A few months ago I was on a coaching call in one of the courses I am doing where we were talking about deep work and time blocking. One of the girls who was on the call with me was an EA to the CEO. As much as she thought time blocking was a good idea. She was hesitant to try it for herself.
Because, as an EA she felt like she always had to be 'on' to be available for anything that her boss needed at the time. Coming from being an EA for years, I totally got it.
And there is definitely a part of your role that does need to be on. But it's also serving no one having slack messages and emails coming at you 24 hours a day and losing focus because you're trying to answer everyone.
There are still times when you need to take some time to focus on just one thing and get it done. Trying to spin plates in the air becomes exhausting over time.
So, I suggested something to her that I think might also work if you have the need to always feel like you have to be 'on' during the workday.
The Hybrid Deep Work Method
It works like this. Firstly, look at your calendar and block out one 90 minute to 2 hours session each day (or as many days of the week that you can) that you can allocate to do a deep work session.
If you work for someone, have a look at their calendar too and make sure it doesn't conflict with something important that you'll have to be on for.
Put it in your calendar so the time gets blocked out and no one can book over it.
Next, talk to your boss or colleagues and let them know that you're going to be unavailable during that time. Give them notice, don't just disappear. If you have a boss that depends on you, have a conversation about why this is important for you. If you have someone who is resistant, I try to use the word - experiment. Saying I want to experiment and see if this works, is much better than I want to do this new thing.
When it comes to that time you've scheduled. Send a message to your colleagues saying you're going into deep work mode and what time you'll be back. Turn on do not disturb on all your devices, put your phone in another room.
Write down on a post it note what you are going to be working on d
The only exception that I make to these deep work times is if my boss calls. If he calls twice in a row, do not disturb let's him through. But someone has to be absolutely dying for him to call.
This worked for me when first introducing deep work times into our company. I love treating it as an experiment, because then you're not locked into anything. You're just testing to see if it's a better way to work.
Hope that was helpful for you if you feel the need to be 'on call' throughout the day. Follow me on Twitter and let me know what tactics you have for getting deep work done in your day.
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