Deep work is the ability to focus without distraction on a cognitively demanding task. It 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 a sense of true fulfillment 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 is a better way.
In Deep Work, author and professor Cal Newport flips the narrative on impact in a connected age. Instead of arguing distraction is bad, he 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, as a series of four “rules,” for transforming your mind and habits to support this skill.
- Rule 1 – Work Deeply: this chapter outlines the basics of deep work, including different approaches to deep work and patterns and rituals that support its practice.
- Rule 2 – Embrace Boredom: this is the corollary of “Work Deeply”. In order to concentrate intensely, we also need to reduce our addiction to distraction. Allow your mind to wander and create for itself, rather than relying on devices.
- Rule 3 – Quit Social Media: A very challenging idea for many of us! Think of social media as a tool. If it is a useful means to aid your work or personal life, then go ahead and schedule a time to participate. But if it doesn’t serve any true purpose, cut your ties.
- Rule 4 – Drain the Shallows: Reduce the amount of time spent on shallow tasks. Most people, even those who are skilled in deep work, cannot spend more than 4 hours in deep work. But, conversely, shallow tasks can easily consume more than 4 hours of the day if we are not suspicious of them.
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.
Deep Work is an indispensable guide to anyone seeking focused success in a distracted world.
If you like the concept of Deep Work, explore Cal Newport’s blog for more insights into the intersection of digital technology and culture.