Deep Flow

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INTRO

Set aside 90 mins for deep work

Look at the clock. Set aside 90m+ for a deep, uninterrupted session of work. We'll stay on track by following these four steps in order: center, grasp, layer, and place.

Surrender to this workflow, even its imperfections. The brain can't engage in deep work if it's also busy managing itself, so for now, turn off the inner-manager so you can stay on track.
CENTER

Move the body

Do a 1-5m mini-workout or stretch. Prep your body for work like an athlete preps for a race. Here are some ideas:

Clear your space

Clear your physical and digital space of distraction. This is also a good time to turn off notifications, lock doors, or ask others not to interrupt you.
CENTER

Center on the breathe

Breath in emptiness; breath out ego. Breath in light; breath out dark. Below is an example of the square breathing technique if it helps you. Both yogis and Navy Seals use it to energize and relax their nervous systems.

Bring your true self to this work and not your ego. Stay here for as long as you'd like. Click "Next Step" when you're ready.

CENTER

Empty your mind

Empty your mind. Leave behind all your todos and ideas here. Don't let these thoughts tempt you to leave the page.

At the end of dumping out your thoughts and todos, you can spend 60 seconds (max) transferring over things you need to remember into your inbox or todo system. Again, don't get lost here.

GRASP

Find your north star

What do you suspect is your most important goal, system, or habit? The one whose success or failure renders the rest less important.

Don't worry about a perfect answer. Doing imperfect work is part of finding your answer.

GRASP

Find a swift step

What one thing you will do in the next 90m+ to advance swiftly to that goal?

Prefer work that ends in something imperfect & shareable (private work prevents evolution and is a form of procrastination).

If you have an organized todo list, you can consult it for your top priorities. If you don't have such a system yet, for now you can use a prompt (click on "need a prompt" below).

Need a prompt?
GRASP

Checkpoint

Rewrite your original task and why it's important. Feel free to modify or change it if you feel more clarity.

GRASP

Paint a picture

Paint a clear picture of the final outcome (5m). Use your unconscious mind to paint a lucid vision of success (optionally failure too). Use your conscious mind to reduce that vision to something clear and measurable.
GRASP

Optional: break it down into first principles

If the task is complex or ambiguous, break down the work into first principles.
Get underneath the mind's complexity, by breaking down your work into its simplest components and relationships. Explain the simple facts of the work as if talking to a 5 year old (simple, direct, honest language). Uncover where your mind doesn't understand something or is distorting reality.
GRASP

Define a scope

Define a trustworthy scope. List all the things you won't do. (3m)
Over-scoping prevents you from getting real work done. You can often define the scope in negative terms (e.g., "I won't cover this topic. I won't handle this use case.")
GRASP

Measure your understanding

“To understand is to know what to do” (Wittgenstein). Do you feel you know?
From quiet and understanding, you can create and place your work
WORK

Checkpoint

Summarize your understanding from the last section (1m)
WORK

Plan

Divide your work into layers. E.g., 15m gather research, 15m brainstorm, 15m first draft, 15m edits
WORK

Commit

“To understand is to know what to do” (Wittgenstein) — do you feel you know?
WORK

Execute on your plan

Work against your plan in layers and don't leave your scope! If you lose your place just swiftly retrace your steps from "Start."
PLACE

Share

Is it ready to share with at least one other person?
The deeper you can place your work into the real world, the more it'll compound and the more dangerous you'll be. To shine in your field, grossly prefer public-facing work that gets you the fast feedback. Sacrificing your ego and perfectionism is a ceremony itself.
PLACE

Placement checklist

“To understand is to know what to do” (Wittgenstein) — do you feel you know?
Challenge: build in the open and post all your major accomplishments to Twitter. We're building an accountability community posting something big every Friday. #pushfriday.
PLACE

Feedback for the #pf community (optional)

This workflow is thanks to feedback from many awesome creators. It'd be great to incorporate your own ideas and experience into it. Any feedback you might share?
END

Woot!

You did it. Go celebrate myself and this cherished act of deep work.

It's important to instill strong habits by balancing hard work with hard relaxation and reward. We are creatures of habit. So now go enjoy yourself for a bit. Life's short.
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