Deep work is the work that we do that moves our career, or business forward. It's the work that requires much more focus than the everyday to-dos. For that reason, it's work that I only do when I’m at my best. It's very important to have this work organized to minimize distractions and stay on track.
I typically create a space in my project management tool for this deep work. I can create a project, with tasks, and sub-tasks to stay clear on what needs to be done, and a timeline for completion.
There are many tools available to organize work in this way. Trello, Asana, and Airtable, are a few. They all work essentially the same way. The key is to use a tool to help you get organized.
If you've never organized your deep work into projects these five tips can help you get started.
1. Organize Your Workspace
As we've learned, organizing our workspace — both digital and physical — will save time and can make work more effective.
Before beginning to work on a project, spend time organizing your files, tasks, and resources into one place. This will accomplish two things:
First, you won't need to be endlessly searching for files and resources you need to complete your work.
Second, you will get immediate feedback on the progress that you're making and what remains to be done.
2. Decide what you want to accomplish
Once you have your project set up, you'll want to determine what you want to accomplish. It could be working on a website redesign for a client, scheduling social media posts, or completing your university courses.
Regardless of what you're working on, breaking down the project into tasks, and subtasks makes it easy to see what has to be done, assign due dates, and delegate work to someone else if necessary.
3. Link up your files
Start by creating a system for all your files. Pre-organize your space so it makes sense for you.
Once you have your filing system set up, it's easy to attach files to a project or task. In this way, you will always be one or two clicks away from what you're working on, and you'll be able to maintain your focus. Nothing interrupts workflow more than trying to look for that file.
4. Automate tasks and processes
One of the best ways to organize deep work is by automating repetitive tasks. Automation helps to reduce manual work about work and frees up time for the work that really matters
For example, if there's a task that needs to be completed every week during a project. Creating a recurring task ensures that it's always there on your to-do list so that it's not overlooked and helps things get done when they’re supposed to.
5. Track Your Progress
One of the leading causes of burnout at work comes from the stress of not knowing what's been accomplished, and what remains to be done. This feeling -- like you're spinning your wheels and not getting anywhere -- when left unchecked can lead to burnout.
When your work is organized, you can see exactly what needs to be done and what remains to be completed, by when. This is particularly important when you are working on multiple projects at the same time.
Tracking your progress in your project management tool gives you visual cues that can further enhance your focus and drive. As you complete each task, you get visual cues on what you've accomplished, and what remains to be done. This then takes the guesswork out of planning your day because you know which items should be prioritized.
Let's Wrap Up
Deep work is what moves our career and business forward. Like any other type of work, it requires a lot of organization.
Organize your workspace
Decide what you want to accomplish
Linkup your files
Automate tasks and processes
Track your progress
Need help organizing your Deep Work?
I work with young professionals and entrepreneurs and help them be more focused and effective at work and business.