Close your eyes and think about the last time when you felt true joy and satisfaction at work. What happened ? What were you working on ? It’s very likely that you launched a new product or completed an important project or were recognized for a meaningful contribution made to the business.
How did this happen ? It’s because you chose to put your focus on this vitally important project, you constantly brought your best focus and energy to it and you did not allow the everyday busyness of work to prevent you from letting this most important task get accomplished.
Yet this is not a common feeling for most people. Most weeks or months when you look back it’s hard to pinpoint at such moments of deep joy and satisfaction. The reason – no matter what task we get started at we end up being interrupted by meetings and calls and other interruptions in life. Each such interruption stops the flow that we have towards this vitally important task that we want to accomplish.
So how can we become uninterruptable ?
- Choose the big important tasks that matter the most to you – Spend 30 minutes to write down the things that you want to accomplish this year or in the next few years. Ideally 2-5 goals should be sufficient. Imagine in your mind that you have accomplished them. How do you feel ? if you feel a deep sense of joy and happiness then you have chosen the right goals.
- Block “Deep Work” Time on your calender – Choose a time slot on your work days when you will commit to interruption free time. This can be 30 minutes to start with and your goal is to expand it to 2-3 hours a day over a few months. Early morning is a good time as it is less likely to have interruptions from different sources.
- Turn off all devices and the internet in “Deep Work” Time – Whatever you set out to do, the whats app and email messages, the pinging on the computer, the lure of the next 11.11 sale will always be around the corner. So shut these down for the time period of deep work. Put your phone away where you cannot reach it. Committ and spend the time on the book you are writing or the exercise you are meant to do or the research you need to conduct or the presentation you need to make. Do the Deep Work.
- Stop and reward yourself – Well done. You are in the rare 1% of people who can commit to and complete deep work without interruption. Have a coffee or an ice cream. Watch a Netflix show or do whatever brings you joy. Take a nap if you want.
- Let the day progress – Let the interruptions begin. Let the calls, emails and meetings come. Go through with them with as much focus and attention as you can muster.