Notes from Cal Newport’s Deep Work

Vintage polaroid on top of amazing books.
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I started reading this book on my iPhone last Friday but it proved to be such a strain to the eye. This is true despite the improvement brought by the dark mode. This morning I loaded it to my Kindle and powered through it at the office. I really went deep on this one.

Notes from Cal Newport's Deep Work

So here’s some things that I’ve learnt from Deep Work:

  1. This book actually ties quite nicely with The One Thing and The Bullet Journal Method. It offer nuances and deeper why behind the tactics and narrative provided in both books.
  2. Your physical setting is important in supporting deep work. Open office clearly kills deep work. The same goes for rows of opened tab in your browser. That’s why native app for Ghost puts you in a better flow as compared to the busy WordPress editor.
  3. Set aside time to use the Internet for research. Don’t search round the clock. If an idea pops up in your head, jot it down and wait for the next research session. I think this important for me as I have the tendency to fall deep into the rabbit hole of Wikipedia (or worse: Wikia of fictional universes).
  4. Allow the mind to become bored. Don’t immediately reach for your smartphone when you are stuck waiting. If you are hooked to shallow work and pleasure, you are not able to dive in to deep work mode.
  5. Don’t use the Internet to entertain you. It primes you to stuck in the sandpit of shallows. Do other tasks – wash the dishes, clean up the house etc. If you still have free time do anything except going to the Internet for entertainment.
  6. Capacity for deep work need to be trained. Reading the Quran with Tafseer seems to be a good exercise. Yes I know it sounds perverse to do what Allah commands just to reap worldly rewards. But better start with insicerity then not starting at all.
  7. Social media really gives a false sense of importance to your musings. I’ve blogged during pre-social media days. It’s hard to gain sizeable following but the few that read regularly are really meaningful. Reading Deep Work made me realize this truth once again and discard the vanity metric of social media.
  8. Cal Newport did offer considerable nuance in deciding to quit social media. It made me confident to fully quit Twitter. I haven’t posted anything there for a while. As for Facebook, there’s not much use in using it in maintaining relationship as it is too shallow. Better meet up for coffee and such. However it is still vital for me on the commercial side as long as the ads run there brings considerable profit. If not I can safely ignore it or later delegate it to customer success officers.

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