I cannot seem to organise my deep work session. I just dive in and start working in a scattered way on whatever seems more urgent and making me the most stressed. Then I get to the end and panic that I have not done anything. Any suggestions?

Marshall Pena
Having ADHD, this is something I struggle with frequently. It's easy to fill our days with the easy less important things or in putting out fires.
That's where the planning comes in.
If you don't do well laying out your agenda in the morning but are stressed at the end of the day, do your planning before you leave the office in the evening. That will allow you to do your planning when you have clarity around what is most important. Also, planning at the end of the day will allow you to do a mental review and build up your motivation as you prepare for work in the morning.
Create enough detail in your project outline to guide you.
But don't burn extra energy in planning at the expense of doing.
In the morning, make sure to block out the required amount of time to do your most important work before checking emails, returning calls, or chatting at the water cooler.
Try setting a timer or alarm and don't do anything else except your project until the alarm has gone off.
Remember, your ability to focus will determine whether you go where you are trying to go or where the wind blows you.
Good luck!

Noe Petit
Try to have a task list, do not organise it on what stresses you the most but on which topics are the easiest to resolve or have a priority. Breakdown the tasks as much as possible. Also do not beat yourself up if you have only accomplished 1 or 2 tasks. Acknowledge that you have moved forward! 🙂

Enora Faure
I like doing the "Adjust and commit to your plans" task directly before starting deep work. I go over my entire to-do list for the day and organize it by urgency. Then I choose one task that I know will take at least 25 min to complete for my Deep Work. If I don't complete it that's ok, because at least I was able to have a productive and focused work session.

Drúscila Ramos
Shut email off when working. I find that while I’m working on a project and continue to see tasks coming into my inbox, it creates more stress and panic.
Also, I excel more in my day when I write a to do list at the end of every workday. This way, when I start work the next morning, I have a clear picture of what is most important.

Absalão Da conceição
What really helps me is to create a list of things
I want to get done in a week, then on Sunday I allocate these to Mo, Tu and Wed. (Rest of the week comes into play later) Each day choose max 3 things that are most important. Allocate time to each of these – e.g 1 hour or 2 hours per task or less or more. Work on these tasks in order of importance for the duration you set, now you dont need to complete these tasks within these set times, but you have worked on them and have moved forward – that will make you feel good and less stressed! Sometimes you will have time for more than 3 tasks, but at least you know whats most important. The rest of the week is a buffer for what you didn't complete for various reasons. Just roll some tasks over to Thurs, Fri or the weekend depending on your time. Its super flexible and doable – life happens and can mess up our plans but you can always roll a task over. Hope it helps!

Emma Møller
I will get rid of all composition that could cause me distraction, such as papers from other project, phone, ipad, any unrelated stuff, and sometimes I will set timer myself to keep focusing during the amount of time. After the timing done, I’ll give myself small reward like a fresh walk outside, icecream or even do a face mask! Good luck.

Rachel Murphy
Write down what are the 3 most important tasks you need to do, then organise them in order of which one to start with. Block all distractions and remember if you don’t do today’s work you won’t relax at night, during your sleep or tomorrow or the next day or next week. Today’s work must be done today and now. You’re capable of succeeding and you can do it

Loïs Pierre
I sometimes have exactly the same thing! How long is your deep work session going for? If it’s a short one I would pick the most urgent task to do first. A mindfulness session before you start might help too.

Maybe aim for 25 minutes of focused work before you try doing any longer sessions.

Also celebrate when you complete even one task you set out to do – don’t be too hard on yourself 🙂

Andre Heinecke
Buddha tells us that we all have drunken monkey's in our mind that continually chatter and scream all the time. When I first heard this I began to visualize them in my mind. Before you can meditate you will need to learn about your chattering monkey. The monkey of worry is a very big monkey but there are many monkeys. Talk to your monkeys and ask them what they are upset about. Figure out the worry or issues that they chatter about and ask them what is the worst that can happen with each and calm them down in your mind, and let them know that like everything in life…this too shall pass.
Then, close your eyes and see them all sitting quietly with their eyes closed as you begin to meditate and know that all is calm and peaceful in life. Then you can start your meditation in peace within a world of serenity.

Gene Brooks
I start every deep work session with a five minute planning phase where I chunk the task into actionable components. This gives me a better idea of what is doable immediately and what will have to wait. I pick the easiest chunk and work on that first.

Julian Reed
I often feel frazzled because I have so many things to do, yet no clear direction to do Deep Work on one particular thing. I've found one thing that helps me tremendously when I get like this — it's the Fabulous "What are my 3 most important tasks?" habit. It's really a challenge to pick ONLY THREE things out of my day that are "important," but it has been a wonderful exercise to get me thinking in terms of PRIORITIES. (Some tasks are just noisy — they demand to be done RIGHTNOW! But they aren't actually a higher priority than others.) If I have a list of my 3 Priorities for the day, I can just grab one of those for Deep Work sessions, and then I know I'm getting something important done. I'm finding it helpful to do a 3 Priorities list for my projects too, so I can be ready to grab one for Deep Work. (As an example, I'm an artist, so I keep 2 paying projects and one personal project on my priority list.) It's taken me a while to learn that IT'S OK to say YES to ONE thing at a time, and to tell the other important things to wait. It's OK if a bunch of things remain undone at the end of the day, because I did DEEP WORK on one important thing. It has reduced my stress level SO MUCH, and I get more accomplished! Good luck to you, and remember to use the Breathe habit, too!

Orlando Lopes
Try writing down your list of items and give them a priority before starting the deep work session. Then you can start tackling them one at a time in order of priority. Don’t keep files around your desk or open tabs in your computer if they are not related to the current task, and set your status to Busy if you’re on a work intranet chat.

Isidoro Campos
I think what helps me is knowing that the thing I'm deep diving on is priority A from my list of to dos that needs to be done by the end of the day.

Mark Newman
Plan! Try planning out what you want to work on before sitting down for your work session. For everything that you eventually want to get done, plan for when you'll get them done throughout the day or week. Give yourself enough time to do everything! Some people like to plan their work down to the minute, but I personally find that stressful so I just aim for getting my tasks done by the end of the day.

Zoe Morrison
Before you begin, decide on the one most important thing you need to achieve. Pull together everything you think you will need to do this, and put it where you intend to work. Make a start, focus just on this and either stay with it until it's finished or set a timer for the amount of time you have available. Once this time is up, note where you've got to, and schedule your next session to work on this. This should remove the panic, and allow you to realise how much you've already managed to do.

Noah Mortensen
I understand how that feels. I've done that too. I find that the best thing is to pick one task and single task it for the entirety of the deep work session, e.g. replying to emails for 25 mins, writing a blog post for 2 hours. I choose the length of my deep work session based on how long I anticipate the task will take. I close all other windows on my computer and hide my phone out of sight so that I don't get distracted. I hope this helps!

Zoé Dumont
Be very intentional about what you want to accomplish and/or very focused and specific about what you'll do during those 25 minutes (or other duration). Then periodically ask yourself during the session, an I still focused on working on the right thing or did I get sidetracked? Even set an interval timer to remember to check in with yourself, so the entire time doesn't go by without realizing it. Today, I didn't set a timer I just dove right in and relentlessly stayed on track. Keep doing it. Remember start by writing down what you're going to do, then ask yourself at the end if you did just that.

Storm Mortensen
Absolutely! It’s very easy for any work session to progress in this way and quickly get out of control.
There are a few things which might help. Eisenhower’s method of assigning tasks as urgent/important or a combination of those will help you get the most important tasks done, by noting things which would be better off delegated to someone else, or ignored altogether. Look up the method “Eisenhower’s Box.”
Secondly, the A-B-C-D method can help you make sure a little of every task gets done, rather than just the thing that seems most pressing – i.e. spend 50% of your time on A tasks which are the most vital, 25% on B tasks which are also important, 15% on C, and 10% on D tasks which could wait, and you’ll feel like you’ve made much more progress on everything, and stopped yourself getting stuck or bored.
But perhaps the best and simplest idea is to plan ahead. At the end of your day, plan what you want to work on during the deep work session. Think about what output you want to achieve in the time, and visualise it being completed. Then you’ll not only be organised for your session, but your brain will already be thinking about that task sub-consciously – even as you sleep!
Wishing you all the best with your tasks. Paul S

Tara Larson
Rather than just diving in, try making a list of priorities of what tasks are most important to least important. Then work your way down from the top, not moving on to another small task until the previous one is complete. To avoid panicking at the end, reflect on what you actually have accomplished and think about how you can plan better the next session.

Brittany Cox
In your case and so many pp cases ,what I heard the most was,it's better to start with something small to boost ur energy and motivate yourself and then you start getting slowly into the deep stuff , for me what I would do will be: starting off small and end it with something small to feel fulfill and at ease and between them I would do some word that demands huge efforts and of course you always have to take small sessions to rest,eat, meditate ect…
Hope this will help!!!
Meriem.