When you are remote working, you are not under constant surveillance by your supervisor. You can work independently, so you have to manage your distractions without supervision.
There are times that we can work effectively and deliver satisfactory work in a few hours, but there are lag times that we are unproductive the whole day. In Cal Newport’s book, he defines that Deep Work is when you maximize your critical thinking skills at work undistractedly. While Shallow Work is mundane tasks that you can accomplish with minimal effort.
For example, Deep Work can be referred to as brainstorming for a new marketing campaign or generating concepts for a product launch. Meanwhile, Shallow Work are simple tasks such as checking your email or reviewing your tasks.
The key to mastery to practice deep and shallow work is by repetition. Once you learn to harmonize these at work you will develop a “Flow” where you train yourself to focus on a task to achieve a quality outcome. If you can exploit these skills it will significantly make you stand out among other professionals.
According to Mihaly Csíkszentmihályi’s book, there are 10 components of flow:
To apply flow in your remote work, you can use either of these two scheduling methods:
Rhythmic philosophy is similar to a habitual routine. You can schedule a deep work on a specific time of the day when you are most effective and do shallow work in your idle time. On the other hand, Journalistic philosophy is for remote workers with erratic or unpredictable schedules. These are applicable for remote work that is on-call or client-driven work such as receiving calls for technical support or writing an immediate article for newsworthy events. In summary, you need to have a dedicated workspace, schedule your workload in a structural and disciplined manner, or you can apply the Pomodoro method to practice deep work.
It is advisable to rest in between completed tasks (as suggested to the Pomodoro method) to allow us to function properly for your next tasks. Additionally, this prevents you from burning out at work.
Taking short breaks (such as taking a nap or cuddling your pets) is a healthy practice to find Eureka moments. However, be mindful of distractions that may affect your working routine.
Here are some key tips to practice deep work and flow effectively:
Overall, deep work and flow can be achieved through practice and experience and take some time to find what best works for you.