“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.”
– Deep Work, page 14
What we call work is often made up of shallow tasks like meetings, surfing internet, administrative work and responding to emails. Sure, that is work but not the kind that makes you a valuable knowledge worker. Being busy with shallow tasks is fashionable but there is a danger in adopting this fashion. You becoming obsolete.
Cal Newport in his book Deep Work makes a compelling case on conscientiously taking time out to do work that matters.
Here are two life changing actionable insights from the book
#1 Deep Work is valuable in the New Economy. Ritualise Deep Work by Scheduling it.
“In the new economy, three groups will have a particular advantage: those who can work well and creatively with intelligent machines, those who are the best at what they do, and those with access to capital.”
-Deep Work, page 28
Becoming the best at what you do is the key theme of his book. Two essential competencies that are instrumental in making you the best at what you do are : the ability to quickly master difficult things, and being able to produce at an elite level. Both of these competencies can only be gained by doing Deep Work.
Now, you may have understood the importance of Deep Work but that will not change anything. For things to change you have to Ritualise Deep Work by Scheduling it.
Interested in learning a practical way to schedule to Deep Work? Click here to learn how I do it in a 3 min 30 sec read.
#2 Flex your Concentration Muscle
“The ability to concentrate intensely is a skill that must be trained.”
Deep Work, page 157
Have we ever seen an elite performance by a runner without proper training? If we accept the importance of training relevant muscles for running, why don’t we accept that our brain muscles need training for elite levels of performance too?
Here are three simple strategies to train your brain for elite level of performance.
- Schedule No Internet Times: When focusing on work-related tasks schedule no internet times.This will acclimate the brain to tolerate and accept focus without distraction or boredom.
- Practice Productive Meditation: Focus your attention on a specific problem that’s troubling you while you’re doing a physical task such as walking, running, or showering. This is useful for strengthening your distraction-resisting muscles and sharpening your concentration.
- Build Concentration by Spending Time in Nature: This allows your directed attention resources time to rebuild.” The reason for this replenishment is that our brains can take a break when walking in a park or forest preserve because it does not have to navigate busy streets and crowds.
” Using your inbox to drive your daily schedule might be fine for the entry-level or those content with a career of cubicle-dwelling mediocrity, but the best knowledge workers view their time like the best investors view their capital, as a resource to wield for maximum returns”
Deep Work or Shallow Work? Choose what matters….
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