Voice Over - 23 February 2018
Let's talk Deep Work... aka the Zone... aka Flow State. Basically, we all have a combination of time, place, and mood that shift us into a state in which the ideas and the energy just flow. We are at our peak performance pumping out mental widgits at a prodigous pace. Pop, pop, pop. We knock out a backlog of emails or we write that report for a bunch of senior thinkers. We design a workshop, compose a song, write a poem. It's intoxicating, this state. I bet there is something in there about endorphins or our good friend Dope Dopamine. Flow is both exilerating and satisfying in a way that only scratching a truly deep itch can be. We feel smart, efficient, powerful. We weild a sharp sword of Doneness at the Krufty Monster of Mendacity.
Then some dumb ass interupts us.
No really. That's what happens. Some one or some thing for perfectly valid reasons of its own decides to poke into our zone and the entire headrush pops like a soap bubble hitting a pine tree.
I know this because I've gamed, I've coded, and I've written creatively. I've experienced flow in durations so long that I smelled like sweaty socks, my eyes almost glued shut, and I actually lost weight. There was no dumb ass to make me stop so I just kept going and going and going living like an air plant on a heady combination of smug superiority leavened with a giddy excitement and anticipation of what amazing thing might pop out next. Unless something happens, you stay in deep work, because it is so addictative. In the Zone there literally is nothing else that matters.
Do you know how rarely I get to drop into flow at work now? It's virtually impossible. It's why I work from home. I have to. While the group I work with makes me smile every day, while the people I coach and the teams I am priviledged to train make me high in a completely different way, it isn't deep work. It isn't the zone. And if I'm stupid enough to arrange my work/home life to not set aside time, space, energy and permission to indulge in a selfish spree of deep work, I get super cranky.
But today, I hit the pace. It was AWESOME. You should be jealous. My fingers are sore and I can't feel my ass. And to be fair, the first thing Aeron said when my dumb ass daughter interrupted me after school was that I smelled bad. Sure. But it was worth it! Find your zone people. Best four hours spent not moving an inch EVER.
"Deep work is the ability to focus without distraction on a cognitively difficult task. It's a skill that allows you to quickly master compllicated information and product better reuslts in less time." ~ Cal Newport