During this past month of Intention setting, Dave and I realized just how much we want to do in 2020. We also realized that in order to make it happen without burning out, we need to be just as intentional about making time and space for it.

That’s why we are planning to take several weeks off from writing our weekly Reflections to allow for some much needed “deep work”. During this sprint, we plan to dedicate our focused energy towards Reflection.app, the Holstee Membership, and a few new product concepts that we’ll share later this year. 

The concept of “deep work” was popularized by researcher and productivity expert Cal Newport in his book Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World

Newport defines deep work as: “Professional activity 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.”

It’s a valuable skill to hone, regardless of your craft. It’s also becoming simultaneously more valuable and more rare. Deep work requires us to be incredibly intentional with our time, which is really difficult when we have a lot of things vying for our attention. 

Newport offers three strategies to build a deep work habit:

  1. Schedule distraction-free periods, ideally with hard start and stop times.

  2. Develop a rhythmic deep work schedule, so that you no longer need to decide when or if you will go deep that day. Newport suggests blocking time in the morning if possible.

  3. Have a daily ‘shutdown’ ritual in which you make a plan for how you’ll finish incomplete tasks the following day. This will allow you to disconnect for the evening and get quality sleep so you can be ready and energized the next day.

We’re excited to test out these principles during our own deep work sprint, and we’ll be sure to share our learnings once we’re back. 

While we’re taking a break, we’ve collected some of our favorite Reflections from the archive and will be sharing one every Monday. We hope this is a way to revisit the ideas that most resonated with our community, while keeping with the weekly Reflections tradition.

Look forward to being back in touch very soon! 

Mike (and Dave)
Co-Founders, Holstee

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This article is part of our series on the theme of Intention.

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Our Themes

Distilled from our Manifesto, positive psychology, the science of mindfulness, and ancient philosophic studies we have identified twelve themes core to living both fully and mindfully. We mapped these twelve themes to each of the twelve months in a year. Together with our community we explore one each month.

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