Enhancing deep work: The transformative power of wellbeing

By Dr Camille Koppen (PhD, Oxon) the founder of Brightwings Performance, which helps businesses to build productive, motivated and emotionally intelligent teams

What is deep work?

Deep work is a blissful state of focused and undistracted concentration on a cognitively demanding task. It is a state of flow where time flies by, distractions fade away, and creative insights emerge effortlessly. It’s when you concentrate so intensely there is no attention leftover for worry, fear, or self-criticism. It is in this rare place of inspiration, motivation and passion that you can create work that is of the most value.

 

And this is what we need to do to thrive in today’s economy.

We’ve all experienced deep work. It’s incredibly satisfying. But, at the same time, I’m sure we’ve also all experienced how rare and challenging it is to attain.

In our modern world filled with constant connectivity, social media notifications, and information overload, deep work has become increasingly elusive. The allure of quick distractions and our perpetual sense of busyness can hinder our ability to engage in sustained periods of deep focus. Moreover, our fast-paced lifestyles often neglect the crucial foundations of well-being, essential for the cognitive foundations of deep work.

 

The good news is that there are two things we can do to bring more deep work into our lives. The first is to prioritise our well-being. The second is to manage our time to schedule in more deep work.

Why valuing your wellbeing is essential for deep work

Exercise for enhanced focus and mood:

Physical activity boosts blood flow to the brain, creates structural changes in the brain to improve focus and memory, and regulates hormone and neurotransmitters to improve mood and reduce stress. This makes it an excellent ally to achieving deep work. Engaging in regular exercise, whether through HIIT workouts or mindful movement practices like yoga, qi gong, or pilates helps sharpen focus and primes the mind for sustained concentration.

Meditate for improved concentration:

Meditation boosts concentration by training the mind to focus and to let go of distractions. Regular practice creates physical changes in brain structures and patterns of neural connectivity, which strengthens your ability to resist distractions and maintain that valuable focus for extended periods.

Eat a nourishing, healthy diet for optimal cognitive function:

A healthy diet is more than just for looking good. It has a profound impact on our ability to concentrate. Nutrient-rich foods provide the fuel for optimal cognitive performance and as well as the building blocks for essential neurotransmitters that regulate your mood and motivation. Meanwhile, foods that maintain your blood sugar stability help you to sustain focus throughout the day.

Get quality sleep for renewed mental energy:

Sleep is a true panacea, with a wide range of impacts from supporting our immune system, longevity, and weight loss through to creativity and emotional well-being. It is also essential for cognitive functions such as memory, attention, and decision-making – which are crucial for deep work. Sleep deprivation, on the other hand, which is sadly very common in our 24/7 world, can significantly hinder our cognitive abilities and make deep work far more challenging.

Next steps

Deep work is an incredible tool and embracing it requires mindful planning and attention. Start by designating specific, distraction-free periods for focused work, prioritising your most demanding tasks for when you’re most alert. Take regular breaks to enhance your focus. You can make those breaks count by making them well-being breaks rather than social media breaks!

Finally, prioritise your well-being. Build regular mindful movement, meditation, a nourishing diet, and quality sleep into your life.

By valuing your well-being, you can unlock your potential for deep work which will have a transformative impact on your work and life.

Discover more on Silver Linings Wellbeing. We offer bespoke events, team building and retreats for businesses.

Dr Camille Koppen is absolutely passionate about helping people to grow and attain fulfilment in their career and life. She helps leaders and businesses to inspire, connect, and equip their people to thrive in their careers. And she specialises in creating engagement, mindset shifts and strong inner motivation.
  
She has created real, tangible impact for 1000+ people across 20+ countries, and has trained university students and people early in their career through to Managing Directors at HSBC and Oxford University Professors.
  
Before collaborating with Silver Linings Wellbeing through her company Brightwings Performance, Camille spent 14 years in change management working at Accenture, Barclays and HSBC – most recently, focussing on connectivity, people and engagement, and collaboration, working with senior stakeholders and large global teams. Prior to that, Camille completed her DPhil in Experimental Psychology at the University of Oxford, published 6 academic papers, and gave tutorials to undergraduates.

In her trainings, she combines her corporate experience with her expertise in psychology, love of drama, public speaking and creativity, and her insatiable curiosity in how we interact and best use our minds. Teams she has helped have enjoyed significant improvements to motivation, personal growth, well-bring, and trust and connectivity within their team.

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