Togetherness in the Garden – May Day 2023May 4, 2023
AYURVEDA TODAY: LIVING BETTER LONGERAugust 3, 2023
As automation and outsourcing reshape the workplace, the new skill we need to wring out every last drop from our valuable intellectual capacity is the ability to do deep work. Deeper work is essential for great work. As we bridge the gap between human beings and machines, if you are chasing productivity within mental pursuits, this is the time to go deeper.
Why some accomplish more in less time
We all dream of achieving more in this single life we have been blessed with. However, very few of us take the leap from being passengers to drivers of our ultimate destiny.
The key to achieving success and true meaning in your professional life, especially if you are stuck in the day-to-day grind of running on your hamster wheel, lies in your ability to master distractions. If you seek to increase both the quality and productivity of your life, engage fully in what you are doing.
In an age where ‘notifications’ of all kinds are drip-fed, intravenous, stimulating morsels, and contemporaneously they are death-by-a-thousand-cuts into the mental fortitude needed to perform deep work. They can be both the boundaries and your guide towards a new way of living your work. Without concentration, you are wasting your time.
Feeling unproductive with shallow work
Has technology conditioned you to be distracted in today’s ever-connected world?
You may have already come to the realisation that you are not achieving as much meaningful work as you would like to. Fractured attention and focus make life mentally exhausting. If your distracted work habits have become an issue, you need a new way to work and live.
So much of our brain power, and time, are spent in a sea of noise, battling distractions and interruptions, which could range from the incessant pinging of devices, the excruciatingly painful, familiar interruptions from social media, noisy open-plan offices, the constant exchange of messages, or the difficulty of deciding what deserves our attention the most. These things that we thought would connect us and increase productivity, are actually doing the opposite. It seems normal to spend the day doing shallow work, distractedly skimming the surface of our workload, and rarely getting around to the important things. It is not groundbreaking that constant interruptions are bad for work and productivity. Yet, distractions, too often are rewarded, because we seem adept in consuming more, however, we are not really taking anything in. We have all been duped into thinking that we are insignificant without social media. It’s robbing us of our time; time that we can never get back.
The methods and mindset that foster the practice of distraction-free productivity for deep work seem an elusive state. Yet, mastering this shift in work practices is crucial for anyone who intends to stay ahead in this complex information economy. If you want to learn how to work harder and for longer, and are seeking ways to spend your time at work or at home in a more balanced manner… this is great contemporary logic for old-fashioned hard work.
Activities performed in a distraction-free environment that pushes your cognitive capacities to their limit, will create new value, improve your skills, and are hard to replicate. While a distraction-free environment can result in fast, powerful learning and performance, monastic approaches to work, where a person retreats and locks themself away in a silent bat cave, to think in solitary confinement, is what most of the world disagrees with. It is actually used as a form of torture. Personal connections and relationships are extremely important to people, which is why so many people feel compelled to Facetime instead of writing their thesis.
In order to change your life, like changing anything, action is important.
– Clarify and commit and learn from eliminating distractions.
Making serious changes about eliminating distractions is all about work disciplines. Identify things in your life, things that you didn’t even realise were holding you back, to help you improve your concentration, such as the design and layout of your physical workspace. Set your phone onto ‘do not disturb’ mode and put it down. Turn off your TV. What are some valuable strategies for forging new habits for productivity and deep work for you?
– Be more conscientious with your use of scheduling, checklists, and memorisation, in order to help you master your time and resources better.
– Until you find a more extroverted approach to deep work, train your brain to like and appreciate solitude and hard work.
– To cultivate the kind of intense concentration needed for effective work in your current environment, work in a concentrated manner for specific, sectioned amounts of time, without succumbing to any distractions.
– Consider removing all of the alerts from all of your devices, so that you are less interrupted/distracted from the ever-intrusive ‘dings’ from unimportant smartphone notifications. Block out distractions to deep thinking, by resisting the corporate groupthink of constant connectivity.
– Focus is the key. Learn how to systematically train the mind to cultivate intense focus.
– Reduce the amount of free time that is spent procrastinating in between long projects, so that your work output is faster and of a higher quality overall, without sacrificing too much leisure time.
– Maximise your time, by being more efficient with shallow tasks.
Beyond Busy and Distractions
Put simply, developing and cultivating a deep work practice is one of the best decisions you could make in an increasingly distracted world. The everyday practice of mindfulness offers immediately actionable steps for infusing more mindfulness into your life.
About Mindfulness – an Essential Life Skill
Mindfulness provides a broader framework to sustain us through all the challenges of life, with a wide range of long-term benefits. These include:
- reduced stress and anxiety
- the ability to relax and greater emotional regulation
- improved relationships
- greater focus, concentration, and memory
- personal confidence, resilience, and performance
- improved immune function
- better quality of sleep and the ability to ‘switch off’
- a renewed sense of purpose and connection with life
Your essential guide to the practice is available as a course with downloadable MP3 files. The course is entitled: The Essential Guide to Mindfulness Meditation, and can be purchased from our website. Click here to purchase.