Deep Work: Imperfection

This 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 with meetings and grading.

This week was particularly busy.  In addition to 11 hours worth of meetings, I had a total of 120 student screencasts to grade.  I have been very good about not working at home, but I broke down and graded about 60 of the videos on Tuesday night after the rest of my family went to sleep.  I am glad I did, although I am a little disappointed that I broke the separation of work and home.

This led me to wonder how sustainable Deep Work is.  There comes several points in every semester where things get really busy.  However, I really think that it actually is sustainable.   Things are abnormally busy for me this semester because I am teaching an extra class and on a committee to basically re-do our general education program (and I am very involved in this committee—I do more than just show up for meetings).  In spite of this unusual level of busyness, I have only had to work from home once this semester, and the semester is already halfway done.  Moreover, I have had the following number of hours of Deep Work for each week of the semester:  9.5, 7, 6.5, 8.5, 4.5, 2.5 (this week will be between 2 and 4).  So the last few weeks have been down, but they are still above what I was doing for the last several years—and this is particularly busy semester.  I think that I will be able to continue doing 6–9 hours per week in future semesters.

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