The Importance of Deep Work (And How to Do More of It)


Hi, this is Mo Bunnell, your business development expert and author of “The Snowball System: How to Win More Business and Turn Clients into Raving Fans”. Have you ever felt like there are things that you’re not getting to that are really important? Things that take some time to work out? Maybe it’s the development of your own business development system. Coming up with assets, or ‘give to gets’, or documenting objections and how you’d handle them, or ways you can ask for the next step, or even just investing some research and creating some kind of thought piece for a client.

These are things that Cal Newport calls deep work. And in this video, I’m gonna talk about deep work. Really fire you up about its importance. And at the end, I’ll give you the four tips I use to do deep work myself. Here’s the deal. My friend, Bill Henderson gave me the book, “Deep Work” years ago. And whenever Bill gives me a book or suggests one, I pay attention because his criteria and his feel for really, really great thought pieces is fantastic. So when I devoured the book after Bill gave it to me, it really provided some insight into some things I was doing right, and honestly, a lot of things I wasn’t doing right about deep work.

Number one. It’s important. This is the time where you need a couple hours. For me, I need at least two hours to get into it and make meaningful progress. I can’t be distracted. I can’t have meetings. I can’t do a half hour here and a half hour there, and two more of those, and pull it together over the course of the day and that two hours be meaningful. It just doesn’t work like that. You need blocks of time to get these done.

For me, it’s things like moving our business forward, doing R and D, developing new forums, writing a speech, thinking about the perfect rollout at a client and how we can change their culture to be more oriented around growth instead of doing work. And then stuff for our business, too. Like writing “The Snowball System” is a perfect example of deep work that took just literally hundreds of bursts of energy to keep it moving forward and get it all the way to publication.

So you probably have those things too. And the things that I see that are issues in today’s world, as Kyle Newport says, “Our time gets cut up like confetti.” I love that quote of his. It’s a quick check of Facebook here. It’s that back to back meetings there. It’s the never grabbing or having control over your time in a way that lets you get to the things you want to get to.

As we work with our participants that go to our Grow BIG training classes, it’s things like building their business development infrastructure, having the right habits to think about your clients, to have outreach to them. Boxing up, if you will, a ‘give to get’, one of our tools of how our clients invest in their prospects, and being able to package those up in a way that scales a little bit. A ‘give to get’ is really important, and it’s really great. If you give a hundred dollars of value in 10 because you’ve got a system around it, but you gotta develop that. It takes deep work. So deep work is really important, and most people aren’t doing enough. Me included. Everybody. Here are the four tips I use to do more of it. And I could even do more, but we’ve gotten pretty good at this.

Number one. Pick one thing. Pick one thing. There’s lots of things you can do. Pick one thing that you’re gonna do meaningful work on next week.

Okay, two. Block off time. You need boxes of time. You need two hours at minimum, I think, to do a heavy lift, to get into it, to feel like you’re making meaningful progress.

Three. Once you’ve got your block of time, seal off everything around it. From our calendar perspective, you want to turn off all your notifications. You put your phone in another room. Do everything you can do around the details to not get distracted. Prep people beforehand. “Listen, I’m gonna be working on this at this time. If you message me, that’s fine, but I’m not gonna be watching.”

And then the last thing is take all the pressure off yourself. It’s easy to stop because you don’t feel like you can get all the way that you need to. Take the block of time you got and pour your energy into just getting started. If you just get started, what James Clear calls the ‘two minute rule’, if you just focus on setting your goal so low. Yeah, we’ve got two hours, but set your goal goal so low that I’m just gonna get started in the first two minutes.

Things start to roll. They snowball, if you will, from there. And when things get rolling, all of a sudden, a two hours goes by and you are spent. You should feel exhausted after that amount of time when you’re doing deep work. But the goal is to just get started. Your first iteration is going to be awful. It’s gonna be terrible. Set your emotional expectations there. Just get started. Move as far as you can. Create some space, step away, and then come back and iterate to completion from there. That’s how I do it. Pick a thing, figure out how much time you need, block that off, eliminate distractions, and set my emotions around just getting started and realizing the first draft is gonna be awful. That’s okay. If you do that again and again, you get to greatness.

So that’s the idea of deep work. That’s what I do to get over it and to do it well. And here’s a little tip. In next week’s video, I’m going to tell you exactly, with precision, how many hours it took to write “The Snowball System”. I took detailed track of it.vI’ve got it broken out into several segments of what it took to write a book. So I think it’s gonna be interesting to go back and decode, and I’m gonna be super honest with myself about what things went well and what things I did horribly wrong on the way to getting a book published. And, I’m gonna tell you exactly the number of hours by segment. This could be pretty interesting. So tune in next week for that.

As with all our videos, we hope this one helps you help your clients succeed. Well, that’s it for today. Thank you so much for watching. For more content like this, check out my most recent video, and be sure to like them so other people can find out about us.

But make sure you subscribe. That’s how you be automatically alerted to the great content that we put out. And if you want access to a comprehensive system for business development, then just by my book, “The Snowball System” at Amazon. The link is in the description below. Thanks again.

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