For those of us who strive to become experts in their chosen field, produce an incredible amount of work and be recognized for our accomplishments, this book provides a blue print for how to achieve it. Breaking free of procrastination and actually achieving all those things you said you want to do is easier said than done. Newport (2016) presents a case for going “deep” as the only way to push your boundaries and achieve more than you ever thought you could.
Deep work is defined as “professional activities performed in a state of distraction-free concentration that push your cognitive capabilities to their limit. These efforts create new value, improve your skill, and are hard to replicate” (Newport 2016, pg. 2). The longer you can spend in deep work the more you will be able to produce and sharpen your abilities.
Who is this book for?
This book is for everyone, but especially those who struggle with completing projects, learning new skills, personal and professional development. “If you don’t produce, your wont’ thrive—no matter how skilled or talented you are” (Newport 2016, pg. 32). If you are easily distracted by your surroundings, your smartphone, a need to fill time with activities that don’t hold value than this book will help you regain focus and find what strategy for deep work will work for you.
This book includes strategies for “deep work” and rules to live by for execution of the strategies. Newport also lays out numerous examples of people (some you’ve heard of) who have committed themselves to deep work and what they’ve been able to accomplish from it. He guides you through differentiating between shallow and deep work, helping you to determine the value of shallow activities such as constantly checking email, and social media. Such activities might be specific to your job, but even in that scope how can you limit those activities and maximize the time spent concentrating. It’s so much easier to give into distraction, you need to reprogram yourself to be able to resist. Newport even lays out some techniques for increasing your observation and memorization skills.
How has it helped me?
I am the Queen of procrastination. I have big ideas, big goals, and a short attention span. Even when I can spend time in deep work, it’s hard for me to replicate it. I felt like this book was talking to me, I don’t tweet much, but I’m on social media all the time, and I love the television. In reading this book, I can clearly see the value I place on those activities has amounted to a lot of wasted time and opportunity (not that I didn’t know that before).
Changing your behavior is all about changing your attitude and perspective, this book is helping me see things in a different light. Even just 3 hours a day of deep concentration is more beneficial to me than distracted time, and even more importantly it’s doable. Not every strategy is realistic for everyone, but there’s enough here to pick what can work for you.
It’s your turn
Did this book help you in any way? Let me know what you think and if it’s helped you achieve your goals.