Few days ago I listened to a podcast from No Stupid Question and it asks whether you are a thinker, a doer, or a charmer? It was such a good description of people’s strengthen. Coming to think about, successful people usually have all three of them. By success, I mean by influence and impact. For instance, for a researcher, success is measured by published journal articles, but handful of people read those journals, so the influence of the researchers’ work is limited. But if the researcher can put in practice his research turning it into policy, then the chance of having real impact increases. But it’s only if the person is also very charming, he can convince the policy maker to adopt his practical suggestions to make a real change in the world.
I can probably think 3 people that I know from my work that have all three qualities, and all of them are super influential people who are thoughtful, humble, good listener, and extremely charming.
I reflect on myself what are my strengths. 10 years ago I was a thinker and a doer, not so much a charmer. Then once I was confident about being thinker and doer, they helped me to be more charming so my ideas can turn into actions. It’s still a work in progress but it was only after I listened to that episode that it all made sense to me. 😆
Yesterday I have meetings from 8:30am to 2:30pm, so I went to the office to office. I brought with me a placemat and a nice bowl so I can enjoy my meal in the office too, not in front of the computer.
Husband and I originally planned to go to golf court for some practice, but it was raining and I was very tired mentally, so we stayed in and watched a new series. It was a nice relaxing afternoon.
Continuing the series of main takeaways from Deep Work
#4 DAILY LIMIT OF DEEP WORK
There is a study that catalogs the practice habits of a group of elite violin players. The study found the elite players average around 3.5 hrs per day in a state of deliberate practice, usually separated into two distinct periods. The implication is that your capacity for deep work in a given day is limited. If you are careful about your schedule, you should hit your daily deep work capacity during your workday. By evening, you re beyond the point where you can continue to effectively work deeply.
This concept makes a lot of sense as I personally experience often that after an intense work of 3-4 hrs, I’m exhausted mentally. Sometimes I wonder why I couldn’t have another of this deep sessions in the PM and felt unproductive. But now I understand that the science has proven that our mental capacity for deep work is limited and we need to recharge the battery for the next day. Obviously I can work beyond 4 hrs if the tasks don’t require much mental energy, which unfortunately takes more than half of my work time, more transactional, a traffic light system to delegate tasks and coordinate with others. I usually do those when I’m tired mentally to do deep work.
This means that maintaining a strict endpoint to your workday is important. Having a shutdown ritual could help to success (meaning no checking emails, not thinking about pending tasks once you finish work). My current shutdown ritual is simple, just shutdown my work computer (i used it leave it on forever until it needs a forced restart to install updates). It’s simple and effective. I don’t turn it on the next morning when I start working.