Book Review: Deep Work by Cal Newport

I was reading ‘Deep Work’ a couple of months ago, but I wanted to check if it would change anything in my life before writing a long review.

Some interesting ideas from the book:

  • Quit social media
  • Embrace boredom
  • Lock away distractions

What changed:

  • I have started using desktop mail client. I get email in batches every hour instead of the constant flow of new mail.
  • Disabled most of notifications, even in chat applications.
  • Focus: I went back to the Pomodoro technique that I gradually stopped using.
  • Focus: I went back to practice concentration in the form of mindfulness

What didn’t:

  • Didn’t make any changes to social media. Login by Twitter or Facebook is really useful. I’m not really an active user on those sites so I didn’t expect much here.
  • I didn’t manage to create any ‘work’ settings at home.
  • I still don’t have any strict ‘end of work’ hour as I spent a lot of my free time doing something technical or learning/reading about it.
  • Totally failed in boredom. I listen to podcasts while walking or washing dishes. When I’m at home I read or watch something all the time. Shorter moments are taken by articles that I have in Pocket. Not to mention checking Hacker News from time to time.

Would I recommend the book. Of course. The whole subject of focus work and distractions deserves much more publicity.

Recently I heard about Feynman Algorithm that reminds me of Deep Work:

  1. Write down the problem.
  2. Think real hard.
  3. Write down the solution.

It resonates a lot with me as it’s something that works for me from time to time — especially when it works.