We live in a very busy and distracted world, which makes Cal Newport’s Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World a perfect book choice for anyone trying to improve their productivity. We recommend reading or listening to the whole book, but we also broke down the concepts so you can get a head start on your new productive strategies.
Who it works for:
Anyone wanting to increase their productivity, especially knowledge workers
Anyone who wants to get more done, but in less time
Anyone interested in the science of multitasking, attention, and productivity
What is Deep work?
Professional activities performed in a state of distraction-free concentration that push your cognitive capabilities to their limit. These efforts create new value, improve your skill, and are hard to replicate.
“The Deep Work Hypothesis: The ability to perform deep work is becoming increasingly rare at exactly the same time it is becoming increasingly valuable in our economy. As a consequence, the few who cultivate this skill, and then make it the core of their working life, will thrive.”
According to Newport, most workers today succumb to something he calls increasingly visible busyness or busyness as proxy for productivity. In the absence of clear indicators of what it means to be valuable and productive at work, many knowledge workers turn toward an industrial indicator of productivity: doing lots of stuff in a visible manner.
Deep work is valuable because it maximizes the amount of productivity you can squeeze out of a certain amount of time.
Deep work is single-tasking
Multi-tasking just causes you to take longer to complete many tasks simultaneously.
Multi-tasking causes attention residue:
Attention Residue: everytime you’re switching from one task to another, a residue of your attention remains stuck thinking about the previous task. This makes it hard to work with the necessary focus and intensity required for deep work on the new task. As a result, you lose a little bit of productivity every time you switch tasks.
Focusing on one task at a time maximizes productive output.
Productive meditation can help you work deeper, even while you’re taking a break
Stop working at the same time each day
Your brain needs space at night to wind down. Quit work, stop checking email, turn off computer, etc. at the same time each day.
“…getting the most out of your deep work habit requires training, and as clarified previously, this training must address two goals: improving your ability to concentrate intensely and overcoming your desire for distraction.”
Practice a few and track your habits. Find out which works best and continue its use.
The monastic approach: Monastic comes from monastery – the place where monks live. It means shutting yourself off completely, for example by moving to a cabin in the woods to write a novel, and not come back until it’s finished.
The bimodal approach: This prioritizes deep work above everything else. You could set a 4-6 hour block each day for deep work, for example, where you lock yourself in your office, similar to the monastic approach. However, once that block is over, you’re free to do everything else that might be on your plate.
The rhythmic approach: This chunks down your work into time blocks, similar to the Pomodoro technique, and uses a calendar to track your progress. For example you’d plan your week ahead of time and put 10 blocks of 90 minutes on your calendar, and make working with timed blocks a habit.
The journalistic approach: If you have a busy daily routine, this works well. What you do is to simply dedicate any, unexpected free time to deep work.
Four Rules of Deep Work:
Rule #1: Work Deeply. Working deeply, due to its effortful nature, is the very thing most of us don’t want to do. Add to this an environment and culture that makes deep work difficult, and a finite amount of willpower that gets depleted as we use it, and you have a recipe for shallow work. To make deep work a staple in our day-to-day lives, we need to create rituals and routines that make things easier and more automatic for us.
Rule #2: Embrace Boredom. Intense concentration is a skill that must be trained. Much like athletes who must take care of their bodies outside of their training sessions, you’ll need to take care of your concentration outside of your deep work sessions. If, throughout your day-to-day life, you give in to distractions at the slightest hint of boredom, you’ll struggle to develop the type of intense concentration necessary for deep work.
Even worse, you’ll literally train and rewire your brain for on-demand distraction. The result? You’ll be wired for getting distracted over and over again even if you want to concentrate and work deeply.
The solution? Embrace boredom. Stop checking your inbox or looking at your smartphone at every opportunity you get. Train your ability to resist distractions.
Rule #3: Quit Social Media. Social media is the prime example for shallow living. Just because it offers a little benefit, doesn’t mean it’s worth the time we give it. You simply can’t work deeply if you feel the need to hop on social media every couple of minutes. Due to its addictive nature, social media and deep living don’t go well together.
Rule #4: Drain the Shallows. The Shallows is the name of a book written on the effects of the Internet on our brains and lives. Shallow work, refers to answering emails, making phone calls, attending to meetings, and other inevitable but ultimately low-value tasks. If you’re serious about working deeply, you need to drain the Shallows – you need to schedule time for deep work and spend as little time on shallow work as possible. Don’t let shallow work get in the way of deep work.
For your office, I’d recommend purchasing the HP OfficeJet 3830 Wireless Printer ($37). You can copy, scan, and print from your phone. It makes ink replacement easier than ever by tracking how much you have left and ordering more before you run out! I love the optional “quiet mode” feature and plan to use it during our podcast recording sessions.
If you’re like me, you like to keep up with the latest and greatest from Apple. If so, you know that many of the newer devices have less ports. Here’s where the Lention 4-in-1 USB-C Hub comes in. With this multiport charging and connecting adapter, you can hook up and plug in whatever you need all at once. It’s just shy of $20 and well worth it!
Who hates clutter?! Everybody, right? Keep your office organized with an mDesign Wall Mount/Over the Door organizer ($13). It’s great for office supplies like notebooks, planners and file folders. It has an adorable gray/cream chevron pattern that fits well with most office decor.
I am all about whiteboards for offices. They are great for planning and note taking, writing down goals, and tracking numbers. I have multiple Dry Erase White boards ($33) at home and in the office. This one wipes down easily and comes with five magnetic markers.
We always aim to be as open and transparent as possible and so I want to tell you that we do affiliate marketing with these items — meaning we make a small amount of money when you purchase them from our links. But every single item is something we have purchased, used, and loved — otherwise we wouldn’t partner with them! Check out the rest of our affiliates. We have “Workspace Must-Haves”, “Home Necessities”, and “Favorite Self-Care Products.”
Let us know what you are getting for your office this year!
I’ve been asked a few times what my days are like as an entrepreneur. Every day is different, of course. Some days are more fun than others, but each day is full of phone calls, tons of emails, meetings, and usually a visit to the office.
So here is a sneak peak into a day in my life…
I started the day off getting my hair and makeup done for a photoshoot. I’ll admit, everyday is not this glamorous. But even on a day where I’m all done up, I’m still working!
After I got done with my photoshoot, I ate some cauliflower fried rice in my car. I took a few phone calls and bid on a set of calves that would go to Canada. I also called someone to see if he wanted to buy some bred calves.
Then I headed into the office to do two videos — one for our Free Facebook course and a cattle video. Our Free Facebook course gives all my tips and tricks.
I finally got home to a sink full of dishes and a car full of clothes. When I get home I like to diffuse some essential oils. I’ve been using the Christmas Spirit blend by Young Living. This is also the time in the day where I empty out my briefcase and make sure all my papers are in order.
Every night in November we did a giveaway, so I did a Facebook Live Q&A.
Once I finished up the Q&A, I sent off an article on how to stay organized that will be published in Winter Cattle Journal.
At about 7:20 p.m. I was ready for my hot lemon water and other nightly rituals. That morning I woke up at 4:30 a.m. I love being an entrepreneur for the time freedom, but a lot of days that means I’m working more hours than I would be at a 9 to 5. I work really hard on the days I do work, so I can enjoy other days where I don’t have to work as much.
I’m curious, what does time freedom mean to you? Comment below.
Head on over to the Acceleration Nation to move your business forward. Stop feeling like you’re constantly behind and take full advantage of actionable marketing tools. You deserve to be as successful as you possibly can.
I see you. I see you disappointed because you advertised a Black Friday sale that didn’t work. I see you typing away on your laptop trying to write the perfect social media posts while your family watches the parade. I see you politely smiling when your aunt makes a backhanded compliment at dinner about your “little business.” I see you rubbing the sleep from your eyes, hours after everyone else in your house is sound asleep, while you struggle to cross one more task off your to-do list.
I want you to know you’re not a failure just because your deals weren’t claimed. You aren’t wasting your time just because your post only got two likes. Your business isn’t little.
The only thing you have that no one else has is you — your mind, your story, your vision, your creativity. Don’t waste your time trying to be like anyone else because nobody can do you better than you can.
Remember, you cannot compare your beginning to someone else’s middle. As a small business owner, this can be challenging. There are some businesses who made it look like their Black Friday deals were sold out even though they weren’t. There are business owners who falsify their excitement on social media. Don’t let anything you see online make you feel bad.
Remember that your income from Black Friday does not determine your importance or your worth. It is one day out of the year and you are putting in the work to build your business every single day.
There are 33 more days in 2018. You have 33 days to kick some serious butt.
I realize it’s very easy to get pulled into the holiday craziness. But you make your business a priority — even when it’s inconvenient or you just don’t feel like it. Real winners in business are those who put their nose to the grindstone when they have a more enticing option.
So yes, we’ll be the ones saying “no” to a Christmas party or two so we can move our businesses forward. It feels so hard in the moment, but we know that these small sacrifices make all the difference.
Schedule out your work days, say “no” to a few gatherings, and use the next month to launch yourself into an incredibly successful 2019. Success in not your income or the number of followers you have on Facebook. Success doesn’t have to be massive and unobtainable. Success is the dent, the impact, you are making in this world. It really doesn’t matter if your audience is 30 people or 30 thousand people. When was the last time you had 30 people crowded into a room to hear what you have to say?
You are impacting lives — even if you feel like a small fish in a big pond. I don’t want you to completely forget about your Black Friday deal that flopped. But instead of dwelling or feeling upset, use it as a rock to build your tower. Use the lessons you learned and customer feedback to discover what the next right move is for your business.
It can definitely sting when a strategy fails or a customer shares a negative experience they had with your company. I’ve been there. Use that sting to become better. Take note of why it didn’t work out the way you planned and utilize that information to make strategic choices with your next sale. Then let it go and continue to move forward.
How much money you made on Black Friday doesn’t mean anything about your success. Some of you were depending on that money to help with Christmas. I know this hurts because the money you were expecting didn’t come in. Keep your head up and don’t give up. Your success is not defined by how many people pushed “buy now” on your black Friday deal.
It’s difficult as a business owner to be able to cut loose on an idea. We take it very personally, which I think is part of being a business owner. But the biggest issue I see is not cutting loose on a project when it’s just not working.
I think, in general, we can be too wishy washy. There is something to be said about putting your nose to the grindstone and working very hard — even if it takes a while. Overnight success is not a reality. You need to make sure that you are not cutting loose an idea just because you’ve been at it 15 minutes and it’s not working. That’s not a good business move.
Before you start a project, define what success looks like. What does success look like for you and this idea? You can’t know when to cut an idea loose if you’ve never defined success.
I hear customers and KRose Marketing group members say,
“Well I quit that because I was a failure.”
“OK what defined it as a failure?” I ask.
“It wasn’t working well,” they respond
That’s not enough.
People tell me all the time,
“Social media isn’t working for me.”
“OK, how many times have you posted in the last week?”
“Well I posted once.”
Of course it’s not working for you because you’re not putting in the effort. Looking at your Facebook page is not doing work on Facebook. You have to know when you’re actually putting in the effort and when you’re not.
When you start an idea, you have to define what success would look like. If it’s booking 100 consulting clients and when you only book one, you say this project didn’t succeed. But if you defined success as booking 5 clients and you booked 4, well that’s still success even though it might not have been 100 percent success. You still booked 4 out of 5, which was your goal.
It is time to cut loose an idea is when you have not reached the marker of success and you’ve tried many avenues. Make sure you aren’t calling everything a failure. If you wanted to book 5 customers and you only booked 3, to me, that’s still a success.
I practice “Good, Better, Best” when I define levels of success in life. What is good, what is better, and what is best. Say you want to book 5 consulting customers. Maybe good is 3, better is 4, and best is 5. Are you defining success properly? Are you executing it in the best way possible?
If something isn’t serving you or your customers well, feel confident calling it off. You don’t owe it to anyone to keep doing the same services. You have to trust your gut. I think that’s most important — that you listen to your intuition. If it’s telling you that this project isn’t serving your customers well or you don’t love doing it, get rid of it.
The reason you’re in business for yourself is to serve people and do what you do best. If it’s not something you do best, end it and feel confident ending it. Make sure you’re not ending projects because they’re not reaching a level of success you never defined. Otherwise you’ll be wishy washy and jump from project and business to other projects and businesses without ever achieving much.
Make sure you know success and also make sure you are putting in the effort before you throw in the towel.
Download our Monthly Success Guide to start setting goals, define your version of success, and prepare to reach those goals well!
I share with you the hottest marketing strategies every month, but today I wanted to share some of the tools and resources I find timeless. These are the programs and systems my team and I use on a daily basis, and I don’t see them going away anytime soon.
Asana is an incredible platform I use to manage my business. My team and I use Asana as a project management system. It allows me to keep track of all the employees, contractors and projects. I can add deadlines, tag team members, keep projects, and much more.
One of my favorite uses of Asana is our “Daily Check-in”. Everyday the KRose team logs in and writes what three things they are working on that day. At the end of the day, we have a “Ta-done list”. We go in and type everything we finished for the company. I can check in, answer any questions, and see the business moving forward. I know exactly how many emails were sent, phone calls made and what other projects were accomplished. It gives us all a sense of accomplishment because we finished all those tasks on the Ta-done list.
The best part about Asana is the ability to organize different projects. When we have a project for our customers, you can assign recurring events, such as posting on Instagram, which we do every single day. Asana gives us a main platform where we can all come together, see what’s due that day, see what everyone’s working on and keep tabs on all the projects.
Through Asana, you can set up notifications for email and/or on the phone app for when someone tags you or you have a task due. This is great when a team member tags me or asks my expertise. I’m allowed to go in and answer them without a bunch of back-and-forth emails. Asana is incredible that way.
It comes in a desktop version and an app version. You can have different teams, you can have different projects. We love Asana for helping move our business forward.
I get asked all the time, “What do you use for your Live videos on Facebook?” It’s a great question. We all know video is extremely important, both on Facebook, Instagram, and your website. If you’re not doing Facebook Live, you’re missing out. People watch millions of hours of video there. I have a video all about common mistakes I see on Facebook.
So let’s talk about the program I use for Facebook Live. It’s important to use a program for a couple different reasons. This program allows me to schedule my Facebook Lives. I can tell my tribe I’m going to be Live tomorrow at 11 a.m. and they can get a reminder when I hop on. This is priceless.
Ecamm Live allows us to automatically download our Facebook Live videos so we can repurpose them. Every Facebook Live we do turns into one or two instagram captions, 15 quotes, a blog, and an email that’s filled with value. You need to make sure you’re downloading your Facebook Lives so that you can repurpose the content.
It gives you the opportunity to share your screen. While you’re on Facebook Live, if you want to teach something and need to hop over to your website, check your pixels, or whatever you need, it allows you to flip the screen over. You can share your background or share a powerpoint when teaching on Facebook Live. Ecamm Live does have a small cost. It’s an incredibly powerful tool.
On our Live videos we put the KRose logo in the corner so people know who I am and what I’m talking about without having to look far. I highly recommend utilizing this program so you can create Facebook Lives that impacts your viewers now, plus you can save content for later.
As a small business owner, the bidding process can be really challenging. Before we invested in 17 Hats, we were struggling to follow up with customers and keep track of who received a bid. It’s really important to find a tool that helps organize the process. Here’s where 17 Hats comes in.
When we found this program it was a game changer for us. We can enter someone in as a contact, say what they’re interested in, and tag an employee who needs to follow up with them. We have email templates that are pre-written to talk to the customer.
For example, in our logo bidding process, the email we send when we bid a logo is already pre-written. We go in and customize it to the person with a bid and it can be sent within about two minutes. No longer do I need to come up with a custom email. It includes all the wonderful things I want our audience to see and I can send it right away.
It comes in a checklist, so if they receive the bid email, and they haven’t replied in advance, we have a follow up email we can go in and send 4 days later. If they book the project, it tells us to send an invoice, and gets them in touch with their designer. We send the first round of drafts and it’s all laid out for you in 17 Hats. It helps us stay organized and is well worth the investment.
Speaking of organization, download our free Monthly Success Guide to set goals, manage your budget, and stay on track to growing your business.
I talk more in depth about each of these tools over on our new YouTube page. Remember to like and subscribe as we build our channel!
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