eep Work takes a deep dive into the importance of focusing on our work, rather than shallow tasks. As the world becomes more competitive and productive jobs are outsourced, it is important to stay ahead by acquiring new skills that will fuel your career. This book offers insights into how to prioritize your time in order to do what you do best: focus on depth. It also offers general productivity tips for those who want to improve their time management skills.
Is deep work book worth it?
Deep work is the ability to focus without distraction on a cognitively demanding task. It’s 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 the 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’s 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 instead celebrates the power of its opposite.
The cost of distraction
As workers, we feel pressure to work to find meaning and fulfillment. While meaningful work may feel good in the short term, over the long haul, work without a meaningful purpose or impact will ultimately be a drag on our well-being.
Is what we do every day truly meaningful? The answer might surprise you: most people don’t find their work meaningful. In fact, people tend to care less about their work and instead focus their efforts on things that bring them pleasure (and some, happiness). However, the downside to doing what makes you happy is that it also makes you more reactive, not less.
Part of the problem is that people are looking for the wrong things to be meaningful.
The benefits of deep work
The book is divided into eight chapters that each cover a different dimension of deep work. It starts off with the different elements of deep work, including discovery and synthesis, which have been the focus of much of Newport’s work at Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business. But later chapters branch out to consider how we get there, from setting limits, to shutting off your phone, to knowing your brain well enough to ask good questions that only you can answer.
Most people are stuck in a schedule-driven, task-oriented mind-set, which makes them no better than office drones. Instead of emailing, Newport argues that deep work is best achieved when you give yourself permission to set aside time and focus on tasks that will actually advance your career.
How does one find time for deep work?
Perhaps you’re spending your days building an app, delivering an executive summary, or writing a research paper. If so, Newport explains why going deeply means getting off the radar of your inbox, meeting quota, and never saying no to yet another round of PTO requests. The key to mastering deep work is to start with your priorities. What are you the most passionate about? What do you feel you have an expertise in? What are the right questions to ask, and what should you be pushing yourself to learn? If you don’t understand what you’re working toward, it’s unlikely you’ll get it done on time.
How does one achieve deep work in the digital age?
You can’t. Sorry to disappoint you. But you can change your habits, and that’s exactly what Newport suggests doing. One of the strategies he recommends is to make your digital devices less distracting and work on the “little things,” instead of the big stuff.
Does deep work require actual concentration on a task?
No, it doesn’t. True deep work doesn’t require complete focus, instead it involves picking a task, treating it with the same level of attention you’d give any other, and then ensuring your full attention and deliberate action there. This is why you can’t “hack” deep work. You can’t get instant deep work.
What are the “little things” in your digital life that you can do to make sure you’re deep-work focused?
I’ll add another tip: practice deliberate action in the digital world.
Final Thoughts: Is deep work book worth it?
Cal Newport’s book Deep Work offers insights into how to prioritize your time in order to do what you do best: focus on depth. The book is divided into eight chapters that each cover a different dimension of deep work. Newport argues that deep work is best achieved when you give yourself permission to set aside time and focus on tasks that will actually advance your career. Deep work is like a super power in our increasingly competitive twenty-first century economy, says the author and professor Cal Newport.
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