The Deep Work Mentality

The Deep Work Mentality

Mastering hard things fast is the ultimate x-factor. It is what makes some people deliver a disproportionately large impact. This journey of a 1000 miles begins at deep focussed work and cultivating the right learning habits. I am on this journey, and I want you to start yours.

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Swanand Pagnis

January 20, 2019
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Transcript

  1. The Deep Work Mentality Experiments with knowledge work

  2. What, why? Rules, strategies Pitfalls

  3. What, why? A primer and a pitch

  4. We live in a knowledge economy

  5. Knowledge work is the most value producing kind of work

    in this era
  6. Knowledge work is the most rewarding kind of work in

    this era
  7. Being a highly skilled worker is one way of thriving,

    amongst many.
  8. Deep Work paves a path to becoming one.

  9. Start here:

  10. – Cal Newport, in Deep Work Professional activities performed in

    a state of distraction-free concentration that push your cognitive capabilities to their limit.
  11. – Cal Newport, in Deep Work. Emphasis mine. Professional activities

    performed in a state of distraction-free concentration that push your cognitive capabilities to their limit.
  12. Just focussed working is not enough

  13. Just distraction-free is not enough

  14. Challenging work in a deep focused mode over a long

    period of time is
  15. And the result?

  16. – Cal Newport, in Deep Work These efforts create new

    value, improve your skill, and are hard to replicate.
  17. – Cal Newport, in Deep Work. Emphasis mine. These efforts

    create new value, improve your skill, and are hard to replicate.
  18. That's your x-factor.

  19. Hypothesis • Over a longer period of doing deep work,

    you develop two abilities:
  20. 1. To quickly master hard things. 2. To produce at

    an elite level, in terms of both quality and speed.
  21. 1. To quickly master hard things. 2. To produce at

    an elite level, in terms of both quality and speed.
  22. To summarise

  23. Distraction-free work that pushes limits, creates new value, and improves

    skill.
  24. Process. Not result.

  25. Distraction-free work that pushes limits, creates new value, and improves

    skill.
  26. Rules, strategies The tenets of deep work, staying on course

  27. First, some meta talk.

  28. Disclaimer • This is an experience report • YMMV •

    No one true way
  29. Not just about: http://calnewport.com/ books/deep-work/

  30. Some more case studies* https:// www.mortenhansen.com/ book/great-at-work/ *Be very aware

    of selection bias
  31. A good complimentary strategy: https://mindsetonline.com/

  32. Practice. Learn from experience.

  33. Rules, strategies The tenets of deep work, staying on course

  34. Deep work Shallow work Draw clear boundaries

  35. Errno!::ETOOMANYMEETINGS

  36. Number of meetings is always more than needed $

  37. Have meeting free days.

  38. Have meeting free days weeks.

  39. Emails, Asana, Trello, Jira, PR reviews etc. The shallows!

  40. Have a fixed time-slot for them in the day towards

    the EOD.
  41. 100% pairing = 100% distraction

  42. Have pairing free days.

  43. Have pairing free weeks.

  44. On-call rotation, pager duty etc. is shallow by definition. ☎

  45. Avoid deep work during that period.

  46. When we know we won't be distracted, we focus better.

  47. Focus on focus Work deeply, plan for depth

  48. Uncertainty is a focus killer

  49. Plan your day well

  50. Plan your week well

  51. Invest in a productivity system like GTD® – David Allen's

    Getting Things Done®
  52. Leisure time is essential. Budget for it.

  53. Forgive yourself for wanting to have fun.

  54. Work environment is critical

  55. Noise is a distraction

  56. Viewport activity is a bigger distraction.

  57. Workplaces suffer from tap on the shoulder disease

  58. Open office plans are probably the costliest mistake since Null

  59. Learn from Barbeque Nation

  60. Flag is up !=> Bring food! Flag is down !=>

    Stop!
  61. Establish an etiquette, stick to it.

  62. Hunger is a distraction, manage it well

  63. Embrace boredom. – Cal Newport, in Deep Work

  64. This is a core Deep Work rule.

  65. Avoid jumping on to something else when waiting on things.

  66. e.g. Don't jump to Twitter when waiting for your app

    to load up
  67. Dial up the verbosity on logs, ssh sessions, bundle install,

    rspec etc
  68. Put your phone away, say in a different room, when

    working.
  69. Train yourself by not carrying the phone to the

  70. Embrace boredom.

  71. This habit requires a lot of training. Possibly the hardest

    to change.
  72. Why is it important?

  73. Hypothesis • It (the jumping around) trains your mind to

    be distracted, and prevents long hours of focus, eventually reducing your ability to focus.
  74. ?

  75. Stretch your limit Pick work at the edge your skillset

  76. Pick something you haven't done.

  77. If Ruby is all you do, go write Haskell.

  78. If you are a front-end developer, understand how minification really

    works.
  79. Write a compiler

  80. Design a new font

  81. Pick something outside your domain

  82. Pick something adjacent to your skills

  83. It has to be knowledge work or craft work.

  84. If work isn't offering you a stretch, pick a MOOC

    or a book
  85. Side projects are overrated, because they are "side" projects $

  86. If you want to work on something 'side', take a

    few days off and make it the main thing for those days.
  87. Invest in and get better at writing. ✍ ✨

  88. Nothing really brings out deep focus like writing. D

  89. Don't fight biology Be aware of your boundaries

  90. Sleep well.

  91. Gift yourself regular exercise GIJ

  92. Understand your biological cycle ⏰

  93. Discipline is important. It brings reliability. ✌

  94. Separate deep & shallow Focus on focus Stretch your limit

    Don't fight biology
  95. Pitfalls Traps, false positives, gotchas.

  96. Going too far down the rabbit hole Losing the big

    picture
  97. Abdicate responsibility in search of focus ?

  98. Ineffective collaboration

  99. Ineffective communication

  100. Becoming a JIRA ticket pusher

  101. Over-estimating your deep work ability There is a point of

    diminishing returns
  102. Missing out on leadership Deep work is a very individual

    effort
  103. Losing the big picture Losing out on collaborative aspects of

    work Trying out too much deep work Missing out on leadership
  104. Despair not, remember what we're working towards:

  105. To quickly master hard things To produce at an elite

    level, in terms of both quality and speed
  106. Thank you!

  107. Swanand Pagnis R Principal Engineer at First.io meetup.com/Bangalore-Ruby-Users-Group/ info.pagnis.in U

    postgres-workshop.com