“Deep Work” … the ability to focus in a distracted world … the best ideas from Cal Newport’s award winning book
August 5, 2022
“Deep work” is the ability to focus without distraction on a cognitively demanding task. Lock yourself away in a room to focus completely on one task. Avoid shallow work, keeping busy, multi tasking, being distracted.
Deep work is a skill that allows you to quickly master complicated information and produce better results in less time. Deep work will make you better at what you do and provide the sense of true fulfilment that comes from craftsmanship. In short, deep work is like a super power in our increasingly competitive twenty-first century economy. And yet, most people have lost the ability to go deep—spending their days instead in a frantic blur of e-mail and social media, not even realizing there’s a better way.
In his new book Deep Work, author and professor Cal Newport flips the narrative on impact in a connected age. Instead of arguing distraction is bad, he instead celebrates the power of its opposite. Dividing this book into two parts, he first makes the case that in almost any profession, cultivating a deep work ethic will produce massive benefits. He then presents a rigorous training regimen, presented as a series of four “rules,” for transforming your mind and habits to support this skill.
A mix of cultural criticism and actionable advice, Deep Work takes the reader on a journey through memorable stories—from Carl Jung building a stone tower in the woods to focus his mind, to a social media pioneer buying a round-trip business class ticket to Tokyo to write a book free from distraction in the air—and no-nonsense advice, such as the claim that most serious professionals should quit social media and that you should practice being bored.
“Who you are, what you think, feel, and do, what you love—is the sum of what you focus on.”
“The advantage of cultivating concentration so intense is that there is no attention left over to think about anything irrelevant, or to worry about problems.”
“Human beings, it seems, are at their best when immersed deeply in something challenging. The best moments usually occur when a person’s body or mind is stretched to its limits in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile.”
“To learn, in other words, is an act of deep work. If you’re comfortable going deep, you’ll be comfortable mastering the increasingly complex systems and skills needed to thrive.”
“Decades of work from multiple different subfields within psychology all point toward the conclusion that regularly resting your brain improves the quality of your deep work.”
“Separate your pursuit of serendipitous encounters from your efforts to think deeply and build on these inspirations. You should try to optimize each effort separately, as opposed to mixing them together into a sludge that impedes both goals.”
“Spending time in nature can improve your ability to concentrate. This resource is finite: If you exhaust it, you’ll struggle to concentrate.”
“By supporting deep work with rock-solid routines that make sure a little bit gets done on a regular basis, the rhythmic scheduler will often log a larger total number of deep hours per year.”
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Here’s a visual one page summary from Doug Neill at VerbaltoVisual:
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