Are you working Deep or Shallow?

“Beta mann laga ke padhai karo” (Study whole heartedly) is a dialogue very often addressed to us by teachers and parents. We were told this, taught? Ahem! Not really.

Now recall one of those days when a page caught your attention, you sit down to read a paragraph only to find yourself turning pages over pages. An hour and some more time spent, and you did not even notice. This, dear

friend was a state of flow. You were so engaged in an activity that it completely immerses yourself in it. It’s the same when a cricket match is on or you are at the lawn tennis court and playing a winning game. In all of these you are involved in something called – Deep Work.

But this is not the case in every activity we partake. Most things we do today are out of obligation or habit, which ultimately result in merely getting the work done and with a lousy attitude, with lesser value addition for yourself.

When you’d hear the elders ask you to do activities in a focused manner, you were only asked so, rarely taught. That’s why most persons in adult life find it difficult to really do them, ‘‘mann se’’. Focused work, deep work, conscious efforts are concepts to be understood and practised not lectured upon.

Read along to know more:

Deep work - “Professional activities performed in a state of distraction-free concentration that push your cognitive capabilities to their limit. These efforts create new value, improve your skill, and are hard to replicate”

Vs

Shallow work – “No cognitively demanding, logistical-style tasks, often performed while distracted. These efforts tend to not create much new value in the world and are easy to replicate.”

School and Uni is over, life is beginning to come full circle and work has become life. But if someone were to ever tell us the same, “Mann laga ke kaam karo!” (work whole heartedly), well, its puzzle unsolved for us even now. How am I to do that? Let alone stuck in a job you don’t even like.

Excel sheets, sales pitch, calls and endless meetings, operations are these the things to be immersed in? Willing or not, you’ve got to do that. This unwilling immersing leads to work strain affecting our physical and emotional well-being. You may start liking your work if a shift in perspective were to occur. Realising that you are part of a larger cause (Company’s vision) does tend to help coming to terms with certain less-likable situations. You’ve got to work, and that’s certain, but if you could start enjoying your work. For this you need to learn to start working deeply. Habituate your mind. Even the tiniest of screw in a big machine hold a prominent cause. You matter. Your work matters.

At the end, your professional success would be defined by your deep working ability and not the shallowness derived from financial benefits surrounding the same. Whatever may be the work lets work deeply.

School days are gone, let’s not miss out on making the most of your adult life. Learn from childhood mistake and correct yourself. Now is the time, albeit easier said than done. But certainly, possible with continuous practice.

This blog is inspired from the book DEEP WORK – Cal Newport