I have recently started reading the book: Deep Work by Cal Newport, about deep work, why it matters and how to achieve a state of concentration where deep work can flouris.
According to Cal, deep work is necessary to achieve great results, but what we typically focus on is the shallow aspects of work - like answering to emails.
I totally agree with Cal’s statement about the importance of deep work, and while I am reading this book (only 1/3 finished) it occured to me that flow is what is attained when going ‘deep’ with somehing.
As a developer, I know the benefits of reaching a state of flow and keeping this state for as long as possible. In today’s world however, it is extremely hard to reach but even more so keep a state of flow.
Primary reasons I have identified that needs to be solved are:
- The email inbox gets bombarded with requests, questions, etc. and people expect a quick answer.
- Whenever people do not give an answer, they try the phone.
- Whenever the phone keeps ringing, they come physically to the workplace.
- Multiple projects running in parallel fragments focus
- having one project provides the ability to focus 100% at the tasks necessary to finish the project.
- having multiple projects splits this focus, requiring effort not to change focus while working on a single project.
- The lack of priority introduces a state of ‘unease’ which makes it even more hard to achieve flow
- A project having high priority one day, but low priority the next day, makes it very unfulfilling to go ‘deep’ since one does not know when the priority changes.
- Worse still, after having experience suchs fluctuations in priority between many projects, one expects that the next project get low priority at a later point - thus eliminating the motivation to go deep and thus attain flow.
Solving the three problems I described above will certainly have a positive effect on attaining a state of flow through deep work.
My current strategy in these matters is to stop getting notifications for email, which disrupts my current state of flow.
Sadly, this strategy only partially solves the first bullet point - more ‘deep work’ is needed to uncover solutions for all bullets.