In This Episode…
Today I have been cracking on with a big job. I’ve taken all day to focus on just this one project. It has required a lot of deep thinking and focused concentration. But maintaining that level of concerted mental application throughout the day has been a real challenge.
In this episode I explore the challenges I faced and ask what they really mean and whether the struggle is necessary for deep work.
Episode Transcript (Edited)…
Hi and welcome to today’s episode of the Profit Productivity Podcast. It’s your host, Michael Tipper. Who else would it be?
Now today’s episode is going to be called “The Trouble With Concentrated Effort Is That It Requires Concentration”.
So some background to today’s episode. After designing, installing and setting to work, my new research and idea generation process, I’m now back at work. So with that I was working on my business. Now I’m back at work, I’m working in my business.
Now my current project is the creation of marketing collateral for my productivity coaching services. Now that requires me to write some promotional material. I’ve got to gather the features and the benefits and explain the value of working with me to develop productivity.
In order to do that, I need to think quite deeply about what I do and position it in a way that prospective clients can read and see the value in at least exploring a conversation with me.
So I’ve got to write some quite persuasive copy.
In order to do that, I’ve got to concentrate because it’s not simply writing “this is great, use it”. No, I’ve really got to create the case for why coaching is important and what I can do to help and why working with me is worthwhile.
Now regular listeners of this podcast will recall a few episodes I did last year where I explored the book Deep Work by Cal Newport. That was episode 111 through to episode 119. The principle in that cow’s book is that great work comes from focused effort over a significant amount of time.
So today has been about putting myself, throwing myself indeed into deep work . I’ve been working on this sales material pretty much all day. It’s all I’ve done today.
I started at 0830 this morning after I’d done my morning routine, my exercises, my stretches and had breakfast. It’s now just gone 1630 and I’ve just finished the first partially edited draft of the material. It is at least in a state where I can publish it online.
And it’s been really interesting. It’s been really hard. It’s been difficult throughout the day.
I’ve struggled to focus on applying myself to task. I’ve had to think really, really hard and solve some problems about how I’m going to express things, what words to use, what images to choose .
Any opportunity I’ve had to distract myself from doing that I’ve taken. So having meals, having snacks, getting a cup of tea or just doing an errand around the house.
I think a way of describing how I felt during this activity is that it’s like agitated action. And so at times it’s been frustrating.
At times I’ve not wanted to do it, but I’ve forced myself to do it and the job has got done. Now I’ve had these feelings before when I’ve applied myself so it’s not the first time I’ve felt like this.
But back to today. I have a sense of satisfaction that I’ve done the job. There’s an even sense of smug satisfaction that it was quite hard and I did it anyway.
But I think the question going through my mind right now is about this feeling I’m having. Is this approach a necessary evil of throwing myself into something to create something of value or something of significance.
Or am I just deficient in some way and that it’s a weakness on my part which means I will always struggle to do work like this?
And that’s the question that’s going through my mind. Maybe it doesn’t matter because I got the job done.
Or maybe it does matter because if I keep doing work like this, I’m going to put myself under a lot of stress. I’m not sure. But it’s just an interesting thing to reflect on.
My gut tells me that it’s a necessary evil and that I have to, I suppose, struggle a little bit in order to tap into my creativity – to tap into my expression – to find alternative ways and have the frustrations because that’s how good things come about.
Because if it was easy, then everyone would do it.
I’m probably talking myself into an answer here that perhaps it is a necessary evil. And so maybe I’ve just got to suck it up and just get on with it, bite the bullet and recognise that it’s part of the process.
I should embrace it and realise that when I’m experiencing that sensation, when I’ve got those feelings, when I’m in agitated action, that actually I’m on the path to creating something of value.
So that stays episode.