Unlocking the secrets to success is a pursuit that has fuelled countless rumours and myths. One such whisper in the corridors of productivity suggests that dedicating a mere 4 hours a day to deep work can elevate you to the pinnacle of success, almost as if you’ll find yourself levitating above the challenges of life.
Curious about the potential transformation, I embarked on a personal experiment, immersing myself in a gravity-defying routine for the past three years. This routine has become my compass, guiding me into a hypnotic state of deep work. Intrigued? Allow me to share the journey and the discoveries made along the way, as we delve into the art of transcending the ordinary and embracing the extraordinary.
step 1 – Intention is Everything.
In the delicate embrace of the morning, our minds are inherently sensitive to the dance of neurotransmitters, with dopamine taking centre stage. It’s a pivotal moment, a juncture where the choices we make can set the tone for the entire day. In this symphony of awakening, the biggest mistake one can commit is the reflexive reach for the phone and kleenex, surrendering to the digital onslaught and the mundane rituals.
Instead, I advocate for a deliberate and mindful start—a gradual unfurling of the day’s potential. Let’s begin with a deliberate deceleration, a purposeful counteraction to the hustle that often dictates our waking moments.
Start slow. Picture this:
A morning walk
A rhythmic communion with the world awakening around you. The simple act of putting one foot in front of the other becomes a meditation, a precursor to the day’s journey.
Not the hurried beats of an alarm or the intrusive jingles of notifications, but a soothing melody that gently nudges your consciousness into a state of serene alertness.
Not just as a physical necessity but as a ritual of rejuvenation. Hydration, when approached with mindfulness, becomes a symbolic cleansing—a baptism into the new day.
Stand in the sun
Bask in the gentle warmth that heralds the sun’s ascent. Feel the subtle energy seeping into your being, awakening both body and mind.
This deliberate sequence is not a checklist but a deliberate choreography, a dance with the elements that primes you for the day ahead. It’s a conscious acknowledgment of the interconnectedness between your internal state and the external environment. By embracing this intentional and unhurried beginning, you lay the foundation for a day that unfolds with purpose and clarity, rather than being swept away by the chaotic currents of modern life. So, let the morning unfold gradually, let the rhythms of your actions resonate with the symphony of the waking world, and witness the transformative power of a slow, mindful start.
Step 2: Acquire Everything you need.
In the pursuit of optimal productivity, a golden rule echoes through the corridors of efficiency: don’t be dumb.
It’s a stark, yet pragmatic reminder that minimising distractions is a prerequisite for diving into the deep realms of focused work. From the very onset of your workday, establishing a fortress against interruptions becomes paramount—a strategic defense against the myriad temptations that threaten to derail your concentration.
Consider the following commandments for an interruption-free zone:
- Black MCT coffee ready: The elixir of focus, meticulously prepared to kickstart your cognitive engines. The ritual of preparing and sipping this black MCT coffee becomes a ceremonial prelude to the undisturbed work that awaits.
- Lo-fi music: Not just a background noise, but a carefully selected soundtrack that enhances concentration. The gentle hum of lo-fi music creates an auditory cocoon, shielding you from the cacophony of the outside world.
- Phone out of reach: A physical boundary between you and the potential disruptor. Your phone, often a gateway to a myriad of distractions, finds itself in a deliberate exile, ensuring it doesn’t sabotage your focus.
- Do not disturb: A digital fortress erected around your workspace. Notifications, messages, and alerts are barred from infiltrating your consciousness. It’s a commitment to uninterrupted immersion.
- Dark mode: A visual strategy to reduce eye strain and minimise visual distractions. Dark mode transforms your digital workspace into a calm, focused environment, allowing your eyes to navigate without being assaulted by unnecessary brightness.
- Time blocking: A tactical approach to structuring your day. Time blocking involves dedicating specific blocks of time to particular tasks, creating a predictable routine that minimizes decision fatigue and maximizes productivity.
- Grey scaling: An unconventional but effective technique to temper the allure of vibrant screens. By desaturating your display, you strip away the visual appeal of colorful distractions, leaving behind a muted canvas that encourages singular focus.
step 3: Fasting is Focus.
If you’re digesting a bacon sandwich then you’re not digesting the work.
This is called ‘peristalsis’ which is a process by which the body needs energy in order to digest the food sitting in your gut. It make not seem like a lot but this will have an effect on your ability to perform at your highest level.
You need 100% of your energy on the tasks at hand.
In a fasted state your body frees up energy for cognition and command higher focus.
step 4: Know what to do before you do it.
Let’s address a common pitfall in the realm of productivity—a misstep that often goes unnoticed but can significantly impact the effectiveness of your time management strategy.
The big mistake is this: blocking out a dedicated time slot for work and then squandering the initial precious minutes in a contemplative limbo, trying to decipher what task should seize your focus.
Here’s the reality check—doing something and figuring out what to do are two entirely distinct endeavours.
The former implies a proactive engagement with a predefined task, a seamless transition from thought to action. The latter, however, involves a contemplative dance where indecision and uncertainty take centre stage, consuming valuable moments that could be channeled into productive output.
In the world of productivity, ambiguity is the arch-nemesis of efficiency. Those crucial initial minutes of a dedicated work session should be a runway for takeoff, not a parking lot for indecision. It’s akin to strapping yourself into a rocket only to spend the countdown debating which celestial destination to pursue.
To sidestep this stumbling block, a cardinal rule emerges—know precisely what you’re going to do. The clarity of purpose becomes your guiding light, ensuring that when the clock starts ticking down, you’re already in motion. This doesn’t necessitate a rigid, minute-by-minute itinerary; rather, it’s about having a roadmap for your tasks, a mental checklist that streamlines the transition from planning to execution.
Final Step – Enjoy
Sounds dumb I know, but your approach is everything to keeping this behaviour going.
Instead of thinking:
“I have to do this.”
“I get to do this.”
This reframing will instil the artistic expressions of the deep work tasks.