Deep Work: Prioritizing Work That Matters

Div Manickam
5 min readJan 19, 2021
Deep Work

Fascinated by habits and patterns, I started to observe and pay attention to find value in my day-to-day activities — the ones we always do but don’t think about as much.

Little did I know, the practices that I brought into my work over the past few years have been researched and proven techniques in Cal Newport’s book Deep Work. It brought joy to know that I’ve been taking the right steps toward a meaningful career and to remove “busyness” from my work dictionary.

This is a good place to be — to know what your day is worth and focus on the one thing you must do to call it successful. One day at a time, one mindful moment and a step in the right direction.

How many times have I looked back at the end of the year and wondered, where did the time go? Too often. That’s why I decided to change my workplace routines and habits.

This type of change doesn’t happen overnight, and we cannot change all of our habits at once. It’s one change at a time. That’s the most powerful advice I gained from reading The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg.

Being goal-driven has always helped, so I set personal objectives and key results (OKRs) to accomplish the important things and do meaningful work. I started with a question:

“What can I do to change my today into a better tomorrow?”

This shouldn’t be about being better than someone else. It should be about a better you.

Here are a few steps I follow:

1. Fixed Productivity Schedule

If it’s not on my calendar, then it doesn’t exist.

Some folks say that I am very organized. But the truth is, I need clarity of my schedule before the day starts. When meetings get added last minute, it doesn’t help. It actually adds to my stress and anxiety. So, being proactive and planning ahead is key. With my 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. work schedule, I know this time is sacred and I will prioritize what needs to be delivered effectively.

Previously, I was good at giving away my evenings and nights, as well as weekends to work. It didn’t help because I was always catching up. Then it struck me that work will always be there. We should learn to protect our…