I love the idea of doing deep work. The whole concept of doing a deep dive into your most important work of the day during the early morning hours is exciting to me.
I listen to entrepreneurs and solopreneurs talk about deep work on various podcasts.
And that's the problem. I'm neither of those types. I'm an elementary counselor with contracted hours each day of the week. I get to work and have to check my email to see what brush fires have come up from the day before. I check on students during the first part of my day, work with small groups and individual students, and teach classroom counseling lessons. When a student melts down, whatever I'm doing is aborted so that I can work with him/her.
My day is full of shallow work. I'm not making excuses. It's just the way that it is. And, quite frankly, I'm envious of you who can do a deep dive into your work, because you set your schedule. You have the flexibility to do what you want when you want to a majority of the time. That has to be an awesome feeling, and one you don't take lightly or for granted.
While I am envious of my entrepreneurial and soloprenurial counterparts, I can't complain about the problem of not having their schedule. I can't say, "If only I had their schedule, then I could do deep work too." I can't say that there isn't a way for me to do deep work. I just have to do it differently.
I get up at 5:00 a.m., and my early morning is not for doing a deep dive. My mornings are intended for personal growth through bible study, prayer, journaling, and meditation. Once I take our dog outside and then feed our pets, I go into my personal growth mode for the next 30 minutes. I then get ready for work and eat breakfast. During breakfast, I update my social media for Get To It and listen to part of a podcast. I head out the door for a short commute to begin my day wearing my elementary counseling hat.
I tell you this, because I honestly believe that my personal growth session sets me up for whatever comes my way during the day and prepares me for doing some deep work in the evening. It's just that my deep work looks different:
*I do 2 - 25 minutes sessions from 7:00-8:00 p.m. using the Pomodoro method.
*I have a dry erase calendar and I set my week up on Saturday for the following week. On that calendar, I include whatever meetings and/or responsibilities I have at the end of my work day that might cut into my one hour of deep work time. I then write down one or two MIT's (Most Important Tasks) I will work on that evening.
*Because my evening time is already set up, all I have to do is set a timer for 25 minutes and get to work on that task. When the timer goes off, I take a five minute break.
*If I feel I need to work more on that task, then I also work on it during the second session, and the second task gets bumped to the next day. Some days only have one task on them for precisely this reason. I refuse to have more than three MIT's on any given day.
*If I'm really in a groove, then I will add one more 25 minute session, but I absolutely turn off all technology by 8:30.
By doing a lot of preparation before I get down to work, I can hit the ground running because that's my only choice. As my husband says, I front load the workload.
Rarely do I get something completely finished during my deep work time, but I get to a point where I can stop and know exactly where I'm going to pick back up again. In fact, I make a couple of notes at the end of my sessions, so that I'm not scrambling when I come back to work on that particular task.
As we all know, it's not necessarily the quantity of time that is the most meaningful. It's the quality of whatever time you have to give. Sometimes we just have to come at it from a different angle.
I'm a lover of life, an eternal optimist, and I have an intense desire to add value through simple living and positive vibes.