Episode 063 – How to Go Deep (and we’re not talking about submarines)

If you do what everyone else does, you’ll end up like…everyone else.  As Andy Andrews says, if you want to be different, you need to act different.  Be an Original.  What does it take to pull that off?  Deep work.  On today’s episode, I go deep on Cal Newport’s book called “Deep Work”, and share some observations of my own.

(c) AdobeStock Photo

(c) AdobeStock Photo

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On This Episode

Rhythm of Life – Clearing Stagnation
Random Riffs – Mud, Mud, Glorious Mud
Feature Segment – How to Go Deep

Rhythm of Life – Breaking Down Stagnation

I went to physical therapy the other day.  I’m still going from that car crash in December where I injured my neck and back.  I’m still experiencing stiffness in my neck and upper back, and the muscles are pulling on my diaphragm and lower front ribs.

It’s probably been like that for a long time, and was made worse by trauma.  The way I’ve been standing and sitting has pulled everything forward and down.

The therapist told me I have to ask my body to think differently.  Train it to work differently.  That made me realize just how important it is to change things up, and not just with exercise.

My acupuncturist calls it clearing out stagnation.  I’m looking at what other stagnation I can clear.  Not just physical.  It will be interesting to see what I come up with.

What comes to mind for you?  Explore.  Play.  See what happens.  You might feel a bit uncomfortable at first.  Relax.  It’ll get better.  It might even be fun.

Random Riffs – Mud, Mud, Glorious Mud

Ah.  April in CT.  What could be better?

Daffodils.  The grass starts growing.  Hyacinths and other bulbs.  Creeping phlox, in white, lavender, magenta.  A riot of color.  The hint of flowering trees.  And….the mud.

I hate mud.

What if I was a hippo?  I’d love mud.

I guess it’s all a matter of perspective.

Feature Segment – How to Go Deep

How much time do you spend working each week?  Has it increased in the last few years?  Do you feel as though you’re getting less done than you used to, even if you’re spending longer doing work?

As I look at it, I think the bigger reason is how we do work today.  I think we’ve lost the ability to do Deep Work.  As Cal Newport explains in his new book called Deep Work,  there are forces that have contributed to what may be a distraction epidemic.

In Episode 061, we said it is important to be an Original so you and/or your company can stand out.

In Episode 062, we explored the idea of flow.  And how you could practice flow away from work.

Now we get to work.  So much of how work is organized today lends itself to less focus.  More shallow work.

Add two other dynamics:

  1. Constant communication via email and online chat with expectation of instant response
  2. Proliferation of social media

Both of these have actually wired our brains to reduce our ability to focus and do deep work.  That results in shallow work.  That which is unoriginal.  Could be replaced by outsourcing, offshoring, or automation.

We need this type of work more than ever to solve complex problems.  Yet, right when we need it, we are least equipped to work this way.

The bottom line? – deep work gets valuable things done.

Three keys to performing deep work:

  1. Plan
  2. Train
  3. Commit

Question – what are you going to stop doing so you can train for and do deep work?  Think hard.  This is a big commitment, and others will try to lure you back in.

Commit doesn’t mean to use every ounce of willpower you have.  Your willpower is limited.  Instead, make it easier to do the right thing, and harder to do the thing you don’t want to do.

There are no instant results.  There are fulfilling results.

Ok, it’s time for self-reflection.

  1. What would you like to go deeper on?
  2. Are you willing to do the hard work to make it deeper?

Leave a comment below to make your commitment public.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.