Deep Work

Cal Newport - Deep Work Definitions, Key Concepts & Quotes

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Deep Work by Mind Map: Deep Work

1. Introduction

1.1. Jung's Bollingen Tower

1.2. Deep Work: Professional activities performed in a state of distraction-free concentration that push your cognitive capabilities to their limit. These efforts create new value, improve your skill, and are hard to replicate.

1.3. Shallow Work: Noncognitively demanding, logistical-style tasks, often performed while distracted. These efforts tend not to create much new value in the world and are easy to replicate.

1.4. The Deep Work Hypothesis: The ability to perform deep work is becoming increasingly rare at exactly the same time it is becoming increasingly valuable in our economy. As a consequence, the few who cultivate this skill, and then make it the core of their working life, will thrive..

2. PART 2: The Rules

2.1. Rule #1 Work Deeply

2.1.1. Decide on Your Depth Philosophy The Monastic Philosophy of Deep Work Scheduling This philosophy attempts to maximize deep efforts by eliminating or radically minimizing shallow obligations. Practitioners of the monastic philosophy tend to have a well-defined and highly valued professional goal that they’re pursuing, and the bulk of their professional success comes from doing this one thing exceptionally well. It’s this clarity that helps them eliminate the thicket of shallow concerns that tend to trip up those whose value proposition in the working world is more varied. The Bimodal Philosophy of Deep Work Scheduling This philosophy asks that you divide your time, dedicating some clearly defined stretches to deep pursuits and leaving the rest open to everything else. The minimum unit of time for deep work in this philosophy tends to be at least one full day. The Rhythmic Philosophy of Deep Work Scheduling This philosophy argues that the easiest way to consistently start deep work sessions is to transform them into a simple regular habit. The goal, in other words, is to generate a rhythm for this work that removes the need for you to invest energy in deciding if and when you’re going to go deep. The Journalistic Philosophy of Deep Work Scheduling In which you fit deep work wherever you can into your schedule. This approach is not for the deep work novice - the ability to rapidly switch your mind from shallow to deep mode doesn’t come naturally.

2.1.2. Don’t Work Alone When it comes to deep work, in other words, consider the use of collaboration when appropriate, as it can push your results to a new level.

2.1.3. Ritualize Where you’ll work and for how long. If it’s possible to identify a location used only for depth—for instance, a conference room or quiet library—the positive effect can be even greater. How you’ll work once you start to work. Your ritual needs rules and processes to keep your efforts structured. For example, you might institute a ban on any Internet use, or maintain a metric such as words produced per twenty-minute interval to keep your concentration honed. How you’ll support your work. Your ritual needs to ensure your brain gets the support it needs to keep operating at a high level of depth.

2.1.4. Make Grand Gestures By leveraging a radical change to your normal environment, coupled perhaps with a significant investment of effort or money, all dedicated toward supporting a deep work task, you increase the perceived importance of the task. This boost in importance reduces your mind’s instinct to procrastinate and delivers an injection of motivation and energy.

2.1.5. Execute Like a Business 4DX Discipline #1: Focus on the Wildly Important Discipline #2: Act on the Lead Measures Discipline #3: Keep a Compelling Scoreboard Discipline #4: Create a Cadence of Accountability

2.1.6. Be Lazy Reason #1: Downtime Aids Insights To actively try to work through these decisions will lead to a worse outcome than loading up the relevant information and then moving on to something else while letting the subconscious layers of your mind mull things over. Reason #2: Downtime Helps Recharge the Energy Needed to Work Deeply The core mechanism of this theory is the idea that you can restore your ability to direct your attention if you give this activity a rest. Reason #3: The Work That Evening Downtime Replaces Is Usually Not That Important Any work you do fit into the night, therefore, won’t be the type of high-value activities that really advance your career; your efforts will instead likely be confined to low-value shallow tasks (executed at a slow, low-energy pace). By deferring evening work, in other words, you’re not missing out on much of importance.

2.2. Rule #2 Embrace Boredom

2.2.1. Don’t Take Breaks from Distraction. Instead Take Breaks from Focus. Schedule in advance when you’ll use the Internet, and then avoid it altogether outside these times. Point #1: This strategy works even if your job requires lots of Internet use and/or prompt e-mail replies. Point #2: Regardless of how you schedule your Internet blocks, you must keep the time outside these blocks absolutely free from Internet use. Point #3: Scheduling Internet use at home as well as at work can further improve your concentration training.

2.2.2. Work Like Teddy Roosevelt “The amount of time he spent at his desk was comparatively small,” explained Morris, “but his concentration was so intense. Deep work requires levels of concentration well beyond where most knowledge workers are comfortable. Roosevelt dashes leverage artificial deadlines to help you systematically increase the level you can regularly achieve—providing, in some sense, interval training for the attention centers of your brain.

2.2.3. Meditate Productively The goal of productive meditation is to take a period in which you’re occupied physically but not mentally—walking, jogging, driving, showering—and focus your attention on a single well-defined professional problem. Suggestion #1: Be Wary of Distractions and Looping When you notice your attention slipping away from the problem at hand, gently remind yourself that you can return to that thought later, then redirect your attention back. Suggestion #2: Structure Your Deep Thinking In my experience, it helps to have some structure for this deep thinking process. I suggest starting with a careful review of the relevant variables for solving the problem and then storing these values in your working memory.

2.2.4. Memorize a Deck of Cards

2.3. Rule #3 Quit Social Media

2.3.1. The Any-Benefit Approach to Network Tool Selection: You’re justified in using a network tool if you can identify any possible benefit to its use, or anything you might possibly miss out on if you don’t use it.

2.3.2. The Craftsman Approach to Tool Selection: Identify the core factors that determine success and happiness in your professional and personal life. Adopt a tool only if its positive impacts on these factors substantially outweigh its negative impacts.

2.3.3. Apply the Law of the Vital Few to Your Internet Habits The Law of the Vital Few: In many settings, 80 percent of a given effect is due to just 20 percent of the possible causes.

2.3.4. Quit Social Media Part of what makes social media insidious is that the companies that profit from your attention have succeeded with a masterful marketing coup: convincing our culture that if you don’t use their products you might miss out.

2.3.5. Don’t Use the Internet to Entertain Yourself

2.4. Rule #4 Drain the Shallows

2.4.1. Schedule Every Minute of Your Day At the beginning of each workday, turn to a new page of lined paper in a notebook you dedicate to this purpose. Down the left-hand side of the page, mark every other line with an hour of the day, covering the full set of hours you typically work. Now comes the important part: Divide the hours of your workday into blocks and assign activities to the blocks.

2.4.2. Quantify the Depth of Every Activity An advantage of scheduling your day is that you can determine how much time you’re actually spending in shallow activities. How long would it take (in months) to train a smart recent college graduate with no specialized training in my field to complete this task?

2.4.3. Ask Your Boss for a Shallow Work Budget What percentage of my time should be spent on shallow work? This strategy suggests that you ask it. If you have a boss, in other words, have a conversation about this question. Then—and this is the important part—try to stick to this budget.

2.4.4. Finish Your Work by Five Thirty I call this commitment fixed-schedule productivity, as I fix the firm goal of not working past a certain time, then work backward to find productivity strategies that allow me to satisfy this declaration. A commitment to fixed-schedule productivity shifts you into a scarcity mind-set. Any obligation beyond your deepest efforts is suspect and seen as potentially disruptive.

2.4.5. Become Hard to Reach Tip #1: Make People Who Send You E-mail Do More Work By instead resetting your correspondents’ expectations to the reality that you’ll probably not respond, the experience is transformed. The inbox is now a collection of opportunities that you can glance at when you have the free time—seeking out those that make sense for you to engage. Tip #2: Do More Work When You Send or Reply to E-mails The right strategy when faced with a question of this type is to pause a moment before replying and take the time to answer the following key prompt: What is the project represented by this message, and what is the most efficient (in terms of messages generated) process for bringing this project to a successful conclusion? Once you’ve answered this question for yourself, replace a quick response with one that takes the time to describe the process you identified, points out the current step, and emphasizes the step that comes next. Tip #3: Don’t Respond When it comes to e-mail, they believed, it’s the sender’s responsibility to convince the receiver that a reply is worthwhile. If you didn’t make a convincing case and sufficiently minimize the effort required by the professor to respond, you didn’t get a response. Professorial E-mail Sorting: Do not reply to an e-mail message if any of the following applies:

3. PART 1: The Idea

3.1. Deep Work Is Valuable

3.1.1. Three Groups to benefit in Intelligent Machine Age The High-Skilled Workers. “The key question will be: are you good at working with intelligent machines or not?”. The Superstars An increasing number of individuals in our economy are now competing with the rock stars of their sectors.. The Owners As digital technology reduces the need for labor in many industries, the proportion of the rewards returned to those who own the intelligent machines is growing..

3.1.2. How to Become a Winner in the New Economy Two Core Abilities for Thriving in the New Economy: The ability to quickly master hard things. The ability to produce at an elite level, in terms of both quality and speed. If you can’t learn, you can’t thrive. Deep Work Helps You Quickly Learn Hard Things. Deep Work Helps You Produce at an Elite Level. High-Quality Work Produced = (Time Spent) x (Intensity of Focus).

3.1.3. What About Jack Dorsey? It’s better to hire three smart subordinates to think deeply about the problem and then bring their solutions to the executive for a final decision..

3.2. Deep Work Is Rare

3.2.1. The Metric Black Hole Without clear metrics to support it, any business behavior is vulnerable to unstable whim and shifting forces, and in this volatile scrum deep work has fared particularly poorly..

3.2.2. The Principle of Least Resistance The Principle of Least Resistance: In a business setting, without clear feedback on the impact of various behaviors to the bottom line, we will tend toward behaviors that are easiest in the moment.

3.2.3. Busyness as a Proxy for Productivity. Clarity about what matters provides clarity about what does not..

3.2.4. The Cult of the Internet. If we had hard metrics relating the impact of these behaviors on the bottom line, our current technopoly would likely crumble. But the metric black hole prevents such clarity and allows us instead to elevate all things Internet..

3.2.5. Bad for Business. Good for You.. Deep work is hard and shallow work is easier. In the absence of clear goals for your job, the visible busyness that surrounds shallow work becomes self-preserving. Our culture has developed a belief that if a behavior relates to “the Internet,” then it’s good. Assuming the trends outlined here continue, depth will become increasingly rare and therefore increasingly valuable.. You can therefore continue with confidence with the ultimate goal of this book: to systematically develop your personal ability to go deep—and by doing so, reap great rewards..

3.3. Deep Work Is Meaningful

3.3.1. A Neurological Argument for Depth. “Who you are, what you think, feel, and do, what you love—is the sum of what you focus on.” Winifred Gallagher “Five years of reporting on attention have confirmed some home truths,” 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.”.

3.3.2. A Psychological Argument for Depth. “The best moments usually occur when a person’s body or mind is stretched to its limits in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile.” Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi Though he would likely agree with the research cited by Gallagher, his theory notes that the feeling of going deep is in itself very rewarding. Our minds like this challenge, regardless of the subject. To build your working life around the experience of flow produced by deep work is a proven path to deep satisfaction.

3.3.3. A Philosophical Argument for Depth Any pursuit—be it physical or cognitive—that supports high levels of skill can also generate a sense of sacredness. Your work is craft, and if you hone your ability and apply it with respect and care, then like the skilled wheelwright you can generate meaning in the daily efforts of your professional life.. The same applies to knowledge work. You don’t need a rarified job; you need instead a rarified approach to your work. It follows that to embrace deep work in your own career, and to direct it toward cultivating your skill, is an effort that can transform a knowledge work job from a distracted, draining obligation into something satisfying—a portal to a world full of shining, wondrous things.

3.3.4. Homo Sapiens Deepensis Eventually, the goal you pursue needs to resonate at a more human level.. Whether you approach the activity of going deep from the perspective of neuroscience, psychology, or lofty philosophy, these paths all seem to lead back to a connection between depth and meaning.

4. Conclusion

4.1. A commitment to deep work is not a moral stance and it’s not a philosophical statement—it is instead a pragmatic recognition that the ability to concentrate is a skill that gets valuable things done.

4.2. Deep work is way more powerful than most people understand.

4.3. The deep life, of course, is not for everybody. It requires hard work and drastic changes to your habits.