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Practical ways to carve out time to think

Practical ways to carve out time to think

Working from home and adapting to tech is a moving target. Tools like Slack and Zoom have benefits but can also be distracting for teams, involving too many in meetings – just like life offline.

Dallas PR agency Idea Grove came up with a great idea based on the concept of ‘deep work’ popularized by the author Cal Newport, that is:

“Professional activity performed in a state of distraction-free concentration that pushes your cognitive capabilities to their limit.”

Deep Work Principles

  • Deep work is focused, uninterrupted, undistracted work on a task that pushes your cognitive abilities to their limit.
  • The best ideas and the most meaningful progress come from deep work, not shallow work.
    • Shallow work answers emails, produces reports, and flits from meeting to meeting.
    • Deep work creates breakthrough business ideas, exposes new research questions, and solves complex problems.

When did you last schedule ‘distraction-free’ time? (Forgive me, as a working mum I do understand this might sound like nirvana, particularly this January, but bear with me).

  • The ability to concentrate must be trained like a muscle. You can’t use it if you haven’t trained it. But if you train it in a structured way and push yourself to your limit, it will get stronger.
  • Every time you get distracted and indulge the distraction, you weaken your ability to focus and to resist distractions.

“If you check your phone every time you get bored, you reinforce your brain’s rewiring to be addicted to distraction.”

The team at Idea Grove realised that their team broadly fell into two groups: Makers – who think, create and do and need uninterrupted time to do their jobs. The PR and marketing teams were makers.

Managers manage projects, processes, and clients, they need to interact with people to do their jobs. Their account team are managers. So they allocated hours in the day to the different tasks.

The 3 key take-outs for me:

  1. Separate your own time, or team time, out into ‘maker’ and ‘manager’ hours to allow for creative focus and concentration.
  2. Set expectations around how you will communicate, using which tools and honour them, without exception.
  3. Recognise difference in the way we think and work and allow your team autonomy over how they work.

Read the full article at Fast Company 

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