How do I: pick a space for deep work

Doing deep work like writing a book, or planning out the details of a new project can be some of the solitary work we face at some point. There are a number of factors that help you find or create the right space for your own deep work. See if these factors apply to you.

Work Space

You decide how much room you need to work. Working remotely has its advantages since a desk is optional. If it is just enough space to hold a drink and a laptop, go for it. Some prefer an airplane seat with that size table just for their laptop. If you need a massive table, seek one out or use the floor. Having a focus-friendly workspace is key.

I finished a book in a matter of a few days at an outdoor cafe where I was able to order breakfast, lunch, dinner, and limitless drinks since that was just what I needed for that amount of deep work in order to be more efficient.

Limiting Distraction

A door can (sometimes) keep with distractions with legs on the other side of it.

If a door is not an option, noise-canceling headphones reduce noise distractions.

Mentioning to people around you that uninterrupted time to focus on a deep work task for a scheduled period of time can be respected. After all, respect is either mutual or non-existent. Don’t forget to respect your own time when focusing. Do not waste your own time.


Having comfortable supportive seating is key. Nothing too hard or too soft. High enough so legs do not fall asleep. Not causing back or neck strain. Ergonomics is a domain that I won’t cover here beyond seating.

Standing desks can work for those brief “stand up” meetings if the standing desk option is used.

Some people believe having some discomfort may actually help motivate you to get the work done, however, I don’t believe suffering from bad seating or poor posture due to seating should not be part of that. Your neck and back will thank you if you pick a good ergonomic seating option for your workspace.


Find a well-lit spot for work. Not too bright that you need sunglasses. Not too dark that you need a flashlight to see the details. The right amount of sunlight can be very beneficial to your state of mind.


Quiet is excellent, if obtainable. The white noise of a coffee shop is sometimes welcome, but not optimal. Sometimes I need to wear noise-canceling headphones or listen to music with no lyrics (that does not put me to sleep). Deep work is not sleeping, however, rest is very important.

Temperature and humidity

Regarding temperature, I noticed that I get significantly more productive when it is cooler, but not too cool. Above 55 degrees and under 82 degrees is my preference, especially when working outside.

The air should not be too humid or dry. The humidity of 50% to 60% can feel great.


Air in motion is a big factor while in a deep work state. Stagnant air rarely helps deep work.

Well-ventilated area. An open window. A ceiling fan can be ideal whether indoors or outdoors.

A screened-in porch with a ceiling fan works well too at the right time of the day in the right weather.

Other factors?

What other factors help you find or create the right space for your own deep work?

Also, this book about Deep Work by Cal Newport could help too: