Deep Work: Schedules

Last semester I went all-in on self-regulated learning; this semester, I am going all-in on Cal Newport’s ideas surrounding Deep Work.  I will regularly post on ideas I am implementing.   I am only going to post on ideas from the book that Cal has already blogged about so that I don’t give away the whole book.

My reasons for doing this are pretty simple.  First, I think that it can help me be a better researcher, which is part of my job description.  Second, should I choose to eventually go up for promotion to full professor, I will have the option of doing so based on either the strength of my research or the strength of my service to the college.  I find the former to be a bit more enjoyable (although getting a recently accepted paper properly formatted for the journal has been testing this idea quite a bit), and also a bit rarer at my particular college, which I hope will give me a bit of a competitive advantage.  In either case, the idea of Deep Work could help me greatly.

The first idea I used was to schedule every minute of my work day.  Every night before I go home, I get out my hipster PDA and block of (in 30 minute chunks) what I will do for the next day.  This is a first draft, and I am allowed to change it during the day if events warrant (and they usually do).

This has been a huge gain for me already.  I spent about 3 minutes making the schedule the previous day, and it buys me probably an extra hour of productivity the next day.  I think that I probably wasted a lot of time either wondering what I should do, or otherwise taking breaks that I did not need.  I have had a lot of service requirements this week (about 20% of my week has been in meetings), yet I have been able get get about an equal amount of research in (leaving 60% of my time for teaching, planning classes, and meeting with students).  This is quite a bit of research time for me, and a large part of it is due to scheduling every minute of the day.

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5 Responses to “Deep Work: Schedules”

  1. Deep Work: Lead and Lag Times | Solvable by Radicals Says:

    […] is part of a series on Cal Newport’s Deep Work idea.  I usually like to link to something that he has already written on his blog, but today […]

  2. Deep Work: Aborted Plan | Solvable by Radicals Says:

    […] is a continuation of my thoughts on Cal Newport’s Deep Work idea.  Very briefly, I am going to describe a plan that I didn’t follow through on that […]

  3. Deep Work: Broken Internet Addiction | Solvable by Radicals Says:

    […] is a continuation of my thoughts on Cal Newport’s Deep Work idea (and this one).  One unexpected consequence is that I have no internet addiction anymore […]

  4. Deep Work: youcanbook.me | Solvable by Radicals Says:

    […] is another part of the series on Cal Newport’s Deep Work idea (and this one and this one).   I wanted to reduce distractions, and email is a pretty […]

  5. Deep Work: Imperfection | Solvable by Radicals Says:

    […] is another part of the series on Cal Newport’s Deep Work idea (and this one, this one,  and this one).  I have been swamped the last couple of weeks […]

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