Wharton, the University of Pennsylvania’s business school, just posted on their website an excerpt from Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by study skills author Cal Newport. The formula referenced below is what Newport describes as the secret to getting great work done in less time:
High-Quality Work Produced = (Time Spent) x (Intensity of Focus).
“It [the formula] first came to my attention when I was researching my second book, How to Become a Straight-A Student, many years earlier. During that research process, I interviewed around 50 ultra-high-scoring college undergraduates from some of the country’s most competitive schools. Something I noticed in these interviews is that the very best students often studied less than the group of students right below them on the GPA rankings. One of the explanations for this phenomenon turned out to be the formula detailed earlier: The best students understood the role intensity plays in productivity and therefore went out of their way to maximize their concentration — radically reducing the time required to prepare for tests or write papers, without diminishing the quality of their results.”