How to clear time for deep thinking

Excerpted from Cal Newport:

Deep work is phasic. Put another way, to ape Rushkoff, we’re not computer processors. We can’t be expected to accomplish any job any time we have the available cycles. There are rhythms to our psychology. Certain times of the day, week, month, and even year are better suited for deep work than other times.

To respect this reality, you must leave sufficient time in your schedule to handle the intense bursts of such work when they occur. This requires that you constrain the other obligations in your life — perhaps by being reluctant to agree to things or start projects, or by ruthlessly batching and streamlining your regular obligations.

When it’s time to work deeply, this approach leaves you the schedule space necessary to immerse. When you’ve shifted temporarily out of deep work mode, however, this approach leaves you with down time.

This is why people who do remarkable things can seem remarkably under-committed — it’s a side-effect of the scheduling philosophy necessary to accommodate depth.

(1) Cf. Creating time for reflection.
(2) Cf. Can you be a great business leader if you’re lazy?

8 thoughts on “How to clear time for deep thinking

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