Cal Newport’s Deep Work Hypothesis

You can gain a massive competitive advantage by retraining your brain to focus on ‘deep work.’

In this fantastic interview (if you got time), Cal Newport defines deep work as “cognitive craftsmanship.” In other words, it’s time when you are giving your full attention and brain power to one problem over an extended period of time, in order to make progress.

Deep work is the best way to apply your brain power, and brain power is the primary input of the knowledge economy. However, it is in a pretty dire state these days.

The skill of concentration is getting a whole lot more valuable.

So What?

If you want to invest in yourself and become a more valuable employee, it pays to develop the skill and build the habit of deep work. Newport advises, “You should be able to describe your brain training/cognitive routine in the same way you can your exercise routine.” In other words, you should at least be able to articulate the plan, even if it’s challenging to stick to. His suggestions:

  • Lifestyle choices that break your addiction to distraction such as removing social media apps from your phone
  • Thinking walks
  • Practicing deep work sessions*

A Closing Thought

Aside from a professional development/job security standpoint, deep work is the best way to fulfillment and impact.

*Part 2 continues here