Book Review: Deep Work - by Cal Newport


Stop mucking about on the internet and get on with your work! How productive work requires deep concentration, and how the internet/email prevents that and has a big downside.

My notes

Professional activities performed in a state of distraction-free concentration that push your cognitive capabilities to their limit.

These efforts create new value and improve your skill.

Spend enough time in a state of frenetic shallowness and you permanently reduce your capacity to perform deep work.

Our work culture’s shift toward the shallow is exposing a massive personal opportunity for the few who recognize the potential of resisting this trend and prioritizing depth.

“A succession of mediocre singers does not add up to a single outstanding performance.”

Batch hard but important intellectual work into long, uninterrupted stretches.

There are corners of our economy where depth is not valued: executives, salesmen.

Add routines and rituals to your working life.

Minimize the amount of willpower necessary to maintain unbroken concentration.

The single best piece of advice I can offer to anyone trying to do creative work is to ignore inspiration. Waiting for inspiration to strike is a terrible, terrible plan.

Hit your daily deep work capacity during your workday.

Once your workday shuts down, you cannot allow even the smallest incursion of professional concerns into your field of attention.

Even a brief intrusion of work can generate a self-reinforcing stream of distraction that impedes the shutdown advantages.

Shutdown ritual.

People who multitask all the time can’t filter out irrelevancy.

Instead of scheduling the occasional break from distraction so you can focus, you should instead schedule the occasional break from focus to give in to distraction.

Schedule in advance when you’ll use the Internet, and then avoid it altogether outside these times.

Small number of goals for both the personal and professional areas of your life. Once you’ve identified these goals, list for each the two or three most important activities that help you satisfy the goal.