Book summary — Deep Work (by Cal Newport)

A quick snippet of the book

Deep Work points out the fact that we have lost the ability to focus deeply and concentrate on complex tasks. Furthermore, it provides digestible chunks of information showing us how to cultivate the skill of deep focus with some simple rules.

Who should read it?

Any person who thinks that he is losing focus quite a lot while working and migrating to other places in his mind should definitely check out the book. But, overall, the book can be read by anyone who thinks that he or she needs insights into the realm of deep concentration and focus.

Summary and Book notes

Deep work and Shallow work

Work Deeply

It is really difficult to work deeply in today’s world amidst the rigorous distractions, especially when people expect instant results. In order to render yourself effective, you need to figure out your deep work strategy or philosophy.

Embrace Boredom

When the distractions will be put aside during deep work, boredom will set in. You need to welcome it and embrace the fact that you are getting bored. Try to think of it as a proof of your ability to focus with utmost concentration. Getting bored is part of the process. It will reassure that you are on the right path to success. It will be worth embracing. Moreover, it turns out constantly switching back and forth between focus and distraction, actually trains our brain to multitask with greater efficiency. We can quickly switch our attention between multiple priorities.

Quit Social Media

Cal Newport is not a fan of social media because it is one of the primary reasons our time is fragmented. The cost of social media is more significant than the benefits it provides if you use it for entertainment purpose. Try to minimize the use of social media. For example, checking your Facebook feed once a week only will not sever your connections with what your friends are posting. Try to think of social media as a tool that you can use to enhance your work. Try to apply the 80/20 rule for social media. Find out if you can gain 80% benefit from social media by putting in 20% work. The benefit should always be greater than the cost.

Drain the Shallows

Time blocking is the key here. Most people can deep work a maximum of 4 hours per day. You can start off with only 1 hour per day and increase it gradually. Try to create time blocks so that you can drain out as much shallow work as you possibly can. The goal is the use the time effectively and is not to follow the schedule strictly. There can be works where you will need more time to execute and complete the tasks. The more you use your time wisely, the better you will get at estimating your time blocks.

Recommended Reading

  1. Book summary — Steal Like an Artist (by Austin Kleon)
  2. Book summary — Show Your Work (by Austin Kleon)



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Akash Mitra

Akash Mitra

I am PhD student who likes to think he is creative