We continue our series of articles about living an authentic life and our next topic is about work and how we can actually have a better performances in order to have in the end fulfilling lives and careers. Our quality of life is at stake everyday, and it is so especially because we live now in a digital era. It is a struggle to not let outside factors influence ourselves and a learning process to understand what is truly important for us in life. We have started this series of articles called “Live an authentic life” because we wanted to present and debate topics that can help us live the lives that we want, authentic, beautiful and meaningful. If you have ideas or questions related to this topic, please share them in the comment section below each article.
When I started college I also joined a student`s organization and got very involved. But soon I realized it was very disturbing for me and my studies. We were organizing events and projects by keeping in touch on social media networks mostly and it was very chaotic because everybody had a different schedule, so even though I was in class or studying in the library, my phone kept on beeping and interrupting myself. The problem was that I couldn`t just turn my notifications off, because I had to see and answer those messages. That was our way of working.
During those days, like out of nowhere, I begun to read to something about the value of deep work and how important it is to give 100% of your concentration when you work on something. When you concentrate only on what you work you give all of your energy and potential to the full success of what you do. Moreover, you also finish faster. We discussed in the previous article about how disturbing and harmful social media can be to our work, but in this article I would like to put a question mark on what we consider to be important for us and discuss how we can lose focus and do many things that don`t provide any outcome in the end.
Most of us have lost the ability to deepen our work and this is because we spend our time in a wild spin of emails and social media without realizing that there is a better way to thrive. Deep work represents an ability to focus without leaving you distracted by outside factors or other tasks that demand our intellect. It allows us to quickly accumulate complex information and achieve better results in a shorter time.
Deep work is very much connected with the long term projects. There is continuous noise of daily tasks in our lives, which are not really necessary and important to do versus working on clear objectives, important projects and putting aside some time to work on accomplishing them. It requires a profound work to achieve big goals. Take for example this situation: you have to do research for an article, take notes and write down ideas, rewrite the text, finish your work, but in the meantime you receive an e-mail from your boss. Is it necessary to read it and answer right away or not? Or your mother, brother or friend is giving you a call. Think whether it is extremely important to pick up the phone and answer right away. Of course, there can be situations when you expect a call or know that if somebody calls you should answer. But in general, nobody dies if you don`t pick up the phone and answer right away.
Call Newport has written a book on the topic, it`s called ‘Deep Work’ and in his book he debates how we can concentrate and thrive through profound work, he gives various ideas about the topic and examples which can help us understand better how we perform our jobs. Some of us can have a job that allows us to focus on what we have to do, but some others can have really disturbing jobs, jobs that require a lot of teamwork and meetings, which limitate our deep work time very much.
Newport’s hypothesis is that, in a world where the internet facilitates the scattering of attention, deep work is getting rarer and more valuable, so the few people who cultivate this ability will thrive and have most success in life. That makes deep work a kind of superpower of our days. Newport understands the concept of deep work as a “state of unrestrained concentration that pushes cognitive capabilities to the limit.” This intellectual effort leads to innovation and to solving really difficult problems.
Our working time gets busy with logistical tasks, meetings, and emails because it’s easier to get busy with random and not soliciting tasks than to get up and start something more complicated and soliciting. We are used to to do many things in a visible way, rather than to focus on difficult tasks for long periods of time. That is why we need a rigorous program, based on rituals that facilitate deep work and eliminate as far as possible superficial work.
A profound work and life is not only economically profitable but can actually help us have a well-lived and happy life. Those with superficial concerns feel frustrated by the lack of significance of their work. Instead, those who cultivate intellectual depth and do their job with care and attention tend to feel fulfilled not only during working hours but also outside of them. I hope that since you finished reading this article you will take some time to think about how you work and see what can be improved. Stay focused and work hard!
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