How to Focus in Today’s Distracted Information Economy

There are many reasons for a person’s success. This book is about the one skill that plays a key role in it, “Deep Work”.

Deep work is activities performed in a state of concentration that pushes your capacities to its limit. It creates new value, improves your skills and hard to replicate.

Deep work is about the idea itself and rules that will help you help you focus in a distracted world. I picked it because it is about how to focus on a particular task by eliminating distractions. 

With a total of 7 chapters, the book is divided into 2 parts:

  1. Idea
  2. Rules

 Part 1:  The Idea

Cal talks about:

  1. Massive technological advancement which is restructuring the economy and the kind of groups that will have an advantage.
  2. Current organizational practices and how it affects to work deeply.
  3. How Deep Work creates meaning in your profession and can generate satisfaction in today’s economy.

I liked the part where the writer explains why Deep Work creates meaning from 3 different perspectives:

  1. Neurological
  2. Philological
  3. Psychological

The neurological perspective gives an example of Winifred Gallagher, a cancer patient who chose not to think about the disease but about the career she wanted to have.

She says, “what we chose to focus on and what we chose to ignore ­– plays in defining the quality of our life.”

This statement hit me hard.

Part 2: The Rules

The strategies will teach and help you to:

  1. Integrate Deep Work into your schedule and support it with routines and rituals designed to help you consistently reach the current limit of your concentration ability.
  2. Significantly improve this limit.
  3. Abandon the any-benefit mindset and apply a more thoughtful philosophy in curating the tools laying claim to your time and attention.
  4. Identify the shallowness in your current schedule, cull it down to minimum levels – leaving more time for the deep effort.

Social media has its share of pros and cons, don’t you agree? The best part here is a compelling case of why it might be a con for you and better of quitting it.  See, Cal is not against the use of social media. 

Depending on your goals, this tool might act as a con. Why?

We have a limited amount of will power daily and the more enticing tools, like social media you have pulling at your attention, the harder it will be to maintain focus on something important. It depletes your will power reserve for the day. Hence, choose your tools. 3rd strategy will help you with it.

This is the reason I feel 3rd strategy is most valuable. I am not claiming other strategies aren’t good. It is valuable because we spend a major part of our day glancing at our smartphone. The more time we glance, our ability to focus reduces.

The amount of data Cal used to keep his point is enormous. Every claim is backed with either book references or case studies, including scientific experiments. In some cases, you will see references to some articles, real-life examples, including himself.  I loved the part where Cal spelled out in what case an email and instant chatbox can be a distraction.

It makes it a must-have because you need to have the skill to work deeply. It is important due to technological restructuring. This book teaches you this skill. It doesn’t make it a must-have for specific roles where a connection is the most valued currency. For example, a certain type of salesman, lobbyist, etc.  

Ideas explained are simple, clear and straightforward.  

I feel a part of this book is incomplete. He says to give our brain another alternative to eliminate the addictive pull of entertainment. He didn’t say what those quality alternatives could be.

This book answered how to focus without distractions in style but it has more to offer, which includes some interesting stats from experiments. You will receive a workout plan which will help you develop and maintain Deep Work skill, important in this technological restructuring

Overall, a great book. A job well done by author Cal Newport.

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