Have you ever wondered why you can’t stay focused? I know I am always getting distracted like that dog from the movie, Up.
In this summary of Deep Work, you’ll learn about how the rise of technology has ruined our ability to concentrate on tasks.
- Audible Audiobook
- Cal Newport (Author) – Jeff Bottoms (Narrator)
- English (Publication Language)
- 01/05/2016 (Publication Date) – Hachette Audio (Publisher)
But more importantly, you’ll learn how to overcome all the distractions and improve your output and achieve ‘deep work’.
What does Deep Work mean?
Deep work is when you can focus without distraction on a mentally demanding, or strenuous task.
There is also shallow work that is non as cognitively demanding. This is logistical-style work you can often perform while distracted.
The three key lessons from the book are:
- Multitasking is the enemy of productivity
- Schedule both work and free time
- All strategies for achieving deep work require intention
Lesson One: Multitasking is the enemy of productivity
Have you ever seen anyone look they’re trying to complete about three different tasks at the same time? They look so… productive!
But that isn’t the case. In fact, multitasking is the enemy of productivity.
Sophie Leroy from the University of Minnesota conducted research on productivity and came to some interesting conclusions.
When we switch between two tasks (let’s call them the super-inspiring names, Task A and Task B) your attention is focused on the original activity.
So, if you switch between Task A and start working on Task B, your attention is still with Task A and your output suffers.
Remember: Multitasking is no good for productivity.
Lesson Two: Schedule both work and free time
If you’re anything like me, when you get home after a long day, you just want to do nothing and relax.
The bad part about that is that we end up falling into the same routine every night. TV, Facebook, Netflix, computers…. then we go to bed.
Instead, start by scheduling everything you do. You don’t have to schedule every little task, but you can delegate time to different areas of your life.
Divide your workday into blocks of around 30-minutes and dedicate time to personal tasks as well as what needs to be done.
You can start to plan your weekends and evenings around activities that reenergize you for the week. Make sure these activities don’t include technology.
Lesson Three: All strategies for achieving deep work require intention
Once you know the roadblocks that get in your way, you need to learn how to overcome them.
The sad part is that there isn’t a universal strategy that works. However, here are a few you can try.
The Monastic Approach
Consider this the monk-like, eliminate-all-distractions-from-yourself style of concentration. You’ll need to seclude yourself away from anyone or anything that can distract you.
The Bimodal Approach
Clearly set a period of time to seclude yourself and work. Then, leave the rest of your day free.
The Rhythmic Approach
Start to develop a habit of completing deep work. Say, blocks of 90-minutes. Use a calendar to track your progress and development.
The Journalistic Approach
Fill in the small gaps of your day with distraction-free work. Perhaps you can spend half of your lunch break on another task?
Regardless, whatever you choose to do, you need to be intentional.
How do you know you’re about to enter deep work? Maybe you turn off all devices or have a chrome extension that limits social media and email?
Or maybe you have a defined space that you only use when you’re about to enter deep work,
Most of all, make your deep work sustainable.
Consider taking an ‘internet sabbath’.
Get a notepad and write down specific hours you’re allowed to use the internet.
From there, make sure you don’t use it outside these blocks.
This will increase your productivity as you’ll want to achieve more in those hours, rather than scroll through Instagram.
My Personal Takeaway
I feel as though I do get distracted easily. Especially when I have particular tasks that need to be done.
Some of those strategies listed do not work for me at all. However, a few of those do and will be ones that I turn to.
If you’re someone who struggles to concentrate on mentally demanding tasks, then you’ll love the book.
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