Whether you work at a 9-5 or a startup, doing deep work is absolutely essential if you want to create actual value.

Cal Newport Books

At the age of 27, he completed his PhD in computer science (2009), now an associate professor and an author of 6 books, Cal Newport is clearly practicing what he preaches. Today’s cliffs notes are compiled from several videos because he gives so much value and is consistent with his message.

Main Takeaways:

So good they can`t ignore you

Following your passion is bad advice. Develop and practice the right skills over time in order to achieve mastery in what you do. The analogy he uses is, it’s like practicing how to play the guitar. You have to practice consistently to get better over time and it can be extremely difficult, initially.

(If you have ever tried to play the guitar you would know the ‘pain’ of practicing. I was once forced to play guitar chords for three hours on the first day when I wanted to learn, needless to say, it was the most painful lesson I ever had).

Deep Work

“Focus is the new IQ in the modern workplace”

In order to do deep work, you need to know the distinctions between ‘deep work’ and ‘shallow work’, BOTH are important for your career. 

Shallow work includes replying to emails, attending the meeting, tasks that keep the work going.

Deep work – work that requires intense concentration, and application of your skills, to the highest value, which results in valuable outputs.

Cal advices to practice productive meditation in order to get into the habit of deep work. It’s a method of holding a professional thought continuously while taking a walk. Every time you think about email, guide your mind back to the professional thought you want to develop. You have to do this without keeping your phone near you. After you work out the professional problem in your mind, get to your computer/laptop and work on it. Eventually, you will be able to focus more. Block time in your week for deep work. (Tim Ferris talks about assigning uninterrupted blocks of time for deep work in his book Tools of Titans.)

Shallow work vs deep work

Digital Minimalism

Use of Social Media as a Tool (and not a lifeline).

  • Define quality and value – Define what high quality means to you
  • 30 Day Digital Detox – Get rid of all social media for 30 days and gradually bring back what works for you. Refer to your definition of value when you decide which tools to bring back. Eg. Cal mentions that from his experiment, it was found that Instagram was chosen as a better tool by artists than others, i.e., tools that bring more value, however, social media marketing managers would use more of FB, and various other social tools.
  • Use social media as a Tool – Schedule times that you use it for your business, communications and other work. Cal advises taking facebook off your phone and being fully present with your family and work.

“Your Digital Life is as important as your physical health”

What I learned from the digital detox when I tried it.

  • Spending less to no time on FB is EXTREMELY good for my general well-being. I now log in to FB to check up on FB groups on Books/Spirituality  and check the feed for less than 3 mins and ‘like’ or ‘share’ whatever that shows up within that time
  • Instagram gives me more (artistic/inspirational) value than FB. Kept the average time spent on Instagram for less than 10 mins per week.
  • Deleted Viber and kept WhatsApp. Going to schedule time for WhatsApp as well.

Overall result? My productivity has gone through the roof! Best of all, digital detox has influenced me to spend less time even conversations that are dominated with general negativity.

“Do something without your phone every day”

Cal Newport, who has never had a social media account, is clearly right about his message; choose a life of high quality. He gives us the following simple rules to think about in order to have a fulfilled life, as a human being…

  • Take on responsibility for family and close friends and commit to them
  • Do an activity that has intrinsic quality (learning to play an instrument, sports, craftwork…)
  • Professional Life – Make an impact

“Facts are accumulated by effort, but truth reveals itself effortlessly”

– David .R.Hawkins

Categorized in:

Tagged in: