You’ve heard me talk about the guide for getting into a deep work state so many times now. (If you haven’t downloaded it yet, what are you waiting for?)
When anyone tells me that the 15-minute process for getting into a deep work state didn’t work for them, I love it.
Not because they’re struggling of course, but because they’re gathering data that we can use in our coaching session to troubleshoot.
I always ask the question “What derailed you from following the process all the way through?”
People will name any number of things: My phone rang. Someone knocked on my door. I wanted to check Instagram. I got worried that my boss might need me. I got hungry. I got bored. I thought of something more important that I needed to do.
Let’s take one of these examples: I wanted to check Instagram.
The seemingly innocent thought “I want to check Instagram” likely creates a feeling of desire, which we’re going to call an urge. This is not a coincidence — the makers of Instagram have intentionally designed it to create this exact feeling in all of us.
If we’re not conscious, we follow that urge blindly. We check Instagram and don’t complete our deep work block. We never get to see what we were capable of during that deep work block.
But here’s the key: Noticing the urge, allowing it to be there in our bodies, and finishing our deep work block anyway.
Not resisting the urge. Not ignoring the urge. Not trying to push the urge away. But not giving into it, either.
Here’s how to allow an urge:
- Notice and name the urge: Say “This is an urge.”
- Notice what thought created the urge: It can be as simple as “I want to check Instagram.”
- Acknowledge your power: Say “I can allow this urge, not follow it blindly.”
- Sit with the feeling: Do a head-to-toe body scan, noticing how the urge feels in your body.
- Carry on: Continue on with your planned action, allowing the feeling to be there for as long as it needs to be.
This meta skill — of allowing urges but not following them — will serve you in all areas of your life, from finances to health to career to relationships. (Seriously. It’s the same skill taught to stop overeating, quit overdrinking, cut back on TV binge-watching, and stop overspending.)
And remember: Like everything, it gets easier with practice.