Back to Guides

How to do deep work

Do you want to knuckle down for a day of meaningful work? Perhaps you’re struggling to maintain concentration? Want to power through your top priorities?

Create a calm work space

Wake-up your brain

Split your day into focus times

How to apply the Deep Work Day recipe (3-card version)

Let’s explore these tactics with an example: Pip’s Cafe, a local coffee shop. Owner Pip seeks more strategy development time, but daily tasks keep getting in the way. See below how Pip’s Cafe uses these tactics to solve their problem.


Use Focus Fortress to create a calm work space


👥 Who is needed? Just you

🧠 What’s the goal? Create a calm work space and cut out interruptions, so you can power through high-value work.

👀 Why is this important? The world is noisy. If you’re not careful, work days are just one distraction after another – you must defend your focus at all costs. Try it today, and check in monthly to fend off new attacks on your most precious resource – your attention.

💡 Tip: you may find a backdrop of white noise or nature sounds help with this tactic. Noise-cancelling headphones can be a great investment in your productivity.


  1. Craft a space where distractions are minimised:

    Put your phone in a different room

    Clear away anything non-essential (close software and browser tabs you’re not using, move unrelated paperwork out of the way etc.)

    Keep a water bottle within reach.
    Clearing, organising and simplifying your work space.

  2. Set clear boundaries: define your preferences for communication, like designated ‘do not disturb’ hours, and inform your colleagues or family members about your work routine. 
    A focus and clear work space with no distractions.

  3. Experiment with music and sound to see what helps you focus. Some great songs for productivity include:

    Ambient 1: Music for Airports’ – Brian Eno
    Clair De Lune’ – Claude Debussy
    Spiegel im Spiegel’ – Arvo Part
    Weightless’ – Marconi Union
    Bluebird’ – Alexis Ffrench
    Strobe’ – Deadmau5
    ‘Nuvole bianche’ – Ludovico einaudi

⬇️ In the next tactic, now that you have set up your space and environment around you, use Single-Task Superhero to focus on one task at a time.

Use One-Minute Breathing to wake-up your brain


Who is needed? Just you

How long is needed? 1 minute

What’s the goal? Inhale clarity with a one-minute breathing exercise to boost blood oxygen and increase mental performance.

Why is this important? Ever find yourself feeling a bit foggy during the day? This easy breathwork exercise optimises your oxygen intake, keeping you sharp. Perfect whenever you need a little lift or a quick reset between tasks.

💡 Tip: for the fist few times do this for one minute. When you feel ready, try doing this for up to 5 minutes.


  1. Find somewhere quiet where you can sit or stand comfortably, without fear of interruptions.

  2. Set a timer for one minute, so you can dedicate this brief period solely to your breathing.

  3. Begin by taking a deep, slow breath in through your nose for a count of six.

    Then, exhale through your mouth for a count of two.

  4. Continue this breathing pattern until your timer goes off. Try to maintain a steady pace and concentrate on your breath throughout the exercise.

  5. Take a moment to appreciate the increased sense of clarity and focus that you’ve just cultivated.

    Bonus: if you’re feeling stressed or want to relax or improve your sleep, try this exercise with a 4–7–8 pattern: inhale (nose) for a count of four, hold your breath for a count of seven, then exhale (mouth) for a count of eight.

⬇️ In the next tactic, now that you have connected to your body, use Pomodoro to split your day into short periods of focus.

Use Pomodoro to split your day into focus times


Who is needed? Just you

How long is needed? About 2.5 hours

What’s the goal? Split your day into focussed 25-minute bursts of work, followed by short breaks, so that you maintain peak mental performance and get more done in less time.

Why is this important? Break your work into manageable intervals so you’re better equipped to tackle tasks without succumbing to distractions or burnout. You can use this tactic daily.

💡 Tip: ‘Pomodoro’ is Italian for tomato; Francesco Cirillo used a tomato-shaped kitchen timer while developing this technique. Choose a timer that is specifically designated for your Pomodoro sessions, whether it’s a physical tomato-shaped timer*, or a dedicated digital tool. This helps you create a sense of ritual around your productivity sessions.


  1. Pick a task you need to complete, set a timer for 25 minutes and start work. This focus time is your first ‘Pomodoro’ – no distractions allowed!
    Choose your task and set the timer

  2. Once the timer rings, congratulate yourself on completing a Pomodoro and take a five-minute break to recharge.

  3. Repeat steps 1 and 2 three more times, completing four Pomodoros in total.

    Remember to take a five-minute break after each Pomodoro.

  4. After your fourth Pomodoro, you’ve earned a longer break. Take a 15–30 minute break to rest, rejuvenate and prepare yourself for the next Pomodoro session.

  5. Keep this pattern going until your work is done, and bask in productive glory.

⭐️ Now that you have finished all the tactics, use this approach to achieve more on your next work day!
What ways can I use this recipe?+
  • Full-day experience: do it all in one go! This is a full-day of productivity.
Some tips+
  • Practise daily mindfulness and relaxation techniques throughout. Incorporate mindfulness practices such as deep breathing, meditation, or gentle physical exercises like yoga to calm your mind, reduce stress and enhance your ability to handle overwhelming situations.
  • Seek support and delegate. Don’t hesitate to reach out to friends, family or colleagues for support. Delegate tasks (when possible) to lighten your workload, ensuring you also set aside time for adequate rest and activities that bring you joy.
What next?+

Congratulations! You have completed a round of How to do deep work! You have discovered how to create a calm workspace, wake-up your brain, and split up your day into focus times. Keep up the great work, and try this approach to your work again tomorrow!

Do you have questions, tips or tricks, etc? Join our Slack community of over 18,000 professionals.

Leave a Comment

Let us know what thoughts or questions you have about this guide so we can improve it.

If you leave us your email, we'll let you know if we update this guide based on your feedback.