People Value Clarity Over Accessibility

Owen Strachan recently interviewed Cal Newport, author of one of my favorite books, Deep Work, where they discussed many of the ideas in the book. Cal’s big push is that in an ever increasing knowledge work society the ability to focus deeply to work and create is vital. There are many aspects of this idea such as growing and developing oneself into a deep worker but one key aspect is to rid yourself of distractions. Too often in the work place people value being always accessible and responding quickly to questions or having an open door policy. Cal helpfully points out that accessibility isn’t exactly what people want it it is actually clarity of when one is available. Thus, if you have a closed door policy until 11am each day so you can engage in deep work people won’t actually frown on this. Instead, communicating when you are available is more important. Thus, people value clarity over accessibility.

I have found this to be true in my office as well. I try to mark off specific times on the calendar to engage in deep work and let my colleagues know when this will happen. The rest of the time is for the more mundane such as answering questions, responding to emails, and just engaging in the everyday activities of the office. I challenge you to think through your schedule and realize that you don’t have to be accessible all the time. Rather, mark certain times you will be engaged in deep work and when you will be accessible and communicate that with your team.

You can listen to the whole episode here: https://overcast.fm/+HNffOiTy4.

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