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How to develop the main skill of the XXI century
Material posted: Publication date: 09-02-2019
The ability to concentrate will help you to perform complex intellectual work and increase productivity.

All tasks can be divided into two main categories: deep and superficial work. They were allocated by cal Newport, author of "In work". According to him, extensive work is a professional activity performed in a state of undivided concentration, which requires a voltage limit of cognitive abilities. This effort leads to the creation of new values and increases the skill of the performer, and its results difficult to reproduce.

And surface work that does not require intellectual effort to the task of computing the type frequently performed in the state of diffused attention. Typically, these efforts do not lead to the creation of the world new values and easily reproducible. The meetings, emails, reports. Although such cases are hard to avoid, try to reduce them. And start to develop the skill of deep concentration. About how to do it, toldblogger Dan Sylvester (Silvestre Dan).

1. Choose your own method of in-depth work

In the usual working environment difficult to concentrate deeply. The Newport offers four systems that can be used for in-depth work:

  • Monastic. Reduce or completely eliminate the surface charge. Alone and cut off from all distractions.
  • Dual-mode. Divide the working time into several sections, which dedicate in-depth work and periods of leave for other things. A few days a week, work on the monastic system.
  • Rhythmic. The simplest way to undertake regular in-depth work is to turn it into a habit. The essence of the rhythmic system in the creation of regulations. For example, take on work that requires concentration, for three to four hours every day.
  • Journalistic. Alternate in-depth work with the surface during the day. This method is not for beginners.

2. Turn in-depth work in the habit

After choosing the most suitable method schedule in calendar days or hours on in-depth work and try to adhere to this schedule. So this has become a habit, you need not only your intention but also a certain routine. Consider the following points:

  • Where. Select a place exclusively for the in-depth work. For example, a meeting or a quiet corner in the library.
  • How much. Allocate a specific time for each set of in-depth work. Always know when you're done.
  • As. Need to organize the processes. Consider whether you disable the Internet while you are working in depth. Are there any metrics by which you can evaluate your productivity?
  • With the help of which. For maximum success you will need a support system. For example, you may have the habit to start with a good Cup of coffee or to always have on hand some food to make energy.

3. Bring plans to life using the four disciplines

Know what to do and how to do — not one and the same. Many people spend time and resources thinking only about the first. But they forget to consider how you will implement the chosen strategy. The book "How to achieve goals. Four disciplines of execution" offers the following methods:

  • Focus on business-critical objectives. Select several of these targets and engage them during in-depth work. They should bring tangible results in the professional field, so you constantly experienced a enthusiasm.
  • Use faster performance. Success can be measured by two metrics: lagging and leading indicators. The first is the ultimate goal that you are trying to achieve. For example, the number of printed articles. The second estimate habits that will lead to success. So, the actual figure for in-depth work — time spent in a state of full concentration and busy with work on goals.
  • Keep a record of. People try when they need to fix the result. Mark on the calendar how many hours a day working in depth. And the days that allowed a complex problem or did something else important, tracing in a circle.
  • Develop a reporting schedule. It will help you achieve mission-critical goals. Make it a habit once a week to do the report and make plans for the next week.

4. Remove all distractions

At work practically impossible to be focused. Yes, and the rest of the time we are constantly distracted by TV or social media. They harm our ability to concentrate. The brain expects and even requires entertainment. And frequent switching from one task to another makes the situation even worse.

But conscious concentrated work, on the contrary, it strengthens the pathways of the nervous system. Here are some ways to focus:

  • Work with headphones. Colleagues will think that you don't hear them, and will be less likely to contact you.
  • Ask that you have half a day to work remotely. It is best in the morning.
  • Disassemble the e-mail twice a day, closer to lunch and at the end of the day. And limit time with her, for example, using "tomato" timer.
  • Turn off notifications on your phone. If something is really urgent, you call.
  • Plan how much time you will spend online, and try not to go to the Network just. It is useful to do not only at work but also at home, to train your concentration.
  • At the end of the day, close all the tabs in the browser and open programs, delete or move to the right place all the files from the download, empty the trash and shut down the computer. Tomorrow it will be easier to work with.

5. Don't forget to relax

According to research,The Role of Deliberate Practice in the Acquisition of Expert Performance, we concentrated on working roughly four hours a day. After that, the ability to concentrate decreases. So alternate periods of in-depth work with the rest.

After work, try not to think about it until the morning. Don't check email after dinner, do not scroll in my head conversations with colleagues, do not make plans for tomorrow.

That's why it's so important:

  • During the holidays there are new ideas. While your conscious mind is relaxed, the subconscious mind consolidates memories and can also give you useful ideas and creative solutions.
  • Rest helps replenish energy, which then will help you for in-depth work.
  • The work you do in the evening, usually not so important. Most likely, this is a superficial tasks that give nothing to your career.

Just remember that quality rest is not mindless surfing Internet or watching TV shows. Think of the technology mindfully and from time to time to arrange a digital detox.

Bonus: how to improve in-depth work

Constantly training this skill. Here are some tips that will help you:
  • Refrain from using social media. Persistent notification harm the ability to concentrate. If you do not get to spend in social networks in less time then remove them completely.
  • Learn to say "no". Be selective when you decide what to accept. Every time you are refused, you by default say "Yes".
  • Meditate. Enough to spend ten minutes in the morning to improve ability to concentrate during the day.

Like any other technique, in-depth work need to adjust. Try different options until you find the one that suits you.


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