In this constantly switched on world, where the cult of connectedness rules and the 24/7 news cycle is King, many of us have forgotten how to engage in deep, meaningful and impactful work.
According to Dr Amantha Imber, founder of Inventium, shallow work is taking over our lives. From the emails that must be answered to the never-ending stream of team meetings to our obsession with social media, shallow work has become our be-all-and-end-all.
Imber, who has a PhD in organisational psychology, suggests our daily grind is not only killing our creativity it is inhibiting us from doing meaningful work
Likening us to “rats in boxes” who’ve been given random positive affirmation, Imber suggests we need to switch off from social media, disengage from our emails and set about creating a work schedule that will allow us to be more productive and happy.
While we have all been led to believe we should embrace multitasking, Imber says it is anathema to deep thinking. She suggests rather than being a multitasker we should embrace single-tasking.
“Task switching costs us 40 per cent more of our time than if we were doing one task at a time,” she states. “If you just started focusing on one task and seeing it all the way through you get so much more accomplished.”
PauImber tells Kochie’s Business Builders it’s also time to abandon ‘manager time’ and approach work from a different head space.
“We are living in a world that runs on manager time – essentially a day that runs in 30-60 minute increments. But because we have meetings scattered throughout our day, we don’t get time to actually engage in deep work. Our working life structure is working against us.”
She suggests there are simple steps you can take to reclaim your time and be more productive.
“For most of us, the best time to do deep work is between 9-1pm. Typically it’s in the first few hours after you’ve woken.”
For this reason, Imber schedules all her ‘deep work’ for the morning.
“I do two to three hour sprints on deep work in the morning and then I hop onto my emails after lunch. I have meetings between 1-4pm and I say no to a lot of meetings. I don’t default to a 30-60 minute meeting. If I can solve a problem in ten minutes I will. And I set all my internal meeting on a specific day.”
By embracing a new way of working, Imber has managed to lose her procrastination and up her productivity. And she says you can do it too!
Imber’s top tips to end shallow work and embrace deep thinking
Put your maker time before your reactive time.
Be really deliberate about designing your day.
Schedule your deep work for the morning.
Rats in boxes – how d we get the rats to press on the lever. Get the rat to push the lever by rewarding with food. The rat did it more often to get food.
How can we get the rat to press even more frequently.
Only giving rat food pellet at random intervals – by having positive random schedule – it made the rat push the lever more.
This is an example of rats in boxes… social media – you’re getting that hit –
So what can you do to get more focussed deeper work done.
Goal shifting and rule activation happens. I shut down the rules for one activity to another.