“How to be effective and quick in my preparation for the exams ?”
“How many hours to work in order to show excellent performance ?”
All these questions are well intended to reduce procrastination, but there are addressing the surface of the problem: Hours
What you should be worried about is how deep you concentrate.
This determines how fast you are at solving problems.
Therefore, the number of deep work sessions is the first criterion that drives your performances.
It should be the cornerstone of your organizational system.
What is the problem?
Working in deep work sessions means 3 conditions are fulfilled:
No multitasking: 1 thing At a time:
No external distractions: avoid images around, TV, songs, social media, phone.
No internal distractions: avoid Daydreaming, planning etc
When I became sick and tired of rescheduling everything three years ago, I started questioning the way I had been working. My Schedule mentioned “writing book” for about 20 hours a week.
However, when I set aside daydreaming and I decided to carefully track how much “deep focus ” were invested, I discovered there was an anomaly: I wasn’t even putting in 5 hours of deep focus a week.
How come was I expecting to make any substantial progress?
I had never taken the time to install the habit of following these 3 conditions at the same time.
As simple as it seems, they are hard to implement and lead to many traps:
When are deep work sessions located in your schedule?
Chances are early in the morning and late in the night are some favorite places
Now the challenge is to execute on following the rules when it comes down to it.
Since it forces us to restrict our awareness from moving in different directions, It can be very uncomfortable.
That’ s why we naturally run away from it, especially if we have ADD( Attention Deficit Disorder).
Mistake 2: You don’t execute on the strategy you had chosen
In the previous article, I chose to optimize for bridges: building habit.
However anytime It comes down to working in English there is a hesitation:
On one hand, I want to start rehearsing for the next YouTube video: this activity belongs to the category “productivity debt”
On the other hand, I want to revise by the English vocabulary list from the teacher. This task belongs to ” bridges”
Which one should I sacrifice? ” Rehearsing for the YouTube video” or ” practicing teacher exercises”?
According to my strategy, I should sacrifice ” rehearsing for YouTube video”
Is that simple? NO
Why? Because It is an emotional choice. I still find it difficult to detach from my desire to get my video done.
That ‘s why you need to be careful at implementing your strategy, otherwise, you will end up investing your energy in the wrong direction.
So How to trigger Deep work as a habit and invest it properly?
The principle is simple. In the beginning, It requires much will power.
Once you start, it becomes less comfortable and requires less will power.
This allows you to concentrate on implementing the next stages.
So the question becomes:
How long should you use your will power ? 1 Week at minimum
How do you it is time to move on? When you succeed in implementing the rules 4-5 days a week.
Step 2: 3 simple techniques to prevent you from running away
The aim to reduce your inner resistance before deep work sessions so that you execute on tasks in alignment with your initial strategy even if it sucks.
Technique 1: Visualization
When you are thinking about doing something you know you should do and you don’t like it, instead of shifting your mind to something else, do this
Step 1 Picture yourself being on the place where you are supposed to be working on that, gathering all the material necessary, reflecting on what the first step could be, start executing
step 2: Imagine how it becomes hard, and it hurts/feels boring
Step 3: Picture yourself succeeding., experiencing the joy of having accomplished the task.
Technique 2: Remove uncertainty: Focus on what you can achieve
When you are thinking about doing something you know you should do and you find it overwhelming or difficult, instead of shifting your mind to something else, do this
Step 1: Focus on the part you are sure you can achieve ( within 1 min, 2 min or 5 min)
Step 2: apply the visualization technique to this part.
Technique 3: Remove Boredom : Focus on what you love.
When you are thinking about doing something you know you should do and you find it boring, instead of shifting your mind to something else, do this:
Step 1: Focus on the part you love
Step 2: Apply the visualization technique to this part.
Let ‘s assume you are a student who doesn’t like the topic “history” that needed to be revised during the next deep work session.
If what you like within “History” is discovering new facts, but you find memorizing dates boring, put your mental focus on the discovery part only.
The process goes like this, Anytime you think “History”,
step 1: A negative association will immediately arise unconsciously: “I hate it”, or ” I don’t like it ” or ” I don’t have time for it ” or ” I have better things to do”
Step 2: shift your focus from “I don’t like it ” to ” I am going to discover new historical facts”
Step 3: Maintain this mental picture and remember how good you felt the last time you discovered new historical facts.
You will be prepared to work on “history” instead of unconsciously avoiding it.
That is the end of part 2.
Next article : Why and How to install average and improvisation sessions?
Heudou Tchihikou Aubin
A master chronic procrastinator who chose to execute on his dreams because of frustration and self-criticism