How to Stay Focused and Do Deep Work?

Deep Work by Cal Newport

The importance of deep work is highly valuable; but the increase of social media and mobile usage has already fragmented our attention. We are spending almost 2 hour per day on social media. People are always hooked up to their mobile phone checking emails or new tweets; and we are seeing less and less of quality deep work.

Value of Deep Work

We are dealing with two things here:

  • Increasing scarcity of deep work
  • Increasing value of deep work

Cal Newport, Author of Deep Work thinks that

The few who cultivate deep work skill, and then make it the core of their working life, will thrive

…. and in the new economy, three groups will have a particular advantage.

  • those who can work well and creatively with intelligence machines
  • those who are best at what they do
  • and those with access to capital

Shallow Work

A free and friction-less method of communication and collaboration has soft cost. Everyone is looking for ways to increase the speed at which we accomplish our tasks.

Busyness is Not the Same as Productivity

Productivity tools such as email, search engine, chat bots; they all demand that we give them our attention all day, but that can prevent us from getting our real work done.

Most knowledge workers, in office, spend their time dealing with all kinds of shallow work.. checking email every minute. The world represented by your inbox — that’s all they want.

Even if your colleagues are all genial and your interactions are always upbeat and positive, by allowing your attention to drift over the seductive landscape of the shallow, you run the risk of falling into another neurological trap identified by Gallagher Gallagher reports. “[Among them is the notion that] ‘the idle mind is the devil’s workshop’ when you lose focus your mind tends to fix on what could be wrong with your life instead of what’s right.”

A workday driven by the shallow, from a neurological perspective, is likely to be a
draining and upsetting day, even if most of the shallow things that capture your attention seem harmless or fun

Why Deep Work is Difficult?

To build your life around the experience of your passions and flow produced by deep work is extemely satisfactory; but in todays distracted economy its very difficult as well.

Results from Csikszentmihalyi’s ESM studies reveals that

Ironically jobs are actually easier to enioy than free time, because like flow
activities they have built-in goals, feedback rules, and challenges, all of which
encourage one to become involved in one’s work, to concentrate and lose
oneself in it. Free time, on the other hand, is unstructured, and requires muchgreater effort to be shaped into something that can be enjoyed

If you want to make something of yourself — you must find what you love, you must do what you love, you must create what you love; You must find time for all this.

The Rules of Deep Work

There are many different ways to integrate deep work into your schedule. You need to find our what makes sense to you. Do experiments and create your own philosophy.

  • Remove distractions ( Say “NO” to trivial distractions )
  • Remind yourself with visual indicator — like a big X on your calendar
  • Start with a grand gesture
  • Bring some radical changes to your normal environment
  • Keep a compelling score card
  • Go out / travel
  • Be lazy / take downtime
  • Limit / schedule your internet usage
  • Set priorities and spend time on high impact tasks
  • Notifications are Evil, shut them off

How to Live on 24 Hours a Day

You have 24 hours daily and you need to take care of health, family, job, hear and soul. The way you manage your money, you need to manage your supply of time. We can have more money but we will never have more time.

The supply of time is strictly limited. Do you really live 24 hours a day? — and not just “ muddle through”

Bennett writes in his 1910 self-help classic, How to Live on 24 Hours a Day.

Take the case of a Londoner who works in an office, whose office hours are from ten to six, and who spends fifty minutes morning and night in travelling between his house door and his office door,”

This hypothetical London salary-man, he notes, has a little more than sixteen hours left in the day beyond these work-related hours. To Bennett, this is a lot of time, but most people in this situation tragically don’t realize its potential.”

Other Article on Learning and Focusing



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Yogesh Malik

Yogesh Malik

Exponential Thinker, Lifelong Learner #Digital #Philosophy #Future #ArtificialIntelligence