How To Do Deep Work?

deep work by cal newport

How do we practise effective deep work?

I recently read the book Deep Work by Cal Newport.   Cal defines deep work as “Professional Activities Performed in a state of distraction-free concentration that pushes your cognitive abilities to the limit”  I have practised deep work without knowing when I did university 100% of dissertations in 4-6 hours the day before they were due while other people it took them months to complete

Deep work creates new value, improves your skills which is hard for others to replicate.

Deep work allows us to master hard things quickly and produce at an elite level in quality and speed.

Deep work allows you do have several projects in progress together without compromising each other.

Deep work keeps your mind busy away from thinking about problems which keeps depression at bay, gives you deep satisfaction and a deep meaningful life.

Neuroscientists have found that intense periods of focus causes myelin to develop in relevant areas of the brain, myelin is a white tissue that develops around neurons and allows brain cells to fire faster and cleaner.  When we practise deep work, we are training our brains to fire more efficiently and effectively. 

The brain upgrade we get from deep work allows us to connect ideas together and to create solutions. 

deep work by cal newport

Deep work is increasingly rare because it requires our undivided attention which is difficult in today’s social media culture whereby people are expecting instant responses.  Employers put people in open offices so they can work together and be seen,  but it stops deep work from happening. Deep work is increasingly valuable in today’s world because we need to produce great things now to stand out from the crowd in a global society. 

When we switch from tasks A to Task B our attention doesn’t immediately follow and we leak some of it. Your attention is divided for a while, so we need to practise full focus on one task at a time.

  1. Schedule distractions – write down the next time you can allow your distractions.

  2. Start deep work by making it a habit, having them scheduled daily which gives you no choice but to do it, its best to have a recurring time, such as early morning.  Beginners at deep work can start with 1 hour, masters can do up to 4 hours.

  3. Have a daily shutdown routine each day to ensure we aren’t tired, write down unfinished tasks, action plan, when you get things off your mind you can shut down completely.

  4. Allow yourself a break to relax after deep work

    What is Shallow work? It is work that is noncognitively demanding, performed while distracted and doesn’t create new value and its very easy to replicate. Shallow work should be avoided.

You can listen to Deep Work by Cal Newport on Youtube for Free