3 Ways Focus Sessions Help You Do Deep Work

May 1, 2021

3 Ways Focus Sessions Help You Do Deep Work

May 1, 2021

Raise your hand if:

  • You are regularly distracted when you are working
  • You try to multitask
  • You switch from task to task frequently throughout the day (or even the hour)
  • You work alone from home
  • You sit down to work with a long list of things to do, but no real plan to do them
  • You frequently feel like you should be getting more done.

If any of these apply to you, you aren’t alone. More than 80% of Americans want to be more efficient at work and strengthen their ability to do deep work, and 70% say they are distracted when they’re working.

To do deep work, we need to monotask, not multitask. We need to cut out distractions, stop task switching, and focus on the things we most want or need to get done.

We need Focus Sessions. When you set yourself up to focus and use science to back you up, you can get deep work done. Here’s how.


It starts by getting intentional. Choose when you’ll work and block it out on your calendar. Booking a Focus Session is another layer of intentionally. It says, “I mean to show up. I am going to focus and get something done.”

You also get intentional when you declare what you are working on. Focus Sessions time blocks are perfect for deep work. They give you enough time to think, concentrate, and really delve into a project. Be realistic about what you can get done and you can be even more productive. “I’m going to outline my new course, edit my book, and write a sales page” sounds like at least three focus sessions.

Get super clear on the one thing you are going to do during the allotted time. Write it down on a Post-it note. Stick it on your computer or right in front of you on your desk. You’ll literally keep your task front and center to draw you back if your attention strays.

Before you start, demonstrate you are ready to concentrate by intentionally setting yourself up for success. Turn on Do Not Disturb mode on your computer and put your phone in airplane mode. Close out any open files and tabs except for what you are working on. Close the door to your office, put on your noise cancelling headphones, or take any other steps to signify to others — and yourself — that you are limiting distractions to focus on the task at hand.

Focus Intervals

Working all the time doesn’t work. Most of us know we could get more done if we had a block of time to focus—and time to recharge. Too often we don’t do either. Instead of trying to do everything at once or letting us get pulled in a million directions, when we set aside time to focus on key tasks, we get them done faster and feel better about ourselves. We’ve already looked at the importance of intentionally it, but how long should you set that focused intention for?

You can sustain attention for only so long, and 90-minutes seems to be a sweet spot working with your brain’s natural rhythms. The Focus Sessions science-based framework is 90 minutes long. You’ll take a few minutes to state your intention and set yourself up for success, and then do deep work for the rest of the 90 minutes. Focus Sessions are the most productive 90 minutes of your day!

Join Focus Sessions (90-minute Virtual Coworking up to 3 times a day)

Studies show that elite performers in a variety of fields use dedicated work or practice sessions of 90 minutes, sometimes less, with breaks in between. We’ve worked that science into the Focus Session framework. You’ll set aside 90 minutes with a few minutes allotted to state your intention and set yourself up for success.


You’re intentional. You’ve set aside the right amount of time and you know what you are going to do with it. There’s one more thing that can help you succeed in staying focused and getting deep work done—accountability. We’ve known about the “social facilitation” effect—having other people present and engaged in focused tasks can boost our motivation. And one studied showed that just the presence of another person improves performance by 16–32%.

Want to get more done? Maybe you don’t need more quiet alone time. Maybe you need quiet, focused time with other people. That’s why we keep cameras on during Focus Sessions, so you can look up and remember you aren’t alone. You’re doing deep work with other Focus Finders.

To add to the accountability, tell somebody what you are working on. Working on your own, that might look like texting an accountability partner to say, “I’m heads down for the next 90 minutes to get this proposal written.” In Focus Sessions, you’ll pop into a breakout room to declare what you are working on to other Focus Finders.

Do the Deep Work

You’re intentional. You’ve set aside a block of focused time. You’re showing up with other people and declaring what you are going to get done. You’ve laid the groundwork for your deep work. All that’s left is to go heads down and get it done.

When you’re done, take a minute to assess how it went. If you were distracted or only partially focused, what could you do to improve focus next time? Maybe you need to avoid your inbox before you start or decide what you are working on earlier so that you can gather materials. Maybe you need to block distracting websites. Whatever it is, that assessment can help you improve. If you were super-focused, high five. Do what you did to set yourself up for success next time. Oh, and one more thing. End with intention by scheduling your next Focus Session.

Deep work takes solid time blocks. If your planner looks scattershot rather than big block and you want to change that, set up a time blocking schedule.

Get the free Focus Workflow Printable Time Blocking Template here.

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Ready to Focus?

Sign up here to get 7 days of unlimited Focus Sessions free.