Deep Work

Reading notes for book “Deep Work” Why do we need Deep Work?

  1. In the new economy, three groups will have a particular advantage: those who can work well and creatively with intelligent machines, those who are the best at what they do, and those with access to capital
  2. Two core qualities for thriving in the new economy: the ability to quickly master hard things, the ability to produce at an elite level in terms of quality and speed
  3. Deliberate practice: the differences between expert performers and normal adults reflect a life-long period of deliberate effort to improve performance in a specific domain
  4. Core components of deliberate practice: your attention is focused tightly in the specific skill you are trying to improve or an idea you are trying to master, you receive feedback so you can correct your approach to keep your attention exactly where it is most productive
  5. Improve productivity: batch hard but important intellectual work into long, uninterrupted stretches
  6. Busyness as Proxy for Productivity: in the absence of clear indicators of what it means to be productive and valuable in their jobs, many knowledge workers turn back toward an industrial indicator of productivity: doing lots of stuff in a visible manner. It can compromise deep work
  7. Better to have a clear understanding of what it means to succeed in our knowledge work job
  8. Explanation of lack of deep work in today’s business climate: deep work is hard and shallow work is easier, absence of clear goals for the jobs, the visible busyness that surrounds shallow work becomes self-preserving, the belief that if a behaviour relates to the internet then it’s good

How to accomplish Deep Work?

  1. Bimodal philosophy of deep work: decide your time, dedicating some clearly defined stretches to deep pursuits and leaving the rest open to everything else
  2. Rhythmic philosophy: transform deep work into a simple regular habit. For example, wake up early in the morning and deep work a bit before going to work. Deep work needs to happen in 90min chunks
  3. Journalist philosophy: fit deep work wherever you can into your schedule
  4. To make the most out of your deep work: build rituals with strictness and idiosyncrasy, make great gestures(change of environment)
  5. Inject regular and substantial freedom from professional concerns into your day, providing you with the idleness required to get work done. For example, shut down your consideration of work issues until the next morning, no after dinner email check, no mental replays of conversations, and no scheming about how you will handle an upcoming challenge, shutdown working thinking completely
  6. Set up a shutdown ritual: the first thing I do is to take a final look at my email inbox to ensure that there is nothing requiring an urgent response before the day ends. The next thing I do is transfer any new tasks that are on my mind or were scribbled down earlier in the day into my official task lists. Once I have these tasks lists open, I quickly skim every task in every list, and then look at the next few days on my calendar. These two actions ensure that there is nothing urgent I am forgetting for any important deadlines or appointments sneaking up to me. Then I plan for the next day. Once the plan is created, shutdown complete and work thoughts are done for the day.
  7. Roosevelt dashes: set up a challenging timer for the task you want to fish, deeply concentrate to hit the timer
  8. Productive mediation: take a period in which you are occupied physically but not mentally-walking, jogging, driving, showering-and focus on your profession
  9. Schedule every minute of your day
  10. Deep work time is very limited everyday, typically 4hrs for advanced deep works
  11. Manage your exposure to distractions like e-mails
Share: Twitter Facebook
Tiffany Li's Picture

About Tiffany Li

Software Engineer

Vancouver, Canada