Book Review: Deep Work

Although I enjoyed this book, its contents could have been turned into an article.

A short article.

Here are some of my highlights and, as promised, actionable steps I’m taking from it.

Your brain is a muscle, it’s molded by what you do, or don’t do. If you always flee boredom, jumping from tasks to task, it’s hard to build up a deep work muscle and maintain concentration.

Why deep work? The market continues to demand increased specialization, becoming best in class, and working with intelligent and complicated machines. Becoming the best in class requires a certain depth of knowledge which can only be achieved if one gets deep into a subject.

Move from intentions to routines; establish a rhythmic philosophy. Routines minimize energy spent deciding if you’re going to do the work or not. When you’re engaging in deep work establish before hand 1) where you’ll work and how long 2) how you’ll work (how do you determine success 3) how you’ll support your work.

Measure success by time spent in a state of deep work dedicated to a high priority goal.

As you repeat a skill myelin is built around neurons. The impact of this is that circuits fire more effortlessly and effectively, meaning that deep work will become easier over time.

Until recently, I didn’t understand the draw to limiting time at work. I enjoyed working and wasn’t opposed to spending every waking hour in the office.

A perspective switch was realized when I identified other things I would rather do besides work + realizing I was not effective when working for the entire duration of my waking hours.

There is a best way to learn 1) relevant topics systematically 2) intense concentration 3) feedback as you correct your approach.

When visible busyness is used as a proxy for productivity it’s a symptom of a root problem: there is a lack of clear indicators of productivity and value.

Don’t use internet to entertain become more thoughtful in leisure time. I’m definitely biased in picking this, being someone who hasn’t watched a movie all year.

Actionable Changes:
Once I end my work day, not touching work again to allow for real mental rest.
Establishing breaks from focus instead of breaks from distraction.
Being more deliberate on how I’m spending the early hours of the day, because my willpower is finite and becomes depleted as you use it.
Incorporate the learning framework into how I learn new skills.
Establishing two dedicated times each week for deep work.

Photo by Jeroen den Otter on Unsplash.

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