From Charles Darwin to Carl Jung, people who achieve big things tend to understand the importance of deep work. A term coined by Cal Newport in his book Deep Work, he describes it as “professional activities performed in a state of distraction-free concentration that push your cognitive capabilities to their limit”. It’s a work style and a lifestyle – and if you can cultivate deep work in yourself, you’ll be on the path to work-life satisfaction and boosted productivity.
Spark your thoughts
Focusing triggers a process called myelination around the active brain cells – essentially protecting your circuitry with a shiny substance that accelerates the electrical activity in your head.
Seemingly innocent pings on IM actually rob you of hours. One study at the University of California, Irvine found that it takes more than 23 minutes to recover from distraction.
Deeper work is good for business. Researchers at Harvard found that, by disconnecting a team of consultants from their endless alerts, productivity went up 40%.
Nobel Prize winning physics work demands solid chunks of uninterrupted time and concentration. The late, great physicist Richard Feynman had his own way of avoiding the burden of administrative work. “I tell everyone I don’t do anything,” he said. “If anyone asks me to be on a committee … I tell them I’m irresponsible.”
Will this task matter in nine minutes, nine hours, nine days, weeks, months, or years? That’s the grounding question Bumble founder and CEO Whitney Wolfe uses to prioritise her work. Using this technique means she can confidently cast aside meaningless distractions, and keep focus on the things that truly matter.
Donald Knuth says his life changed for the better in 1990, when he gave up email. Yep, one of the legendary figures in computer science has no inbox. His focus on learning and understanding computer science means he ruthlessly eliminates trivial tasks. “What I do takes long hours of studying and uninterruptible concentration,” he says.
Join a daily Flock – our unique guided deep work sessions – to keep you committed to your goals and your focus strong.
Take a break from focus with FLOWN Quests – 10-minute meditative exercises and sensory challenges that refresh your creativity and concentration.
Become a deep work expert with the FLOWN Academy, our bite-sized lessons on creativity and flow.
Ditch doomscrolling and indulge in mentally enriching 5-minute reads in the FLOWN Almanac.
Find the perfect space for your deep work escape in our curated collection of properties. They're all hand-picked and kitted out with deep work in mind.