Distractions and shallow work constantly threaten to choke out opportunities for deep creative thinking, it's one of the challenges we face on a daily basis as design leaders - how do we protect the team's time whilst venturing further than just simple prioritsation? I believe it comes from vigilance, carving out protected spaces for immersive deep thought and by extension deep work.
- Identify core deep work hours. Define a set time each day when meetings cannot be scheduled and concentration is sacrosanct.
- Build buffers around deep work. Leave buffers before and after deep work time to transition in and out.
- Limit meetings ruthlessly. Cut as many non-essential meetings as possible to free up creative schedules.
- Define distraction-free zones. Clear spaces, desks, or rooms where focused work can happen undisturbed.
- Consolidate updates into digests. Replace frequent status updates with daily or weekly digest summaries.
- Batch administrative tasks. Group admin tasks into a single block to keep them contained.
- Institute quiet days or half days. Ban meetings for an entire day or afternoon each week.
- Encourage focus time for individuals. Advocate team members block out their own distraction-free focus time.
- Make focus visible. Print “Deep Work Hours - Do Not Disturb” signs or indicators.
Role model immersive work. Demonstrate the value of deep work by doing it yourself.
The most original solutions require unbroken concentration and flow. Make defending and cultivating it among your top priorities, distraction comes easily, deliverables do not.