explaining how you can do more work in less time if you train yourself to simply focus on the task at hand, literally.
“Decades of work from multiple different subfields within psychology all point toward the conclusion that regularly resting your brain improves the quality of your deep work. When you work, work hard. When you’re done, be done. Your average e-mail response time might suffer some, but you’ll more than make up for this with the sheer volume of truly important work produced during the day by your refreshed ability to dive deeper than your exhausted peers.”
Ultimately Deep Work lends to a few key takeaways for me:
- Make sure to allocate regular blocks of time that are at least an hour at a time to focus on a specific task or project. The larger the block of time the less frequently you need to make it effective. For example, one hour should generally be a daily ritual where 8 hours could instead be weekly, or maybe biweekly.
- When you are done working, be done. Do not “take work home with you” and be the workaholic who checks and answers emails in the evening for karma.
- It turns out I’m not crazy, and going for a walk in nature (note, city walking is still greater than nothing, but a nature walk is the real juice) actually results in increasing your ability to work.
- Busyness as Proxy for Productivity – to fill a lack of meaningful work, people will fill their time to appear or feel busy with otherwise meaningless work.