I recently finished listening to Cal Newport's Deep Work. Its thesis is that substantial blocks of intensely focused work are required to get anything important done, and that the baseline environment of a typical 21st-century knowledge worker is inimical to this sort of work, so in order to work deeply, your environment and habits must be shaped into a more amicable form.
I liked the book a lot, and I've been toying around with implementations of Newport's ideas.
Here's one implementation, a proposed daily schedule that I'm intending to follow: (times are approximate)
6:00 - Wake up. For a long time now, I have had difficulty waking up when I aim to. My current strategy for waking up involves:
- an alarm going off every 10 minutes from 5:50 to 7:00
- going to bed whenever I feel tired
- intermittent "wake-up" practice
6:10 - Yoga. The mindfulness class I'm currently taking encourages daily periods of formal practice, each day, whether you feel like it or not. I really like this attitude of pre-committing to something you want to do on the second order, then executing on it regardless of how you feel. Yoga is my favorite formal practice so far, and it tends to start my day on a pleasant orientation. I would attempt morning sitting meditation but would likely fall asleep.
6:50 - Shower, breakfast, shave, etc. Hygiene and all that.
7:10 - Commute to the office. Currently longboarding then BARTing. Usually listening to an audiobook or podcast for the duration.
7:50 - Read email, blogs, and comics. Catch up on all the stuff that was posted when I was away from my computer.
8:10 - Make daily plan.
8:30 - Morning Deep work period. Task(s) laid out beforehand. Addictive parts of the internet turned off using Freedom.
11:30 or 12:00 - Shallow work. Check work email and slack. React to new email by replying or boomeranging to later.
12:30 - Lunch.
12:45 - Shallow work. Handling the day-to-day admin stuff I have to do; more email replying. Maybe go for a run.
13:30 or 14:30 - Afternoon Deep work period. Task(s) laid out beforehand. Addictive parts of the internet turned off.
17:00 or 18:30 - Shallow work. Maybe go for a run. Check email and slack.
19:30 - Commute to home. Listening to an audiobook or podcast.
20:15 - At home. Dinner, leisure (reading, piano, time with friends). Bed when I'm tired.
[rereads: 1, edits: formatting tweaks, rephrasings]