STANWOOD insights

Book review: Deep Work - Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World - Cal Newport

Aug 13, 2019 10:29:43 AM / by Hannes Kleist

Our head of catering Hannes, reviews his favorite books.

This week Hannes read the a deeply inspiring book about the future of work.

The book warns that our social media and business practises (i.e. Slack) train our brains to be constantly distracted and making us unable to focus on anything longer than a few minutes.

On the other side we need long periods on undisturbed deep work to deliver our craft.

This book explain why and how.

After reading the book, Hannes re-focused Stanwood on calm operations, removed facebook and co from his phone, disabled all notifications and unread badges and is even considering to sunset Slack.

PART 1: The Idea

To learn hard things quickly, you must focus intensely without distraction.
If you instead remain one of the many for whom depth is uncomfortable and distraction ubiquitous, you shouldn’t expect these systems and skills to come easily to you.

The Principle of Least Resistance, protected from scrutiny by the metric black hole, supports work cultures that save us from the short-term discomfort of concentration and planning, at the expense of long-term satisfaction and the production of real value.

Our brains instead construct our worldview based on what we pay attention to. Your mind will construct an understanding of your working life that’s dominated by stress, irritation, frustration, and triviality.

The best moments usually occur when a person’s body or mind is stretched to its limits in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile.

PART 2: The Rules

You have a finite amount of willpower that becomes depleted as you use it.

The key is to maintain both in a hub-and-spoke-style arrangement: Expose yourself to ideas in hubs on a regular basis, but maintain a spoke in which to work deeply on what you encounter.
This back-and-forth represents a collaborative form of deep work (common in academic circles) that leverages what I call the whiteboard effect.

Entrenched companies are often unexpectedly dethroned by start-ups that begin with cheap offerings at the low end of the market, but then, over time, improve their cheap products just enough to begin to steal high-end market share. Grove
They elaborate that execution should be aimed at a small number of “wildly important goals.

Act on the Lead Measures Once you’ve identified a wildly important goal, you need to measure your success. In 4DX, there are two types of metrics for this purpose: lag measures and lead measures.

The ability to concentrate intensely is a skill that must be trained.

Productive meditation builds on both of the key ideas introduced at the beginning of this rule. By forcing you to resist distraction and return your attention repeatedly to a well-defined problem, it helps strengthen your distraction-resisting muscles, and by forcing you to push your focus deeper and deeper on a single problem, it sharpens your concentration.

When you notice it, remark to yourself that you seem to be in a loop, then redirect your attention toward the next step.

Put more thought into your leisure time. In other words, this strategy suggests that when it comes to your relaxation, don’t default to whatever catches your attention at the moment, but instead dedicate some advance thinking to the question of how you want to spend your “day within a day.

When it comes to e-mail, they believed, it’s the sender’s responsibility to convince the receiver that a reply is worthwhile.

Buy the book here



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