John Jago

Day 19: An effective deep work session

Only three days into May, and I’ve already put in 25% of the hours I put into Dashify for the entire month of April.

After my April reflection, it was clear I wasn’t putting enough time into a project that is supposed to be how I make a living. I have a lot of time right now, it’s just hard to use it well.

Two things I’ve known but happened to put into action today—I’m going to keep it up for the month of May.

Prioritize priorities. On a typical day last month, I’d make sure to do every little chore around the house before I’d start work. One thing leads to another, and I end up starting way too late in the day. Lesson: What you do first in the day is what you prioritize, regardless of what you say is a priority.

Deep work. This is a concept from a book written by Cal Newport. If you’re one of those who likes productivity hacks, you’re likely to have heard of this book. Except it’s not a hack—it works because it’s simply just doing the work (harder than it may seem). You remove all distractions and block out time, up to 4 hours, to only do the thing you want to do. Today, once I got started, I occasionally stood up to look outside (give the eyes some rest) and drink water, but that’s it. I took breaks, but I didn’t do things on those breaks that would throw my brain onto something else. Without the interruptions, the mind doesn’t lose focus, which studies have shown takes 20 minutes to regain after losing it. That quickly adds up.

👋 This is my work journal, a series where I write daily about trying to make a living building a bootstrapped software product.