Scheduling Every Minute of My Day

I just finished the fantastic book Deep Work by Cal Newport on the suggestion of half my Twitter feed. The book discusses the importance of doing deep work, which the author describes as:

Professional activities performed in a state of distraction-free concentration that push your cognitive capabilities to their limit. These efforts create new value, improve your skill, and are hard to replicate.

The book is chunked out into two parts. The first part makes the argument for removing distractions and intensely focusing your energy on truly worthwhile endeavors. I needed little convincing there. The second part discussed tactics around how to make deep work happen. There are a lot of great suggestions in here, but one in particular stuck out to me:

It’s an idea that might seem extreme at first but will soon prove indispensable in your quest to take full advantage of the value of deep work: Schedule every minute of your day.

I’ve long been thinking about doing something like this, but finishing this book gave me the nudge to actually act on it. So last night I filled up my calendar with blocks of time chunked out for activities and color coded blocks based on the type of activity. The result looks like this:

Google Calendar with one week of time blocked out by activity type.

What my calendar looks like now that I’ve scheduled every minute of my day.

I’m excited to see how this plays out, and I’ll share my experience once I have a better take on if this is effective or not. I’ll say that in the 24 hours I put this in place, it already has me thinking about things differently. For instance, accepting a meeting invite requires me to take time away from something else, and now that is actually visualized. It also shows how things like an upcoming dinner at a friend’s house and Halloween night will impact our infant daughter’s bedtime routine. So yeah, it’s already nudging me towards being more aware of my time than I was before. Let’s see how this goes!