This is a “must read” for anyone who feels they are getting overwhelmed or even too distracted by 21st century life. Subtitled, “Rules for focus success in a distracted world” it does exactly what it says on the cover. I regularly hear complaints from my clients that they are having problems focussing on the most important things in their life, that their surgery or office door is opened too often, that they feel the need to deal with emails, phone calls and social media as soon as they are aware of them. If your appointment book is ruling your life and you are having problems finding space & time in your life then do yourself a favour and read this.
Newport defines Deep Work as “Professional activities performed in a state of distraction-free concentration that push your cognitive capabilities to their limit. Their efforts create new value, improve your skill, and are hard to replicate.”
He contrasts Shallow Work as, “Noncognitively demanding, logistical-style tasks, often performed while distracted. These efforts tend to not create much value in the world and are easy to replicate.”
In the first half of the book the writer explains his hypothesis, which is, “The ability to perform deep work is becoming increasingly rare at exactly the same time it is becoming increasingly valuable in our economy. As a consequence, the few who cultivate this skill, and then make it the core of their working life, will thrive.” He then describes examples of Deep Work from a variety of walks of life and how it has helped individuals to success.
In the second half of the book he lays down The Rules for Deep Work, which are:
- Work Deeply – Remove distractions.
- Embrace Boredom – Schedule the occasional break from focus for distraction.
- Quit Social Media – Initially off putting but his argument is cogent and correct.
- Drain The Shallows – To eliminate the amount of time for shallow work aggressively schedule your entire day and quantify every activity.
Available from The Book Depository HERE