Deep Work Update

Last week I made the decision to schedule every minute of my day, and wanted to share a quick update. In short, this is working out very well for me so far.

My RescueTime dashboard showing that my productivity significantly increased from the prior week

A few accomplishments:

  • I coded every day – This might not sound like a big deal but there are so many times my job pulls me really far away from a code editor.
  • I published 3 posts and shared 4 links on my blog – Contributing to my blog makes me extremely happy and I’ve always wanted it to be more of a regular part of my workweek.
  • I read two and a half books, including Learning React by Kirupa Chinnathambi, and Unsubscribe by Jocelyn K. Glei. I’m halfway through Future Ethics by Cennydd Bowles. All of these books are fantastic. Historically,
  • Spent more time with my daughter – Historically I’d work until about 7pm, and with this schedule I’m forcing myself to wrap up at 5:30. The cool thing is that rather than walking away from my computer feeling like I still have much to do, I’m shutting down feeling like I’ve done a lot for the day and now get to celebrate with my family.

A few observations:

  • Starting my work day with dedicated deep work time is hugely helpful. Historically I began my day diving into email which sent my time and attention into a tailspin. I feel like even if I end up falling off the wagon with this whole routine this habit is one that I really don’t ever want to break.
  • Scheduling email time has been really beneficial – I’ve always kept my inbox open at all hours of the day, and as a result it has pulled me away from more productive work. Scheduling a chunk of time in the morning, right after lunch, and right before wrapping up for the day seems to have me covered so far.
  • Guidelines, not hard and fast rules – The blocks I chunked out in my calendar are helpful guidelines rather than strict rules. The other day I came back to work 30 minutes after my lunch was ending because I was hanging out with my daughter. That’s more than ok. I’m finding that having these times stubbed out is forcing me to be deliberate with my time. I’m trying not to beat myself up if I don’t follow the schedule to a T, so long as I’m generally following the outline I designed.
  • Shutting down my computer every night is a great feeling – Starting fresh every morning has been important from a mental clarity standpoint. It’s funny, even with Git and Dropbox and everything else, I always had anxiety around shutting down my computer. Like I’d somehow lose a bunch of work or something. I’m glad I’m getting over that.
  • Not travel tested – It’s worth pointing out that I travel a lot for work. And it just so happens this week and last I wasn’t traveling. So this workflow hasn’t stood up to the challenges of my travel life, but I have some ideas around how I’m going to manage things when I begin my travels next week.

So that’s that! I’m hoping to share a few more updates over the coming weeks, and I’m really hoping my productivity and my attitude about this approach stay the same.