scuba-diver-going-deepThis is the ninth in a series of tips on how to handle crazy busy and not get caught up in the ‘fear’ of failing to handle it, and the resulting stress chemicals.

Ninth tip: When do you need to go deep?

Most of us spend our working life in a frantic blur of email, meetings and competing priorities; and then the day is over. These incessant and different activities don’t allow us to focus deeply without distraction on a cognitively demanding task. They keep us at the shallow end of our ability to think.

Idea 1.
Look at your to-do list. Which tasks on that list would benefit from deep and undistracted focus? And which ones can you handle easily with only a shallow focus?

Idea 2.
You have probably already noticed that there are certain times of the day when you can concentrate more easily. When are those times for you?

Now join these two ideas together…

What deep work do you have to do, and when is the best time of day for you to do it?

Schedule these deep tasks in your diary, and in addition, make sure you’re not distracted from going deep while you do them.

Cal Newport, in his book ‘Deep Work’, recommends 25-minute deep slots with a five-minute break where you move, walk, look at the sky (but don’t get distracted by shallow work).

Try it out, and when you truly do deep work, it is likely you will be able to master more complicated information and produce better results in less time.

My best wishes, Paul


By Paul Matthews – Speaker/Author/Expert on Informal Learning and Workforce Capability
Author of new book “Learning Transfer at Work: How to Ensure Training >> Performance
and bestsellers “Capability at Work: How to Solve the Performance Puzzle
and “Informal Learning at Work: How to Boost Performance in Tough Times
Connect with Paul on LinkedIn or see his website at paul-matthews.com