The #1 Thing I’m Changing From An Honest Audit Of My Own “Deep Work”

Below, you’ll find a glimpse into the honest audit I did of how I spend my time and the single most important thing that I’ve taken away going forward…

So, I spend a lot of time in coffee shops. In those coffee shops, I spend a lot of time inside my Obsidian vault (my “second-brain”). Fortunately, I’m often in a flow-state for a lot of this time. Being in flow is quite addicting and I often find myself craving that feeling, which has continually brought me back.

All that said, I think it’s time to try to slim down and focus in on some of my time spent in these states. On my drive back from Lake Tahoe, California to Denver, Colorado, I listened to a video/course about Deep Work from Hamza Ahmed.

My biggest takeaway from this video was to do an audit of my own work, applying the Pareto Principle (the 80-20 rule) to see which activities were resulting in the most desired outcomes.

I’d like to believe that 100% of my time spent behind a laptop is productive “deep work,” but I think that’s far from reality. I often notice a lot of time is spent doing “busy work,” i.e. things that don’t require much creative brainpower.

Below is the actual note I wrote going through an audit of my own “deep work”

The intention of this note is to remind myself and document the actual things that matter.

“What are the 20% activities that are resulting in 80% of my desired outcomes?”

All Activities

These are all the things I generally spend my time doing.

  • Journaling
    • Gardening (i.e. “cleaning up” my notes, formatting, linking, rereading)
    • Gratitude journaling
    • Inputting ideas I’ve had throughout the day from Google Keep
    • Documenting small things (e.g. things like my ski gear, projects, etc.)
    • Creating structured content
      • Writing a blog post #blog
      • Summarizing a video
      • Synthesizing ideas from various sources
  • Photos
    • Editing
    • Posting

Desired Outcomes

  • Something published (past tense)
    • A blog post
    • A photo
    • A video
  • A problem solved (past tense)
  • More gratitude/appreciation
  • A new insight
  • Knowing or doing more/better than yesterday

Meaningful Activities

These are the activities that produce those desired outcomes.

Highest Leverage

Out of these, what is the single highest leverage activity I could pick?

It’d either be:

  • Publishing a piece of content that solves a very specific problem.
  • Learning a very specific skill that allows me to 1. solve a problem better or 2. solve a more valuable problem.

Shallow Work/Busywork

  • Gardening, to some extent
  • Documenting small things
  • Inputting ideas from Google Keep
    • Can I more-or-less remove this Google Keep step?

Action Items

What am I going to take away from this note/activity?

  • Something Hamza mentioned in his video was doing two 90-minute deep work sessions focused on the highest value activities.
    • Building off of adding gardening+gratitude to my journaling sessions, which I feel has been a small time commitment that has meaningfully resulted in better work (‘warming up’ and more gratitude), I’m going to try starting my work sessions (after gardening+gratitude) with a 60-minute session dedicated SOLELY to either:
      • Creating a piece of content that I’m going to publish
      • Learning a skill (that I’ll inevitably document and publish my learnings)
    • Let’s start off with just a 60-minute session. We can always increase the length later. What’s important now is building the habit of doing something valuable.
  • I’m going to publish this audit to my blog as some accountability.

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