Deep Work

This week I finished Cal Newport’s “Deep Work” audio book. I really have mixed reviews here. While I am 100% behind the notion that focused time is more impactful and productive than distracted time (seems pretty obvious), this book labors these points.

It spends chapters convincing us that distracted work is not effective which is something most people reading this book are probably already aligned to. Then when it starts to give advice on how to implement a deep work practice it goes into a tactical level of detail that seems unnecessary.

  • I found the details on how to implement an email filtering system (to reduce distraction from colleagues, audience, etc) to be very tactical and specific.
  • There is a section dedicated to the impact social media has on a deep life. And labors the point of how it is distracting and the author has avoided it. I think it is obvious that it is distracting and do not need to belabor the point.

I also find that everything is given in the context of Cal’s academic experience is not interesting relatable and may be pretentious.

There is good in this book and practice, but the parts that I was looking for could be summarizes in a much shorter book with just a few key points:

  • Deep Work is much more valuable/impactful than shallow work (spending 2 hours writing a book chapter, vs answering 15 emails).
  • You can not do Deep Work constantly. 90 minute windows, 2-3 times a day are a good start.
  • Deep Work requires finding time and space that does not have distraction. As such you should develop systems, practices and habits to support Deep Work.
    • Calendar blocks
    • Prioritize and push back on the trivial

So, yes, I am onboard with Deep Work, but apparently I just needed the cliff notes.






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