How long can you maintain concentration on important work (with breaks + no distractions) before having to call it?
An area that I’m having fun defining, discovering and developing is the habit of ‘Deep Work’. My first deep work session typically kicks off at 4.30 am (during the week) for just shy of 60 minutes with water breaks every quarter. I’m six months in on that for this year and still having fun with it.
Irrespective of when you start, how can you develop this?
“…The key to developing a deep work habit is to move beyond good intentions and add routines and rituals to your working life designed to minimize the amount of your limited willpower necessary to transition into and maintain a state of unbroken concentration. If you suddenly decide, for example, in the middle of a distracted afternoon spent Web browsing, to switch your attention to a cognitively demanding task, you’ll draw heavily from your finite willpower to wrest your attention away from the online shininess. Such attempts will therefore frequently fail. On the other hand, if you deployed smart routines and rituals—perhaps a set time and quiet location used for your deep tasks each afternoon—you’d require much less willpower to start and keep going. In the long run, you’d therefore succeed with these deep efforts far more often.” (Newport).
It's got a point now where I rarely question or doubt what I’m going to be doing at 4.30 am because I’ve decided way in advance, know why and just got stronger at it through routine.
There is certainty.
“An often-overlooked observation about those who use their minds to create valuable things is that they’re rarely haphazard in their work habits.” (Cal Newport)
At the end of that deep work session I take a break and crush it in the gym.
Cos of this premise…
“Don’t take breaks from distraction. Instead take breaks from focus.” (Newport).
That’s just the way I like to rock n roll in the am.
Your version will look different because quite simply there is no ideal timetable.
Less haphazard, more focus…with certainty.
Train it up. It will be worth the results.