Remarkable productivity is not about putting in a lot of hours. It’s about consistently putting in intensely focused hours.
Cal Newport, the author of Deep Work, expresses this critical point as a formula1:
Work Accomplished = Time Spent x Intensity
A small number of high-intensity hours can produce vastly better results than a large number of low-intensity hours.
And that’s excellent news because it means you can work less and still accomplish a lot more.
So, how do you consistently put in high-intensity hours?
Well, to attain deep focus, you first need to have a clear mind. And that means you need to remove any mental clutter.
Let me explain with an example. Imagine that you’re deep into a work assignment. But then, out of nowhere, a thought pops into your head:
“I have to get a birthday present for my sister.”
As you return to your assignment, this task won’t just disappear. It will linger in your mind and take up mental space.
And if you have a lot of these tasks on your mind, they quickly add up and severely impair your ability to focus.
Luckily, you can easily reclaim your mental bandwidth using a Braindump Depot.
This is a system you use to move random tasks out of your mind the moment they appear.
It can be as simple as a pen and paper on your desk. Or a to-do-list on your computer and phone.
The specific tools you use is not important. What’s important is that you continually capture random tasks in your Braindump Depot and return to them at a more appropriate time.
That way, your mind can confidently let go of them, and you can approach your work sessions with deep clarity, calm, and focus.
This article was inspired by David Allen’s “open loops” concept in Getting Things Done.