Summary of Deep Work By Cal NewPort:

For the IT folks, coding is not complex. While the book portrays coding as complex, fundamentally you need to practise again and again to get more proficient and efficient at a skill.

Scroll to the end if you want to implement this immediately ie the Action Plan.

Something much more interesting was about “Myelin”- a layer of fatty tissue that grows around neurons acting like insulator , keep cells to fire faster and cleaner. Better at a skills , you are forcing the specific relevant circuit to fire , again and again in isolation. This cements the skill. It also proves that multitasking doesn’t help to master a skill. Silicon Valley founders have done “Deep work” to produce masterful results!

Attention Residue: jumping from one task to another task! Without a break.

The first great revelation is that “Adam Grant” had been doing Deep WORK to focus and produce great results Year on year.

Discipline #1 : Focus on the wildly important

Discipline #2: Act on the Lead Measures

Discipline #3 : Keep a compelling scoreboard.

Discipline #4: create a cadence if Accountability

BE lazy!

Shutdown/Downtime is required for everyone.

Reason -: Downtime aids Insights

Reason2: downtime helps recharge the energy needed to work deeply.

Use the ritual of “Shutdown Complete”..after every day in the office. This helps to logically separate from work.

## Fixed Schedule Productivity. Australian companies employ FSP compared to Indian companies. Ie fix the number of hours to determine what rules and habit were need to satisfy this constraint .

Key Message from the book is about “ working deeply” on any subject whichever field you are in. Be it IT, Sales or Health, research.

Another factor is about the Social Media. There have been many experiences and experiments for quitting Social Media. But Cal Newport’s idea is to use this social media for any benefit or for specific benefit need to be carefully analysed and decision taken. Ie identify the core factors which determines success for your goal. Adopt a tool only if it’s positive impact on the core factor!

Example: for writing a deep research paper, is internet is must or not ? May not be required at all. You need to be conscious in using internet , when you are doing Deep Work.

Another factor to consider is how much of Deep work you do in your professional day if 8 hours ?. This brings the concept of Shallow Work. There are many shallow work being considered as busy or productive , but in reality these are time wasters. Eg : responding to vaguely written email. Or conversations through emails!.

# Drain the Shallows : by Scheduling Each Minute of The Day. It may be sounding impractical, but certainly helpful to curb all the unnecessary activities.

The final example quoted by Cal Newport is about Bill gates building the Microsoft company. He sees Altair, the worlds first personal computer and decides that there is opportunity to design software. He founded Microsoft in less than a semester by Deep Work.

Action Plan for Implementation:

If you are reading this article in your mobile phone/tablet, then welcome to the “68%” of the medium users. You can implement this Deep Work and take help from your phone directly.

In iPhone, go to settings-> Focus. You can use the multiple options available for your focus.

Do not disturb: the best way to focus. Only effort required from you is convince yourself that you are not going to miss our anything. And don’t also be stupid to put in “do not disturb “ if you are expecting a medical emergency or expecting an important call from another part of world !

There are automation available in this setting for Focus for you to trial. Set something first and experience the Deep Work. Over a period of time, you will find your rhythm. Just trust the process. Utilise the “Personal Focus” or “Work Focus” depending upon your situation , time , location etc.

Last but not the least, Habit Stacking by “James Clear” is beautifully implemented in iPhone! eg: when you reach work location (-assuming that you have enabled Location Services always ), your mobile will get into Work Focus automatically. This was also one of the critical change I observed in Australian work culture. In the world of immediate responses, it was taking more time to get a WhatsApp or SMS response! May be they are implementing “Deep Work”?

After reading the book now, some of the key aspects are already known Ie don’t do multi tasking , concentrate and do only one activity, dedicate time for your key activities, do the hard task first etc. When I reflect back, I had used this “Deep Work” long back during year 10 and year 12 of student life. These 2 exams are very important for life (as told by elders). So, I used to get up at 4am and study till 6am before anyone else wakes up in our home! Only aspect was , We didn’t know we were doing “Deep Work”. Many of the Asian(Indian) kids around 1980’s to 1990’s know when I mean.



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Gurusubramanian Swaminathan

Gurusubramanian Swaminathan

Life Coach, Vivid Writer on Reflections, Life Journey