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Deep Work: Minimizing distraction to stay focused

As Clay’s DevOps Engineer I am an expert on hosting and software. Whether it’s an earth-shattering issue like an uninstalled framework or something of more impact like fixing vulnerabilities in the CPU’s, my technical knowledge is often needed.

When I started to get interrupted by the Bricks on a daily basis (on Slack, by e-mail and even during my beloved morning coffee) we realized there was an issue to attend to, there is only one of me, and I should take good care of myself.

I now have my very own consultation moment on Wednesday mornings.

Changes needed to be made and I decided ‘easy fixes’ could either wait until they get solved by themselves (like certain issues tend to do) or they could wait. I now have my very own consultation moment on Wednesday mornings. The remaining days are for Deep Work: Minimal distraction in order to spend time on cognitively demanding tasks.

This way of working enables me to schedule my week in a way that I am using my time the most productive. To ensure all categories get the attention it requires, my DevOps week is divided into ‘buckets’:

Schedule Niels

Work Process
The DevOps playing field can be roughly divided into 2 categories, CI/CD and Infrastructure(-as-code). To achieve the goals, DevOps must continuously research needed technologies, implement them and maintain them:

CI-CD Niels
Infrastructure Niels

While working on cross team projects it’s mandatory to have focus. Now I am able to dive into long periods of Deep Work.

This enables me to:

  • Deliver high quality output in less time

  • Improve my ability to focus

  • Achieve goals faster

  • Create the feeling of fulfillment

  • Experience a happier work life

Being able to practice Deep Work is a valuable skill these days. It can be very tough to hold on to your focus in the century of technology: There are distractions everywhere! You need to practice prioritizing issues in order of importance.

Because the Bricks know to wait for Wednesday mornings to come to me with their issues, they either:

  • Solve their own problems (hello Google!)

  • Schedule a coffee date with me, and turn up well prepared (with coffee)

If you treat every beep from your phone or e-mail with the same amount of focus, it could be you are in need of a new work routine.

Read more about the book that started the Deep Work movement by author and professor in Computer Science: Cal Newport, or read how DevOps is maintaining a steady infrastructure at Clay in our previous blog post!

Are you up for some Deep Work yourself? Take a look at Clay’s career page!