We will begin with a warm-up that will test our readiness for deep work and show us what kind of difficulties we might encounter.
The task for today is this:
Do some kind of manual work for 30 minutes without listening to anything or watching anything. Cooking, folding laundry, cleaning, gardening – it can be anything. But you have to remain alone with your thoughts for half an hour. No music, no reading, no podcasts. It has to be an unbroken stretch of 30 minutes.
For some people, this is so easy that they won’t even understand what I’m talking about. For others, it will be hard. But a daily habit of working with your hands in silence, even if it’s for a short period of time is crucial to developing the kind of concentration you need for deep work.
I once did an important, work-intensive project during a 4-hour wait for a connecting flight at the Barajas airport in Madrid. Absolutely nothing intruded upon my thoughts because I shut it all out. There’s great power in being able to go deep inside, and this challenge is about developing this skill.