Deep Work by Cal Newport (animated book summary) – How to work deeply


Deep work: as described by Cal himself, deep
work is professional activity performed in a state of distraction-free concentration
that pushes your cognitive capabilities to their limit. These efforts create new value, improve your
skill, and are hard to replicate. One to two hours a day, five days a week,
of uninterrupted and carefully directed concentration, can produce a lot of valuable output. As a consequence, the few who cultivate this
skill of going deep, and then make it the core of their working life, will thrive. The ability to perform deep work is becoming
increasingly rare at exactly the same time it is becoming increasingly valuable in our
economy. It’s because every day we are bombarded with
emails from co-workers that expect us to answer them immediately. Bosses want us to work in open offices, with
massive distraction all around us. So Cal argues that this type of work doesn’t
allow us to go deep. He calls this type of work, shallow work. It’s noncognitively demanding, often performed
while distracted, doesn’t create much new value in the world and is easy to replicate. There are two core abilities for thriving
in today’s economy: The ability to quickly master hard things
and the ability to produce at an elite level, in terms of both quality and speed. But to learn hard things quickly, you must
focus intensely without distraction. If you’re trying to learn a complex new skill,
like programming, in a state of low concentration, for example while having your Facebook feed
open. You’re firing too many circuits simultaneously
and your brain can’t focus properly. This is called attention residue. Let’s say you’re working on a deep work project,
for example writing an article. And you happen to glance at your email box
and you see a few emails that need answering. Now even if you return back to your deep work,
you’re going to be producing at a much lower rate of cognitive capacity, because there
has been a residue on your attention from that quick distraction. When you switch from task A to another task
B, your attention doesn’t immediately follow. Even if you finish task A before moving on,
your attention still remains divided for a while. So to produce at your peak level you need
to work for extended periods with full concentration on a single task, free from distraction. No emails, no Facebook, no co-workers asking
you what they should eat for lunch. There is a way to incorporate deep work and
escape the constant distraction. Here are a few strategies you can use: Number one. The easiest way to start deep work sessions
is to transform them in to a regular habit. Adding routines and rituals to your working
life is designed to minimize the amount of your limited willpower necessary to transition
into a state of unbroken concentration. If you suddenly decide in the middle of a
distracted afternoon spend web browsing, to switch your attention to cognitively demanding
task, you’ll draw heavily from your finite willpower to direct your attention. Such attempts will therefore frequently fail. On the other hand, if you deployed smart routines
and rituals – perhaps a set time and quiet location used for your deep tasks each afternoon
– you’d require much less willpower to start and keep going. In other words, to generate a rhythm for this
work removes the need for you to invest energy in deciding if and when you’re going to go
deep. For a novice, somewhere around 1 hour a day
of intense concentration seems to be the limit, while for experts this number can expand to
as many as four hours. Deep work is best practiced early in the morning. Typically at that time you will have no distractions. Number two. Allow yourself to be lazy. Regularly resting your brain improves the
quality of deep work. So when you work, work hard. But when you’re done, be done. Another key commitment to succeed is to create
a shutdown ritual. Only the confidence that you’re done with
work until the next day can convince your brain to downshift to the level where it can
begin to recharge for the next day. Put another way, trying to squeeze a little
more work out of your evenings might reduce your effectiveness the next day enough that
you end up getting less done if you had instead respected a shutdown. Number three. Schedule in advance when you’ll use the Internet,
and then avoid it altogether outside of these times. Write it down on a notepad and record the
next time you’re allowed to go online. Until you arrive at that time, absolutely
no network connectivity is allowed – no matter how tempting. The point is that we increasingly recognize
that these tools fragment our time and reduce our ability to concentrate. This is especially dangerous after the workday
is over, where the freedom in your schedule enables internet to become central to your
leisure time. Such behavior is dangerous, as it weakens
your mind’s general ability to resist distraction, making deep work difficult later when you
really want to concentrate. In other words when it comes to relaxation,
don’t default to whatever catches your attention at the moment, but instead dedicate some advance
thinking to how you want to spend your free time. Thanks for watching, I hope you enjoyed the
video. Don’t forget to like and subscribe for more.

26 Replies to “Deep Work by Cal Newport (animated book summary) – How to work deeply

  1. If you enjoyed the video, you should check out the book for yourself. It goes in much greater detail. 🙂

    US: http://amzn.to/2mrYBpQ
    EU: http://amzn.to/2lbok5t

  2. Having read a couple of chapters of this book. I realised that this book was not that great at all. This book is good for someone who needs a self help kind of a approach or if you are in stage in you life where you need a lot of advice, However if you are in a stage in your life where you had gathered some experience then this book has no value. The author has basically collected a set of anecdotal reference from several places and put it together, in the form of a book. His research are not solid and they simply cross reference several individuals in a way that they palaver to his thinking. It creates not connect to the read and at time feels like cacophony of idea put together to say a simple thing. This look is a mere figment of imagination of the author. The author himself is a research scientist and just juxtaposes his working style on the life style of people. This book can seriously damage thinking of a young impressionable, adult who will believe that this "use case" applies in all areas of life, but it doesn't. If you have Business, a job or other areas of work then following this book is chore you wouldn't want to add to your lifestyle. We all know the influence of social media but social media is important when used properly. Its never a binary approach which is what the author recommends. You need to find you own space and thinking.

  3. Hi
    please review this book :

    "High Performance Habits: How Extraordinary People Become That Way "
    by Brendon Burchard

    amazon link :
    https://www.amazon.com/High-Performance-Habits-Extraordinary-People/dp/1401952852

  4. Great video. I did some of the things you explained but some of them I still need to try. Thanks for the great video

  5. I'm screwed… My work is all 5 to 15 min tasks that I do 30 to 50 times. My deep work cannot last longer than 5 to 15 mins because the tasks change.

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