Is it true that if you wait for motivation to get any work done, you’ll never get anywhere? It certainly sounds plausible. But for many people, particularly those with neurodivergence such as ADHD, the feeling of being motivated may occur less often, or at times when it’s not as needed.
Whether you’re neurotypical or divergent, though, the link between meditation, mindfulness and improved motivation, focus and cognitive function has been proven thoroughly. As the scholars behind a comprehensive 2014 study on the topic put it, “A growing body of research suggests that meditation can enhance various cognitive functions, including attention, memory, and executive function, and that it positively affects brain function and structure relevant to cognition.”
But what if that was brought into the workplace specifically to increase productivity? How would that look? What would we call it?
Author Cal Newport might have the answer. A computer science professor at Georgetown University, Newport has authored a few books about mindful, focused working, including Digital Minimalism, A World without Email and the one that he’s most famous for – and which coined the term – Deep Work: Rules for Success in a Distracted World.
What is deep work?
Deep work is when you’re fully present and immersed in the task at hand. Some people refer to it as being “in the zone” or in a state of flow. It involves being completely focused on a single activity.
Newport’s book blurb says: “Deep work is the ability to focus without distraction on a cognitively demanding task. It’s a skill that allows you to quickly master complicated information and produce better results in less time. Instead of arguing distraction is bad, he instead celebrates the power of its opposite.”
And from inside the book: “Deep work activities are professional activities performed in a state of distraction-free concentration that push your cognitive abilities to their limit. These efforts create new value, improve your skill and are hard to replicate.”
With mindfulness, being present and meditation proving so effective, it would seem logical that working in just such a manner would be the next step.
Deep work activities are professional activities performed in a state of distraction-free concentration that push your cognitive abilities to their limit.
You've previewed 25% of this piece, subscribe now to access this in full.