Given that I really enjoyed Cal Newport’s ideas in So Good They Can’t Ignore You and also the way he writes, I decided to read his other best-seller book, Deep Work, right after. The idea of deep work was far from new to me, but I was interested in the book and the interpretation of it by Newport. Focusing deeply on something for a long time is getting more and rarer as our attention spans shorten. This strong focus combined with work is deep work and as it was always valuable, it’s worth is increasing.
Newport says that even if you have a short attention spam, deep work is possible, but you have to train yourself, just like you train to run or to lift weights. Maybe, in the beginning, you can do only a little per day, but you can train yourself up to 4-5 hours. More is not really possible.
All the people who work in open offices and many more might complain that deep work is simply impossible when we are getting interrupted every couple of minutes. Newport identifies four different strategies to implement deep work in your life, starting from the Monastic Philosophy of working in complete isolation (not an option for most of us) to the Journalistic Philosophy of deep work scheduling when you just squeeze in some deep work sessions whenever you find some time. For open office workers, you might go to a meeting room, or turn on the do not disturb flag (even a physical one).
Later in the book, some other important aspects are discussed such as the importance of breaks from focus - some boredom is welcome, the (bad) effects of social media on deep work and how to deal with shallow work.
I liked So Good They Can’t Ignore You more, but Deep Work is also a valuable book especially if you feel that you can’t focus on tasks as strong as you want. As an extra, you might learn from Deep Work how to memorize a deck of cards!