How much deep (intense) work do you do? Are you constantly multitasking (at least mentally) or are you truly able to give your undivided attention to a specific task?
In Deep Work, Cal Newport explores these questions and explains the importance of considering this if you want to really produce your best work and make big progress in your career.
There are many cross-overs between this book and many of my other favourites from this year so not surprisingly I also really enjoyed this book. The author nicely puts into words some ideas I had played with previously and having read this I can reflect upon my successes and see that deep work was involved in most of them. For example when I failed finals first time around a big element in that failure was the ease with which I allowed myself to succumb to various distractions. So in preparation for my resits I chose a favourite spot in the library and went there for a set time everyday, turned my phone off and didn't allow myself to leave until I had achieved a set amount of proper decent revision that day. That uses the bimodal form of deep work.
Another form of deep work is the journalistic approach which is much closer to what I do everyday with the reading/writing/research I do for my blog. This involves short bursts of intense concentration on a single task in between other commitments. Not easy to do and far to easy to get overworked but it is the reason I can achieve so much with my time.
Listening to Deep Work has resulted in me making a few changes in my life:
I have committed to leaving my FB notifications off. I still check it everyday but at times of my choosing and not when the app chooses.
I have unsubscribed from a dozen or so emails I regularly receive but never open therefore reducing the number of pings I get on my phone daily.
I have taped over the flashing lights on my surgery phone. These always distract me while writing notes and offer no useful information to me.
I am in the process of creating an out of office email reply and accompanying notices to go on my website etc so people know to expect a potential delay in responding or no response at all if the contact offers no value to me.
I am also creating a "Deep Work" policy to implement at work to try to simplify the way reception handle notes relating to emergencies and unnecessary distractions while I am concentrating on a particular task.
I will update you all on the details of these as they come to fruition.
Deep Work has a lot to offer people in our busy profession to help us increase productivity and reduce stress. I think you should definitely consider reading to this. If you want to know what other books I think could really help you have a look here:
Dr Chris Harper