Kristy Esparza, Relativity: Mastering Deep Work: 5 Strategies to Improve Your Focus

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Extract from Kristy Esparza’s article “Mastering Deep Work: 5 Strategies to Improve Your Focus”

When’s the last time you checked your phone?

If you’re like the average American, chances are you took a peek in the last 10 minutes.

You’re human! And humans have become conditioned to constantly check in. We check in on work. We check in on the news. We check in on “friends” who aren’t friends at all.

But all this checking in doesn’t come for free. It costs us our focus and our productivity—and honestly, it makes us less happy.

It’s easy to blame social media, but your mild addiction to Instagram isn’t the sole culprit. Workplace apps are equally harmful. Communication channels like email, Slack, Teams, and Zoom make it easy to collaborate on the fly—but they’ve also conditioned us to constantly multi-task.

Our brains don’t like that.

When we jump from task to task, we can’t give a single task the complete focus it deserves. We can’t get into that sweet spot of problem solving. Instead, we spend more time doing less work, and often end up feeling unhappy, frustrated, and anxious about it all, explains Cal Newport, author and computer scientist.

All of these tasks—answering client inquiries, overseeing productions, pursuing training opportunities on the latest tech, networking, collaborating—are worthwhile. In fact, they’re all essential. But when we bounce from one to the other, minute by minute, they don’t get the unbroken attention they need and deserve.

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