Source: Cal Newport website, Jan 2016
Deep work is the ability to focus without distraction on a cognitively demanding task. It’s a skill that allows you to quickly master complicated information and produce better results in less time. Deep work will make you better at what you do and provide the sense of true fulfillment that comes from craftsmanship.
Related Resource: Business Insider, Jan 2016
Newport defines deep work as “professional activities performed in a state of distraction-free concentration that push your cognitive capabilities to their limit, [which then] create new value, improve your skill, and are hard to duplicate.”
Newport also quotes Isaacson’s 2014 book “The Innovators” to bolster his point. “The one trait that differentiated [Gates from Allen] was focus,” Isaacson writes. “Allen’s mind would flit between many ideas and passions, but Gates was a serial obsessor.”
A dedication to deep work requires setting aside stretches of time each week (of say an hour or two) when you work with urgency and your concentration is not disrupted by anything, not even a brief moment of daydreaming or getting up for a cup of coffee.
It’s about being constantly aware of what work is considered “shallow” and what is “deep,” and ensuring that shallow work doesn’t overtake your schedule.
“A commitment to deep work is not a moral stance and it’s not a philosophical statement — it is instead a pragmatic recognition that the ability to concentrate is a skill that gets valuable things done,” Newport writes. “Deep work is important, in other words, not because distraction is evil, but because it enabled Bill Gates to start a billion-dollar industry in less than a semester.”