Trace: summary_of_cal_newport_s_deep_work_book

Table of Contents

Summary of Cal Newport's "Deep Work" book

I just finished "Deep work", an interesting book. I only regret it doesn't contain any reference concerning the pomodoro technique.

Here's my few raw notes :

Deep work : “professional activities performed in a state of distraction-free concentration that push cognitive capabilities to their limit”. For high skills, difficult to replicate.
Shallow work : “non cognitive demanding, logistic-style tasks, often performed while distracted.” Low value, easily replicable 
Deep work hypothesis : the ability to perform a deep work is rare and valuable. Those who are capable will thrive. 
The core abilities : 
- quickly master hard things
- produce elite level with speed
Both depends on deep work

Myelin : by triggering always the same paths, better signal -> more focus = more intelligence
High quality work = time x intensity of focus 

Metric black hole : we don't actually measure value of tasks we perform
Principe of least resistance : given that we don't actually measure value of our work, we do first what is easier : shallow work.
Busyness as a proxy for productivity : in knowledge works, difficult to estimate our own value : a lot of shallow work makes false feeling of produced value 
Cult of the Internet : everything from the Internet (like facebook) is considered a piori as good in IT :  hugh error.
Neuroscience : what you are is the sum of what you focus on. Happier when we focus on flow activities. We need goals, challenges, feedback.
We all have a limited amount of will-power so we need to save it for deep work.

Profiles of deep workers:
- bimodal : monastic-like activities for few days, shallow work during the rest of the time
- rhythmic philosophy : moment reserved every day, use a chain method like a cross on the calendar : we want to avoid any hole in the chain.
- journalist philosophy : switches between shallow work and deep work all the day long (hard) 

Ideas to help deep work:
- grand gesture : leave habits, work in an hotel for ie
- help serendipity by meeting people from others disciplines
- stop to work the evening to let the unconscious mind to solve problems for you (less work = more CPU to solve problems in your mind background)
- also rest because we all have a limited amount of available attention
- perform of shutdown ritual every end of day (like saying 'work performed') -> brain conditioned to stop running thoughts. Otherwise, Zeigarnik effect (we remember better interrupted tasks because we want to solve it)
- search boredom to help the brain to rewire
- schedule the day by blocks, change blocks during the day if required 

Deep work meditation to solve complex problems:
- Store variables of current state of the problem
- ask question to force the brain to go to the next problem and no looping
- fight distracted thoughts

Memorization technique (see the book for more details) : imagine large objects in 5 rooms of our house, map the objects with a set of celebrities and imagine scenes. Each person maps a value (like a number of a card value) 

Avoid any-benefits tools like facebook, concentrate on craftsman approach : only consider tools that help significantly to reach the lead goals 
To determinate if a tool that help : 
- list the key activities you need to realize to reach the lead goals 
- for each activities, ask yourself if the tool helps or not

4DX (Four disciplines of eXecution) :
- focus on widely import goals (measurable few goals)
- focus on lead goals, not long term goals
- use scoreboards
- perform periodic summaries 

Law of the vital fews (Pareto principle) : 80% of a given effect is done by 20% of the possible causes
During leisure, avoid using Internet, do high-level activities like reading literature
Evaluate shallow work performed by week and confront it to your boss and ask him to validate.
To determine if a work is shallow : how many months would it take to teach an hypothetical post graduate to make it ?
Say "no" by default, provide vague explanation to avoid questions.
Process centric e-mails to close the loop and free the mind : state clearly the next steps on every subject (every action)
Avoid replying to e-mails on subject without interest, coming with too much work to reply etc..


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blog_tech/summary_of_cal_newport_s_deep_work_book.txt · Last modified: 2017/02/26 21:32 by bflorat