Perfect for: Better Habits, Productivity
Length: 304 pages
Depth: Easy to read but challenging to implement
Deep work is the ability to focus on one thing for hours at a time without any distraction. Deep work allows you to learn hard things fast and produce at an elite level. This book discusses the power of deep work and how to perform it in your life.
All the Feels:
Some stuff I found too extreme and a bit unrealistic (ex: only using internet at predefined times in the day). But there was still a ton of actionable and implementable advice which I am excited to try out.
My Main Takeaway(s):
Deep work is the ability to focus on one thing for hours at a time without any distraction. Deep work allows you to learn hard things fast and produce at an elite level.
In the technology driven world, there is greater demand for deep work and less people who can actually perform it. It is an in-demand and rare skill.
To excel in this high paced world, you must be able to master hard, complex and new things quickly. If you can’t learn quick and then apply those skills, then you will not succeed at an elite level.
To learn a new skill: use a deep working session and focus 100% on learning. Make sure you have a feedback loop. Something to let you know which learning methods are effective and which must be scraped.
4DX – Execution is more difficult than strategizing. Four disciplines to execute a deep work habit
- Focus on the wildly important – keep a small number of ambitious goals for your deep work time.
- Act on lead measures – have a way to measure your success while towards your goal. For example, if your goal is to use deep work to write 5 novels. Lag measure is number of novels written, it is the ultimate metric, but it takes too long to develop. You need instant feedback. Lead measure would be number of hours spent working deeply. Focus on the lead measure because it offers immediate feedback and has greater influence over your behavior. If you take care of the lead measures, the lag measures will follow.
- Keep a score card – publicly display the lead measures, such as daily number of deep work hours.
- Create a cadence of accountability – review your score card each week. Did you hit your lead measure targets? Why or why not? Do you need to increase or decrease the quota?
Schedule every minute of your day:
- When will your perform deep work blocks?
- When will you allow yourself to use internet or be distracted?
- When will you utilize mindful meditation? Learn to avoid mindless internet (ex. Insta. ESPN, etc.) when bored. Embrace the boredom!
When making a schedule be conservative with time estimates. This enables some unpredictability to arise without stress.
College grad test – how long would it take a recent college grad to complete this task? The tasks that require the most prior knowledge and time should be prioritized and attacked with deep work.
Do not agree to do marginal tasks. For example, dedicate 10% of time to L-cat. They suck up a lot of time and provide little benefit. Focus on projects that require deep work. They will have largest impact and they will allow you to practice the skill of utilizing deep work.