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Just do the work

Flow. Deep work. Leverage. Productivity. Getting things done.

When descriptive words become prescriptive, they add unnecessary complexity and worrying.

"I should be in flow now."
"Am I working deep enough?"
"This activity is not leveraged."

These are all concerns that we wouldn’t have, had we not known about the above concepts. These supposedly helpful “mental models” then become a distraction. They create self-conflict.

What if you’re a big fan of deep work, and then need to do a bunch of shallow work (that doesn’t lead to flow)?

What if you’re dreaming about doing high-leverage, scalable work and then need to do low-leverage, unscalable, menial work?

Many of these terms were coined by people who have climbed on the top of the proverbial mountain: made millions, became acclaimed authors, and so on.

But to those still wading through the mud, these concepts are but an unnecessary distraction. That’s also why successful people often have to remind the people below them about the value of “hard work”—precisely because of the enamoration with elaborate theories about what work should be.

And so while deep work, flow, leverage, scalability and other such terms may indeed be useful at some future point, for now it’s perhaps best to forget them, and just do the work. No adjective, no fancy term, just work.