• Julianna Sweeney

Deep Work | Cal Newport

We all know that distractions are bad.


The question is, do you know how bad they are? I sure didn't until I read this book. It was so profound to really learn the importance of deep work as well as the full extent of the detriment that distractions and shallow work have on our lives. And we all have little habits that hold us back from carrying out the deep work needed to achieve the fullest extent of our goals - mine is checking my email or going to clean something in the middle of whatever I'm doing.


Through anecdotes, case studies and a personable, thoughtful look into the significance of incorporating deep work into our lives, Newport's message shines through.

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • “If you don’t produce, you won’t thrive—no matter how skilled or talented you are.”

  • “Clarity about what matters provides clarity about what does not.”

  • “Who you are, what you think, feel, and do, what you love—is the sum of what you focus on.”

  • “Two Core Abilities for Thriving in the New Economy 1. The ability to quickly master hard things. 2. The ability to produce at an elite level, in terms of both quality and speed.”

  • “if you keep interrupting your evening to check and respond to e-mail, or put aside a few hours after dinner to catch up on an approaching deadline, you’re robbing your directed attention centers of the uninterrupted rest they need for restoration. Even if these work dashes consume only a small amount of time, they prevent you from reaching the levels of deeper relaxation in which attention restoration can occur. "

  • “If you can’t learn, you can’t thrive.”

  • “To simply wait and be bored has become a novel experience in modern life, but from the perspective of concentration training, it’s incredibly valuable.”

  • “Ironically, jobs are actually easier to enjoy than free time, because like flow activities they have built-in goals, feedback rules, and challenges, all of which encourage one to become involved in one’s work, to concentrate and lose oneself in it. Free time, on the other hand, is unstructured, and requires much greater effort to be shaped into something that can be enjoyed.”

  • “Efforts to deepen your focus will struggle if you don’t simultaneously wean your mind from a dependence on distraction.”

  • “Less mental clutter means more mental resources available for deep thinking.”

  • "As Nietzsche said: “It is only ideas gained from walking that have any worth.”

  • “In this 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.”

  • “Your will, in other words, is not a manifestation of your character that you can deploy without limit; it’s instead like a muscle that tires.”

  • “If you service low-impact activities, therefore, you're taking away time you could be spending on higher-impact activities. It's a zero-sum game.”

  • “[Great creative minds] think like artists but work like accountants.”

  • “Your goal is not to stick to a given schedule at all costs; it’s instead to maintain, at all times, a thoughtful say in what you’re doing with your time going forward"

  • “If you want to win the war for attention, don’t try to say ‘no’ to the trivial distractions you find on the information smorgasbord; try to say ‘yes’ to the subject that arouses a terrifying longing, and let the terrifying longing crowd out everything else.”


What we choose to focus on and what we choose to ignore plays in defining the quality of our life.

I hope you enjoy this read as much as I did. And be sure to let me know what you think!


Sending love always,

J.S.


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