Recently while at a conference someone asked me what I’ve been reading lately. Little did they know that I’ve been on a path to read a book a week through 2019. We compared some notes on some great books and some ok books and some must read books. This week’s book is called Deep Work by Cal Newport. It’s a pretty heady read but a very worthwhile on if you’re looking for ways to be more productive and accomplish more significant and life transforming work.
The premise of the Deep Work ideology is that we need intentional, focused time to do the best work. It is far too easy to let the digital distractions become the things that suck up our time and prevent us from doing what needs done. Cal suggests numerous times in Deep Work to find times to do a digital fast. The idea is exactly what you’d expect – taking time away from all things digital to let yourself be more productive. This includes email, social media, text message and just wasted time surfing the internet.
The digital fast isn’t for days but more for calendar blocks of time to allow yourself to get more done in a more timely way with limited distractions. He explains it well with this quote.
Clarity about what matters provides clarity about what does not. Cal Newport.
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The book will likely be pretty convicting for those of us who are digitally connected. Newport suggests many different practical steps to make this shift in mindset. He covers everything from how much time to spend on social media to setting up regular times to check and respond to email. The more focused and intentional we are about our work the less time we’ll actually have to spend at the work itself leading to even more time to grow in our leadership capabilities and be even more effective and impactful.
In the conclusion, Newport lays down the challenge to leave the distracted masses to join the focused few. As you consider taking time to do Deep Work, remember your stage in life and what your tasks are. Deep Work will look different for everyone and will provide different levels of success and accomplishment for everyone. You may not be able to do everything he suggests but start somewhere! Great productivity is only some Deep Work away.