In this post, I'm going to share how you can double or even triple your productivity. Also, share the technique I follow and discuss the concept of deep work.
Let's get some context.
A bit more context and background about a day in my life, I run multiple startups, mainly in the software and technology space. I also work as a part-time associate for a non-for-profit in Australia, and I have a young family with a 2-year-old daughter.
Benji v1.0 sucked at things.
With a lot happening in my startup, at work and at home, It was very hard, and I often struggled to be productive at work. I was constantly battling different issues, balancing and juggling things; though I worked long hours, I didn't produce quality work and frequently felt overwhelmed and disappointed. I felt like there were so many things left, and I was sad that I didn't achieve my tasks for the day.
I have tried different methods from to-do lists, bullet journals, task managers and a bunch of other techniques to getter better. Most didn't work.
I was pretty much burning out with less sleep, unhealthy eating habits, and no exercise. Thanks to my network of founders, mentors and books. I realised that my biggest asset and most expensive resource is TIME.
I need to be better at managing my time and being smart in executing my task within the limited time.
Over the last year, I have been making some changes to my daily life in how I work. I now have the answer - DEEP WORK.
What is Deep Work - undistracted work for a period of time that allows you to completely focus and helps you produce high-quality work
My Deep Work Schedule
My day starts at 4:30 a.m, and when I wake up, I spend the first 30 minutes just observing the day and looking at the key tasks or objectives that I want to achieve that day. It is not about the number of tasks; instead, it is the quality of that task.
Will this task help move one step forward in my startup?
Will this task enable me to closer to meet our North Star goals?
As a startup founder, there are at least 200 different things that you can do, right from marketing, product development, finance, customer service to networking and the whole gambit of startup things.
Here is how my day looks like as I start my first piece of work at 5 am. I have blocked my calendar from 5 to 9 am intending to have at least 3 hours worth of deep work. Before I start the work, I spend the first 30 minutes deciding what four activities I want to complete in the next 3 hours.
30 minutes of Deep work
I do 6 slots of 30 minutes of deep work.
- #1 Slot - 5:00 - 5:30
- Break (10 mins)
- #2 slot - 5:40 - 6:10
- Break (5 mins)
- #3 slot - 6:15 - 6:45
- Break (15 mins)
- #4 slot - 7:00 - 7:30
- #5 slot - 7:30 - 8:00
- Break (15 mins)
- #6 slot - 8:15 - 8:45
Each 30-minute block of work
that I can do, or in other words, I would spend undistracted time for one activity for 30 minutes. Before I start this activity, I know what I want to achieve in the next 30 minutes. It is not about completing the entire task; it could be just a portion or unit of the whole task.
For example - When I am building a pitch deck for a potential investor, which would take more than 30 minutes of work, I break down the tasks (to fit my 30 min time block) by splitting them into individual number of slides.
Break and celebration are equally important.
Once you finish a 30 min block, it's time for celebration. This is equally important and plays a crucial role in building the habit of deep work. Each break time allows you to celebrate what you've done and also allows you to relax and be prepared for the next 30 minutes of undistracted work.
What is undistracted work?
I have been mentioning undistracted work a couple of times in this post.
Undistracted work in my opinion is devoting your complete focus on one task for 30 minutes. I would keep my phone aside, switch off notifications, close all broswer tabs and windows and remove any distractive lighting, music and items on my work desk.
You will enter a FLOW state when performing undistracted work, and I guarantee that your productivity will skyrocket. You would feel the state of nirvana where things are getting done quickly with more quality, creativity and strategy.
Welcome to brain gym 🧘♂️
Deep work is a bit hard, and it's like training your brain.
The first 2 to 3 months was harder for me to just pay attention and focus on one task for even 30 minutes. Most times, I could only go up to 10-15 minutes and it was self-embarrassing and disappointing that I wasn't even able to focus on one task for more than 15 minutes
It is like going to the gym. It's all about the Reps that make you stronger.
If 30 minutes time block is not your sweet spot, you could choose 25 or 20 minutes.
My recommendation would be 25 minutes as a good starting point spot and remember that you got to reward yourself when you finish. Like grabbing a cup of tea or coffee. I often listen to a song during the break and simply do some stretches.
Win the rest of the day 🤩
Now that I have accomplished and completed work. I continue my day with joy and carry on with meetings, team huddles, networking events, email, social media, family, friends and everything else.
Here is my challenge to you 👊
For the next 14 days - Let's call this the deep work sprint.
I want you to schedule close to 3 hours of deep work and split it to at least four blocks of 30 minutes or whatever suits you.
I urge you to diligently and with discipline every day (it doesn't matter if it is a weekend or holiday) for the next 14 days to devote yourself to deep work entirely.
At the end of the 14 days, trust me, you will be amazed by the amount of work you have achieved and the quality of the work produced. You will also be surprised by the creativeness and strategy you can bring to your startup.
This is a game-changer and I discovered that a new version Benji v2.0 - the most productive version of myself. I started loving this new version and I am trying to get even better.
Please try this challenge and share your experience in the comments below or come and join us on the First Time Founders Private Group and you can also share your experience there.
Tools that will help you
Books you can read
- Deep Work from Carl Newport
- Get things done from David Allen
- The 4-hour workweek from Tim Ferris
- Indistractable from Nir Eyal
Some smart tools
- iPhone Downtime setting - iOS users only
- https://www.rescuetime.com/ - paid subscription
- https://blocksite.co/ - Try this chrome extension
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