If you’re my regular reader, you may know about my book reading habit and my 2022 goals where I must complete 12 books this year. And in this post, I’m going to share a book that was a life-changing one for me and that is “Deep Work” by Cal Newport.
If you want to know how “Deep work” impacted my life, I will share one little thing that this book changed me. I am a movieholic, I used to watch a lot of movies or I consume content/web series for 4 hrs. to 3hrs a day from all online streaming platforms. Do you believe a person like me hasn’t watched a movie and my daily screentime on these streaming platforms is reduced to less than an hour in the last 3 weeks and that’s because of one book called “Deep Work”.
Things “Deep Work” changed me
How my life/behavior/thoughts/ideas have changed as a result of reading the book.
- My total mobile screentime was greater than 5 hrs. for a day and now it’s 2 hrs or less than that.
- Scheduling my day in Google calendar and following it – helped me to find more space for “Deep work”.
- More productive than ever before in my life with no multi-tasking. The results are overwhelming for me.
Now, I am able to work on my blog and its script, also I’m running a new course in skillshare, reading books for 2 hrs a day, writing personal journals daily, spending 1 hr a day for any form of physical activity, and along with this, I am in a full time corporate job.
Reasons for my changes: I was able to differentiate/find what are all the “Deep work” and “shallow work” in my daily life and then I eliminated most of the unnecessary shallow work.
In simple, deep work requires more concentration & less or no distractions and shallow work mean all other not urgent and lower priority works. (try to understand this sentence, it helps the entire article).
Who Should Read It?
- For the people who are all involved in knowledge work (more on your mind and less physical e.g.: architects, designers, engineers).
- If you are feeling like you’re spending more time at work and not finding time after your 9 to 5 job, then this book is definitely for you.
- If you can’t concentrate on the things you like because of the other unimportant work, you can also try it.
If you’re a beginner or trying to build a reading habit, I don’t recommend this book. It’s a bit of nerd stuff (I didn’t know before starting it), you may feel bored after a point. Instead, start with books like The Alchemist and Who will cry when you die?
Let’s get started.
Takeaways from “Deep Work”
There are plenty of things to share but I am going to share only the effective things that can be used as your takeaway from this post and the same can be implemented in your daily life.
01 Will power be finite, so have routines
- We’ve only a finite amount of willpower that gets depleted as we use it, based on a study (explained clearly in the book).
- Like muscles, our willpower also tires when we push beyond our limits, to tackle this we should have a habit of deep work activities in our day.
- My instance: After my office hours, I surely will not have enough motivation to read a book for an hour, but I trained myself with a habit of reading books before going to sleep, so I am able to do it without any effort even if I am tired.
02 Attention residues
- We all think multi taking is a smart way of doing our work but it’s not. It leads to a negative impact on the brain, and it affects the performance of both the ongoing tasks.
- When you switch from one task(A) to another task(B), your attention doesn’t immediately follow – a residue of your attention will be stuck thinking about task A, and you can’t focus on task B because of this attention residue. The attention residue will be intense if task A is left incomplete or also if it’s a low-intensity task.
- It might seem harmless when we are unlocking our phone for no reason or checking whats app / Instagram for a few minutes in between work. This unresolved switch will create attention residues in the brain and dampen the performance of the ongoing task.
- So, try not to do multi-tasking during deep or high-priority work. You need to work for extended periods with full concentration on one task free from distraction.
03 Scheduling your day
- Try to schedule your day in Google calendar or Excel sheet and I’m not telling you to stick to those schedules. But scheduling helps you to identify how much deep work and shallow work you are working on.
- My instance: After scheduling, I got to know how much deep or shallow work I am doing in a day. Most of my work was shallow and then I tried to eliminate a few of my shallow works from my day or replace the schedule with deep work.
- Follow the same until you get plenty of time for deep work.
04 Put more thought into your leisure time
- We all often did this, once we’d completed a more concentrated work, we used to reward ourselves with a relaxation time. But it’s not required, the mind wants change, not rest. ( except in sleep)
- We all have a mindset that we should not do more deep work continuously thinking we need to give some rest to our brains. But if you think, during the relaxation time you’ll be checking your Instagram or doing things that are entertaining to you. Minds do not tire like legs or arms.
- My instance: I used to give myself enough break for every deep work I am going through. But it’s not the case now, after reading books in the morning, I am able to work on my skillshare immediately, working on my blog posts, then going to the gym and joining my office work without giving any rest to my brain.
Why I am not able to do this before? It’s all the obstacles I’d in my mind before, like I need time for my brain to rest.
05 The law of vital few 80/20
- If you take any of your work – 80% of results come from 20% of your work, and vice versa (the rest of 20% results go to 80% of your work).
- For example, 80% of business profits came from 20% of the clients, and 80% of our nation’s wealth is held by 20% of the country’s richest citizens.
- In your goal, there will be high and low-priority tasks. Instead, working on 80% of the low priority shallow tasks (contributes 20% results), you need to focus on the 20% of the high priority deep tasks, here your time is substantially rewarded as it contributes more value (80%) to your work.
- It’s true that 80% of shallow works do not contribute much to the task, but they also need to be done. So, why not keep them in a mix? by knowing the priority and getting it done accordingly.
06 “Packing party” – things that are not required
- A guy decided to simplify his life by not having many things in his home, but he is not sure of which are the things needed and not. So, he packed all the stuff and put it in a cardboard box.
- The next day, if he needed anything he would unpack and put it back where it used to go. At the end of the week, most of his things were untouched and he got rid of all of them.
- Likewise, we do certain things in our day without any reason. So do the “packing party” with all the annoying shallow tasks and unpack it if required (necessary shallow tasks) and remove the remaining from your routine.
Hope these takeaways will make the changes for you as they did for me. Try to implement “Deep work” in your daily schedule and will you see you in another great post.
My Fav from the book
“Develop the habit of letting small bad things happen. If you don’t, you’ll never find time for the life-changing big things.”
My favorite quote of the week
How to stop over-thinking on the problems you’ve
We’re all floating on a rock in space, and nothing really matters.
Kind of dark, right? But, also kind of freeing… when you really think about it.
Source: Matt D’Avella Weekly Mailer