Click on the play button to find out more about Cal Newport’s Book “Deep Work”

In this Episode…

Yesterday I moaned about feeling my work didn’t matter, probably because (by my assessment) the work I have been doing has been somewhat shallow and superficial.

I mentioned I’d found Cal Newport’s excellent book “Deep Work” and that I would be working my way through it and sharing what I’d learnt with with. In this episode I share my findings from studying the first chapter.

Episode Show Notes

00:13 – Background to yesterday’s episode.

01:00 – I am studying Cal Newport’s Excellent Book “Deep Work”.

01:36 – I have long known the value of intense, focused and concentrated effort and have previously felt intoxicated by the immersion.

02:44 – However I have also noticed my ease at succumbing to distraction. Just this morning I have:

  • Been distracted by a 20 minute call from my girlfriend when I was supposed to be working.
  • Got sucked into the black hole of Facebook videos in my feed when I went to check FB messenger.
  • Got drawn back into the BBC news website AGAIN even though I had already scanned today’s headlines earlier today!

03:51 – Cal Newport’s definition of Deep Work:

Professional activities performed in a state of distraction-free concentration that push your cognitive capabilities to their limit

Cal Newport, Deep Work

04:40 – The problem with society is that networking and communication tools (i.e. email, Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram etc) have “fragmented knowledge workers attention into slivers” such that they can’t handle Deep Work [NOTE – Guilty as charged!] Our work culture is shifting towards the shallow.

06:24 – The skills of todays competitive economic environment are:

  • To be able to master hard things very quickly
  • To be able to produce at an elite level (quality and speed).

07:00 – The book then goes into explaining the concept of deliberate practice which is where:

  • Your attention is focused tightly on a specific skill or idea.
  • You receive feedback so you can correct your approach

07:31 – Deliberate practice can’t take place alongside distraction.

08:01 – Myelin is the fatty tissue that grows around neurons that repeatedly fire off together that allows them to fire off quicker and more efficiently. The greater the level of skill, the more myelin is present around those neurons.

10:52 – Professor Sophie Leroy of the University of Minnesota introduced the concept of Attention Residue. This is the phenomenon where some attention remains on a previous task when you switch to another one. This will adversely affect the next task.

11:42 – Attention Residue can be reduced by working on a single task for a long period of time without switching tasks.

12:28 – An exception to the Deep Work rule are CEOs who by nature need to be able to rapidly switch from one problem to the next in order to keep on top of their business operation.

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