21 June 2024

How to do deep work and accomplish great things, learnings from Cal Newport

 Listening and reading to cal Newport has been refreshing. I have heard great things about his book "Deep Work" and it has been sitting on my table for a few days.

I happened to listen to a couple of his podcasts, and YouTube videos.

I also dive deeper into his book and start devouring some of the chapters. Here are some of the lessons I came out learning from the book, and I thought I would share

What qualifies as deep work?

It must demand brain power.

Things that are hard and need us to think, plan and engage our brains.
It must happen without distractions and context changes.

A zone where we only focus on one thing.

Why focus on deep work?

It moves the needle. It is the Strategy. the Big decisions. The Directional ideas. These are important to our lives, helping us achieve big goals.
Shallow work is necessary as it moves things and keeps the light on. We need to strike the right balance based on our job or work.

Here are a few strategies cal suggests:

  1. Know Your ratio of Deep Vs Shallow work. Each of them is important in its own way but be aware of what is your mix.
  2. Study your work pattern. Establish an approach that works for you. Cal outlined the following:
Monastic approach - Focus on that one thing.Disconnecting from everything else.
Biomodal approach- Shuttling between the two. Turn into a monastic and then return to normal. A few hours a day or a few days a week of distraction-free time.
Rythmic approach - Finding a secured time on a daily or a rhythmic basis to do your goals. This is shorter in comparison to monastic or bimodal approaches. For example, 15 mins to write every day.
Journalistic approach - Making the best use of time when you can find it. Using time emergencies to induce and complete work.

3. Set up a space and a routine for deep work. Make it non-negotiable.
4. Set up a ritual. It may be the desk or the cup or drinking coffee or closing the door of the room. Let your brain knows that it's time for work.

What are the practical tips that have helped you carry out deep work?

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