5 Practices from Deep Work by Cal Newport That’ll Change Your Life
Cal Newport might change your life.
In my case, he shifted how I should think about my career after I read So Good They Can’t Ignore You. I read the book while I was changing fields — leaving the Army to become a writer — after finding it on Derek Sivers’ book notes site. It was perfect timing.
I knew Deep Work would be just as good, if not better. And it was.
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My “to finish” roster has an avalanche of projects ranging from the artistic (screenplays, stage plays and personal essays) to the entrepreneurial (so. many. business. ideas!). I feel like I’m drowning under the things I want to do versus the time I have to do them. Not to mention, all the life-supporting drudgery that must get done like laundry, working, cleaning out the fridge, bathing and occasionally having a social life.
I knew I needed a system to get myself in the right state of mind to consistently create.
And, I needed a kick in the pants to keep my work train rolling. If I don’t get these occasional wakeup calls, it’s so easy for me to fall into the trap of reading about other writers and creators who are doing the thing I want to do, rather than just putting in the minutes and hours doing it myself.
Newport gives a number of tips that helps you create time and space for getting in the flow state. These are the ones I found most salient.
1. Distance yourself from social media.
Cull the Twitters, Instagrams, Facebooks of your social media life by ruthlessly discarding any site that doesn’t inherently contribute to a quality life.
Newport’s argument in this realm is that we’ve fallen for the “any-benefit approach.” This is when we think we’re “justified in using a network tool if [we] can identify any possible benefit to its use, or anything [we] might miss out on if [we] don’t use it.”
This is the “why not?”approach, where we adopt Facebook or Instagram because hey, it’s there and family or friends have bugged us to join them on the network.