self help

4 Quick Tips To Get More Done (In Less Time) With Deep Work

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How many times do you check email throughout your work day? How about checking social media?

As a social girl with a lot of friends, I often end up on social media just answering questions that people have or liking a hundred cute baby pictures when I need a short break from work. It only takes a minute or two and it seems harmless, right? 

In Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World, Cal Newport discusses how my constant email-checking could be crushing my productivity. 

What is Deep Work? 

Deep work is the ability to spend hours at a time focusing on a difficult task. 

For example, if you're a writer, then your deep work would be writing. If you are an analyst, your deep work will be analyzing stuff.

It seems quite obvious what we need to do to make a difference in our careers (or side hustles) but we often interrupt our own workday with non-deep-work activities. Instead of blogging, us bloggers are scanning social media, click-bait websites and sending text messages to friends and family.

While it seems totally harmless, those activities can distract us from spending that focused time our brain needs to make progress on a difficult task.
 

Why Do We Need Deep Work? 

Cal Newport's book dives into the idea that if people focused on strengthening their ability to do deep work and focus less on these shallow activities, we'd all be able to get more done in less time and do our most important work better.

That sounds like a win-win for everyone, right?

 

How Can Deep Work Enhance Our Life?

If you set aside more focused time during your work day, you would able to get more done. As a writer, you would be able to write more books one presumes would directly lead to making more sales. If you work for someone else then you would be able to turn around your deliverables faster and also tackle more difficult tasks faster and with greater accuracy. 

How often do you take work home? When you focus on deep work, you increase your ability to get your work done during your work day.

Through out the book, Cal Newport discusses how he is able to publish more peer reviewed academic papers than other professors, and he really works after 5 p.M. The ability to do deep work can put you in a similar position where you no longer work those after hours shifts at night to catch up on work that you were not able to finish throughout the workday.

With those extra hours, you might actually be able to shut down your lap top when you get home (gasp!). You could spend that time having dinner with family, engaging in conversations with your close friends, or have extra time for self-care. 

 

How To Get More Deep Work In Your Day? 

Most of us have become incredibly attached to social media and our email boxes and our ability to do deep work and focus for long stretches of time has dwindled to next to nothing. With so many distractions are vying for your time it is difficult to sit down for 3 to 4 hours to focus on a demanding task so how do you get more of that deep work into your day? 

 

Disconnect your internet while you are doing deep work

Sometimes you can't get around this and you absolutely must log on to the internet to get information or follow up with someone. Try to shut down the internet as much as possible. If you know you have to do reasearch. Do your research first and then print out any articles that you need. That way you can start spending longer stretches of time without clicking social media or clicking your email. 

The ability to do deep work grows over time so the more you can train your brain to focus, the more successful you will become.

 

Time for attention restoration

While deep work sounds great, it's impossible to do deep work all the time. You have to take a mental break to restore your ability to do hard tasks. Rather than letting a distraction dictate when you take a break, schedule your break into your day. 

That way you get to decide the optimal time to take a break from your work.


Create a shutdown ritual for the end of the day

At the end of the day, write down all of the activities you need to do later on in the week. Then take your list and compare them with your calendar to see when you'll have time for each activity. Finally, plan out the activities that you want to do the next day. 

This practice will help you mentally close out "work mode" so you can enjoy the hours in the evening care-free knowing that you have all of your work-related responsibilities taken care of. 
 

Change the way you communicate

Have you ever gone back and forth for 6-10 emails trying to find a good time to meet with a friend or colleague? I definitely have.

When you send email, make sure you guide the recipient in what they should do next. That way, you don't get a ton of email flooding your email box with unnecessary emails. 

For example, instead of saying "let me know a time that works for you."

You could say, "I am available on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays at 2PM. Let me know which of these days works for you or send over alternative dates and times." If you're super tech savvy, you can even set up an online calendar where people can choose their own dates and no further communication is needed on your part at all.

Sending more focused email with better directions can help you decrease the amount of back and forth you need - and results in less clutter in your email box.

 

We lose a lot of time in our work day simply by switching from one task to the next. The constant social media and email checking can seem pretty harmless, but when you add that time together - and then compare it to the time you could've been doing more important work you have to ask yourself: "Is it worth it?" 

I'd definitely rather spend my time in deep work.

 

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About Chantl

Chantl founded Thrive Lounge to give women the kick in the pants they need (lovingly, of course) to uncomplicate their goals, stop making excuses, get productive and start living the life they always wanted. Her book, Goal Doing: Practical Advice For Goal Setting, Action Planning and Achieving Your Dreams, gives women a step-by-step guide to create, plan and achieve their grandest goals.

One Mistake Doesn't Define You... 4 Ways To Recover From A Bad Day

 
Recover From A Bad Day
 

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I was running up the escalator, heaving my two luggage bags and gasping for air as I struggled to lift them up each step. The entire time I was cursing my upper body strength, or lack thereof since I haven't actually attempted to lift anything slightly resembling a weight since 2013. Still, I was determined to keep going, no matter how much my arms (and now my legs) were growing weary.

I was officially late for my own event. #EpicFail

Once I got to the top, I realized that I wasn't 100% sure which direction to walk in... and I didn't have time to be unsure. My very sporadic memory was failing me, once again. (No surprise there, by the way.)

I started to ask myself... 

Why didn't you leave work earlier? (I scolded myself for being a good employee at my 9-to-5.)
You should've made the event later! (Darn my ability to plan happy hours at a reasonable time!)
Did you really need to spend so much time showering? (Yes, I was really angry at myself for seeking good hygiene... When I'm mad at myself, I'm not exactly logical.)

Everyone's had a day like this, right? 

You know, a day where you had something amazing planned - and something goes terribly wrong. Sometimes, like my situation, it could be something you've been planning for and promoting for weeks and you find yourself running late. You could have been preparing something at work for your team and you completely lose focus in the middle of your presentation. You could've been rehearsing your apology speech to your #MCM in the bathroom mirror for hours and completely forgot what you were going to say when you saw him. (That is a legit example... Your girl is obviously a serious romantic.)

How do you recover from a day from hell?

Pay attention to what went wrong. (Specifically what you did wrong.)

Things will go wrong, but taking time to understand what went wrong can be a huge key to understanding WHAT NOT TO DO in the future. You could even ask for feedback from other people that were present to get different perspectives. 

 

Create an action plan for next time. 

Nothing is worst than analyzing what went wrong and getting feedback from others than NOT TAKING THE ADVICE THAT WAS GIVEN. Why waste your time, right? Once you have an idea of where you could've done a better job, make a mental note. Better yet, make a physical note (like pen to paper or type it up in Evernote) for how you'll handle this situation when you encounter it in the future. 

Drink a glass of wine and watch Netflix.

This is by far my favorite tip to decompress and begin your recovery from a particularly bad day. Diving into a compelling story with twists and turns can be the best thing to take your mind off your personal problems and into a fantasy world. (Bonus points if you're watching a #Shondaland drama because they're the best to make you feel like your life isn't so bad.)

 

Treat the next day as a blank slate. 

Honestly, you can treat the next moment as a blank slate. As an over-achieving/borderline-Type-A (or actual Type A?) boss, it's pretty easy to scold yourself when you're not reaching your own bigger-than-life goals. The reality is... you are human and we all make mistakes.

I ended up getting to my event when it was just starting AND I couldn't figure out how to put the music on. I locked the front door and started to set up. I even enlisted some of the early arriving attendees to help out. Unprofessional? Probably. But once the place was set up, the event was successful and the reviews for the Mastermind were overwhelmingly positive.

The key thing to remember is, mistakes are inevitable and how you handle them is 100% up to you. What's your best tip for recovering from a bad day?

Ready To Accomplish Your Greatest Goals? 

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  2. Take a FREE personal development class on CreativeLive

  3. Design your dream life with purpose and intention with our Vision Board Creator Course.

Ready To Create Your Five Year Vision?

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This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure for more info.


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About Chantl

Chantl founded Thrive Lounge to give women the kick in the pants they need (lovingly, of course) to uncomplicate their goals, stop making excuses, get productive and start living the life they always wanted. Her book, Goal Doing: Practical Advice For Goal Setting, Action Planning and Achieving Your Dreams, gives women a step-by-step guide to create, plan and achieve their grandest goals.

5 Areas in Life To Set Goals

 
5 areas
 

Ready To Create Your Five Year Vision?

Fiveyearvision

Download this FREE Five-Year Vision Workbook to design your future with happiness, purpose and intention.

Enter your email to subscribe to the newsletter + grab the freebie!

We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time. Powered by ConvertKit

At this time in the year, I'm sure you're busy kicking butt at some of the goals that you set for yourself. I know we are. But, as we grow and develop our priorities may start to change as well. Maybe the plans that you had for last year are no longer applicable for your life at the moment. Or maybe, you had a drastic change in your life that is forcing you to reevaluate your goals such as pregnancy, death of a loved one, divorce, marriage, or engagement. 

You see, the only thing constant in life is change. The good news, however, is that you should give yourself permission to restructure goals as needed. That's why we always set goals in different areas of our lives; to ensure that we are living an intentional life. 

There are several areas that you can set goals in which include: personal, education, friends & family, health, career, spiritual and financial. Choose 5 that you want to focus on and set specific goals for each one.

Not sure where to start? check out our latest youtube series as we discuss some of our top 5. 

Ready To Accomplish Your Greatest Goals? 

  1. Cut soul-sucking activities from your life to create a purposeful future you LOVE in 10 days with the FREE Prioritize Me, Guilt-Free journal prompts.  

  2. Take a FREE personal development class on CreativeLive

  3. Design your dream life with purpose and intention with our Vision Board Creator Course.

Ready To Create Your Five Year Vision?

Fiveyearvision

Grab this simple workbook that walks you through my step-by-step self exploration process to create your miraculous five-year vision! Subscribe to our newsletter to grab the freebie!

We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time. Powered by ConvertKit


This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure for more info.


LitIGDC003-09849.jpg

About Chantl

Chantl founded Thrive Lounge to give women the kick in the pants they need (lovingly, of course) to uncomplicate their goals, stop making excuses, get productive and start living the life they always wanted. Her book, Goal Doing: Practical Advice For Goal Setting, Action Planning and Achieving Your Dreams, gives women a step-by-step guide to create, plan and achieve their grandest goals.