Tag Archives: Performance

Shutdown Ritual

Term
A ritual designed to assist in ‘shutting down’ at the end of a day containing deep work. Assuming that one has exerted himself or herself to her fullest in a given day, he or she will need a de-stressing / cognitive recovery period. Shut downs ease the transition into a recovery period and recover in a mindset free of distractions.
Process
Goals for period:
     1) Capture all incomplete tasks in a place where they can be revisited when the time is right
     2) Have plans you trust for capturing all incomplete tasks
          “As any busy knowledge worker can attest, there are always tasks left incomplete. The idea that you can ever reach a point where all your obligations are handled is a fantasy. Fortunately, we don’t need to complete a task to get it off our minds. Riding to our rescue in this matter is our friend from earlier in the rule, the psychologist Roy Baumeister, who wrote a paper with E.J. Masicampo playfully titled ‘Consider It Done!’ In this study, two researchers began replicating the Zeigarnik effect in their subjects (in this case, the researchers assigned a task and then cruelly engineered interruptions), but then found that they could significantly reduce the effect’s impact by asking how the subjects, soon after interruption, to make a plan for how they would later complete the incomplete task. To quote the paper: ‘Committing to a specific plan for a goal may therefore not only facilitate attainment of the goal but may also free cognitive resources for other pursuits’ “(153, Deep Work)
The Cal Newport Approach:
1) Take a final look at e-mail inbox to ensure that there’s nothing requiring an urgent response before the day ends
2) Transfer any new tasks into official task list (New tasks are compiled a piece of scrap paper throughout the day)
3) Quickly skim entire task list and review calendar for the next couple of days
     -Ensure that there’s nothing urgent you’re forgetting or any important deadlines or appointments sneaking up on you
4) Make a rough plan for the next day
5) Say ‘Shut down’ complete
Source
Deep Work by Cal Newport

Deep Work

Term

“Professional activities performed in the state of distraction-free concentration that push your cognitive capacities to their limit. These efforts create new value, improve your skill, and hard to replicate” ( 3, Deep Work)

Source

Deep Work by Cal Newport

Deep Work Hypothesis

Principle

As the world becomes more distracted in the aggregate, the ability to focus and work deeply on a task becomes increasingly more scarce and consequently, increasingly more valuable.

Explanation

“The ability to perform deep work is becoming increasingly rare at the same time it is becoming increasingly valuable in our economy. As a consequence, the few who cultivate this skill, and then make it the core of their working life, will thrive.” (14, Deep Work)

“Our work culture’s shift toward the shallow (whether you think it’s philosophically good or bad) is exposing a massive economic and personal opportunity for those few who recognize the potential of resisting this trend and prioritizing depth” (8, Deep Work)

“There are two reasons for this value. The first has to do with learning. We have an information economy that’s dependent on complex systems that change rapidly….To remain valuable in our economy, you must master the art of quickly learning complicated things. This task requires deep work. If you don’t cultivate this ability you’re likely to fall behind as technology advances.

The second reason that deep work is valuable is because of the impacts of the digital network revolution cut both ways. If you can create something useful, its reachable audience is essentially limitless — which greatly magnifies your rewards. On the other hand, if what you’re producing is mediocre, then you’re in trouble, as it’s too easy for your audience to find a better alternative online….To succeed, you have to produce the absolute best stuff you’re capable of producing — a task that requires depth” (13, Deep Work)

Source

Deep Work by Cal Newport

Interval Work

Principle

Working with great intensity for short periods of time. It’s goal is maximize aggregate productivity per a unit of time.

This strategy acknowledges that a given day is either largely commandeered by shallow work or that there’s only a finite amount of time during the day in which a person can be maximally productive (physiologically-limited productivity) . The solution this strategy seeks is to apply the interval training philosophy of athletic trainers to the scheduling of work throughout a given day. One must work hard in intervals, either between periods of shallow work or deliberately selected rest periods.

Teddy Roosevelt Example

“He would then remove the time spent in recitation and classes, athletic training (which was once a day), and lunch. The fragments that remained were then considered time exclusively for studying. As notes, these fragments didn’t usually add up to a large number of total hours, but he would get the most out of them by working only on schoolwork during these periods, and doing so with blistering intensity. ‘The amount of time he spent at his desk was comparatively small,’ explained [biographer Edmund Morris], ‘but his concentration was so intense, and his reading so rapid, that he could afford more time off [from schoolwork] than most.’ “(167, Deep Work)

Source

Deep Work by Cal Newport

Dissipation of influence through weak ties

Principle

Strong ties are relationships embedded in friendship and close, often daily, interactions with another individual. Weak ties are second degree, third degree, or more degree connections. A subject’s weak ties are linked to a subject’s strong ties through a chain strong tie relationships.

Influential individuals are those with strong ties who possess many strong ties outside of the original individual’s network. When an influential individual takes or experiences a socially significant action, the event ripples out through his or her chains of strong ties.

Once the ‘rippling’ reaches a critical mass, its outward spread grows stronger due to the social pressure exerted by those first strong and weak ties originally affected. It transforms a set of individual concerns to a collective and communal concern.

Source

The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg

Sociology Behind Building Movements

Framework

Three parts to how movements are started:

  1. Strong ties and the habits of friendship
  2. Weak ties and the habits of a community
  3. Movement participants given new habits,a revamped sense of ownership, and a fresh identity
Example
 
     “Rosa Parks and the Montgomery bus boycott became the epicenter of the civil rights campaign not only because of an individual’s act of defiance, but also because of social patterns. Park’s experiences offer a lesson in the power of social habits — the behaviors that occur, unthinkingly, across dozens or hundreds or thousands of people which are often hard to see as they emerge, but which contain a power that can change the world. Social habits are what fill streets with protesters who may not know one another, who might be marching for different reasons, but who are all moving in the same direction. Social habits are why some initiatives become world-changing movements, while others fail to ignite. And the reason why social habits have such influence is because at the root of many movements — be they large-scale revolutions or simple fluctuations in the churches people attend — is a three part process that historians and sociologists says shows up again and again
     A movement starts because of the social habits of friendship and the strong ties between close acquaintances.
     It grows because of the habits of a community, and the weak ties that hold neighborhoods and clans together.
     And it endures because a movement’s leaders give participants new habits that create a fresh sense of identity and feeling of ownership” (217)
Source
 
The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg

Habit Loop

Term

There are three parts to a habit loop: 1) Cue, 2) Routine, and 3) Reward.

 1. The Cue indicates that there’s an opportunity to engage in a useful Routine that will end in Reward.

2. The Routine is the subject’s learned response to the Cue. It is typically an action or set of actions.

3. The Reward determines whether the Cue is worth remembering in the future.

For a habit to be created, it must have a distinct Cues and Rewards. The Cue is simply a signal that leads the subject to beneficial outcomes amidst the noise of day-to-day life. If the subject does not receive a Reward from executing the Routine, the reason to engage in the Routine disappears. And although the Routine will likely be remembered, the Cue will disappear back into the noise. Therefore, Habit Loops must have a Cue that the subject notices and a Reward that the subject rates as desirable (or at least a Reward that its basal ganglia or dorsal medial habenula finds desirable).

Source

The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg