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Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World
We live in a world which pushes us to live fast and shallow lives. However, the only way you can make a difference is to go against what the world makes you do, and start working deeply.
In our summary of “Deep Work,” we explain what deep work is, why it matters, and what strategies you can use to make it your everyday practice.
Who Should Read “Deep Work”? and Why?
He explains that deep work is work that is exhausting, since it demands your full time and focus, but at the same time is deeply rewarding.
The world is used to working shallowly and rapidly and is more oriented toward quantifiable results than it is of quality. The number of distractions does not make things easier.
However, you have to learn how to work deeply to make an impact on your workplace, placed in today’s information economy.
And you can start by reading “Deep Work” and using the presented tools and steps. We recommend this book to everyone who has had enough of just working automatically, and seeks for meaning, fulfillment, and creativity.
About Cal Newport
Cal Newport is a writer and a professor in Georgetown University’s computer science department.
“Deep Work Summary”
We will start this summary with a simple explanation of the term “deep work” and what it implies.
Deep work is professional work that requires your full attention and focus. It pushes your abilities, both analytical and creative, to their maximum.
For significant achievement in science, business, art or any other field, you have to get used to working deeply.
You still don’t understand deep work?
Okay, maybe it will be easier if you compare it to the ordinary “shallow work.” Shallow work is work you can do automatically, even while you are distracted. It does not ask much of your attention and results with little new or valuable contributions.
Current trends in today’s fast and digital environment push you toward doing shallow work. You feel the pressure to multitask, tweet, network and respond quickly while working. However, that is harmful.
Putting shallow work at the core of your professional activity endangers your career prospects.
Why is that?
Because shallow work has limited value, as opposed to deep work which has profound value. Hence, resisting distractions and being able to do deep work is becoming vital.
Technological advancements place new demands on employees, and many of them are unable to keep up. Apart from other challenges, technology is restructuring the economy as well. Put in simple words, it eliminates some jobs and creates others. Companies demand skilled workers who have no problem with mastering complex technology.
Deep work requires for periods of deliberate practice. Here’s what we mean:
At times, you have to put your attention to a particular skill you are trying to develop, and resist multitasking and switching among activities. In other words, deliberate practice requires constant focus.
As a result, it promises better and more significant results.
The truth is, deep work is uncommon. In fact, many aspects of the modern business world work against it. People do what they think is easiest, and don’t take on hard responsibilities.
In today’s industries, people try harder to stay connected and quickly respond to messages, instead of trying to give quality responses and make the best use of their time. Additionally, they spend less time prioritizing tasks, and they often do many things that are not essential. This is their way of trying to be “productive.”
This is understandable. It is much easier to measure task completion and speed than it is to measure depth and quality.
Key Lessons from “Deep Work”
1. Rules Which Will Help You Embrace Deep Work
2. Deep Work Tools
3. Protect Your Time
Rules Which Will Help You Embrace Deep Work
- “Work Deeply”
Make deep work a regular practice. Increase your focus by removing the distractions around you. Also, note that many distractions come from within. Distractions can be as basic as the need for food or sex and can extend to social and technological ones like the desire to watch a movie or check your email.
- “Embrace Boredom”
Contemporary people are addicted to distraction. The focus that you need for deep work is the complete opposite and requires you to get rid of this addiction. Without distractions, however, you may feel boredom. Accept boredom as part of your focused concentration, and make it a habit.
- “Quit Social Media”
We get it: social media are entertaining and carry numerous benefits like keeping you in touch with people. However, these benefits are minored compared to their costs.
- “Drain the Shallows”
Deep work pushes your limits, so it is exhausting. Most people can do deep work up to four hours a day. However, they do not start there. Instead, they have to build up to that level. In fact, it is usual to start with one-hour deep work daily.
Deep Work Tools
- “Quantify the depth of every activity.”
- Construct a “shallow work budget.”
- Determine how much of your time you spend “on shallow work.”
- Apply the principle of “fixed-schedule productivity” to enhance your work.
Protect Your Time
You have to become more aware of how you spend your time and protect it. You have to learn to say “no” to distractions in all forms. Do not respond to e-mails if it is not urgent. And if you do, do not give ambiguous answers. Instead become more specific. This will make the people who contact you work more and stop sending e-mails casually.
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“Deep Work” QuotesIf you don’t produce, you won’t thrive—no matter how skilled or talented you are. Click To Tweet Two Core Abilities for Thriving in the New Economy 1. The ability to quickly master hard things. 2. The ability to produce at an elite level, in terms of both quality and speed. Click To Tweet To simply wait and be bored has become a novel experience in modern life, but from the perspective of concentration training, it’s incredibly valuable. Click To Tweet Efforts to deepen your focus will struggle if you don’t simultaneously wean your mind from a dependence on distraction. Click To Tweet In this new economy, three groups will have a particular advantage: those who can work well and creatively with intelligent machines, those who are the best at what they do, and those with access to capital. Click To Tweet
Our Critical Review
Newport presents his ideas by blending research and personal stories about the challenges and rewards connected to deep work. He gives tips for transforming your life in a way which supports deep work, which he considers valuable and essential. He presents his theory persuasively and proves all of his points.