Dividing the work day

I am a big fan of deep work and deep rest, and have been pondering about these two concepts a lot. I feel that both are the foundation of my current work style, and they allow me to find joy on a daily basis. At this moment of my life I feel aversion to a culture of exhaustion, and I am looking forward to learn to sustain good work for the rest of my life. The idea that I need to work super hard until burn-out just for a period of my life, does not suit me. The outline of the work-day below is to help me realize that to pull-out 10 hours of deep work is not an easy task – maybe not even reasonable – and it eats up all the wake hours.

Unit of work: 1 hour of deep work + 10 minutes break.

My interpretation of deep work: time dedicated to the task at hand without interruption or distractions that are not related to task at hand.

How do 8 hours of deep work look like? It looks like 8 hours of deep work + 80 minutes of breaks. In total: 9 hours and 20 minutes of the day.

If I want to finish by 6 pm and do 8 hours of deep work I would need to start at 7:40 am in the morning. It would include 1 hour for lunch. Going to the restroom is permitted during deep work. Making a hot drink and snacks are allocated during the 10 minutes breaks.

The rule is that the regular working day would finish at 6 pm. The planning for the next day is done during the last hour of deep work. This is so nothing work related spills out of the 9 hours and 20 minutes ‘the workday’. After 6 pm go for complete detachment from work.

From 6 pm to 7 pm I could have dinner and then start another 2 hours of deep work, which will end at 9:20 pm. These two hours of deep work during the nights could be dedicated to learning something ‘non-work’ related.

The weekends are unstructured. The weekdays work stuff and nights non-work activities are not allowed during the weekend.

Then I would sleep from 10 pm until 6 am in the morning. Doing personal stuff usually takes until 7:20 am and that leaves enough buffer time to start at 7:40 am.

After reflecting on this schedule I see that deep rest is not integrated in each day. Unless the 2 last deep hours of the day would be considered rest. That is indeed very task specific, and some activities could be draining or restorative.

I really wonder how I would tackle work if I were not living on my own. There are added variables: partners, relatives, kids, pets, etc. At which times Am I allowed to be a human? When would I see my friends? There is not a lot of uninterrupted time during the day, and to pull off 10 hours of deep work still demands the majority of the day.

I have not even considered the fact my energy will fluctuate during the day and that not all the hours will be equally efficient. I wrote this piece mainly to make me realize that there are not a lot deep work hours during the day. And, that if you allocate deep work all over the day, there is no time left for deep rest.

(photo by monicachatterton)

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