Looking for advice on how to plan your day effectively? How can planning your day in 30-minute chunks help you be more productive?
In Cal Newport’s Deep Work, he suggests that you make a checklist for the work day and for your end-of-day shutdown. Following these checklists will help keep your deep work schedule on track.
Keep reading for Cal Newport’s deep work checklists.
Checklist: Planning Your Day in 30-Minute Chunks
The book Deep Work suggests that you plan your day in half-hour blocks. This will 1) help you focus on a single task without switching, 2) carve out time for deep work, 3) confine distraction time to specific periods. You can complete this checklist with your favorite calendar app.
- Make a list of tasks you need to finish in the day.
- Schedule time for each task to the nearest half-hour. Be realistic, but also set a challenging deadline to force focus.
- Schedule time in advance for when you’ll use the Internet. Avoid it completely outside these times.
- Schedule overrun blocks for tasks you suspect might run overtime.
- Look over your schedule. If you have lots of shallow tasks (more than 30-50% time), consider how you can replace these with deeper work.
- During the day, if you have momentum on a task or feel particularly inspired, keep going. After you’re done, reorganize your schedule.
- At the end of the day, review the accuracy of your time blocks.
- Reflect: how well did you focus during the day? How could you focus better tomorrow?
Checklist: End-of-Day Shutdown
Try to end each workday with a shutdown procedure like this one. By clearly stopping work, you’ll free your mind to relax.
- Check your emails for any last urgent items.
- Update your todo list of unfinished items.
- Make sure every item in your todo list is scheduled to be done at some point.
- Look through your calendar to make sure there aren’t important deadlines you forgot.
- Make a todo list of tasks tomorrow.
- Say “shutdown complete” to explicitly mark the end of work.
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Like what you just read? Read the rest of the world's best book summary and analysis of Cal Newport's "Deep Work" at Shortform .
Here's what you'll find in our full Deep Work summary :
- How deep work is critical for performance and productivity
- Why focus is like a mental muscle
- Why willpower isn't as good as a ritual