But fortunately for the book, the implications goes much deeper than just this simple fact.
According to Cal Newport, we live in an era where the concentrated and focused man is a dying breed – a paradox considering that we are supposedly living in a “knowledge economy”.
On one side of the equation, our ability to do focused work is being impaired by our modern and hyper-connected environment littered with Twitter notifications, FaceTime calls and easy-to-read news on countless websites. On the other hand, people who can work with complex problems in an exponentially accelerating, technological reality, are best suited to keep up with the rapid development – at least if you believe the author.
If nothing else; if the focused human really is a dying breed, he will always be able to call himself unique, if he possesses the skill that many have lost.
I now give you my 3 favorite take aways from the book:
- Remember to take time off. If we buy the premise that we really can be more effective / creative when we practice the “deep-work method”, we must also realize that we need breaks. According to the author, we cannot expect more than 4 hours of quality work from ourselves during any given day, and if we want to do this on several consecutive days, we will have to recharge in between.
- Try a “productivity-meditation“. The author suggests that we try to show mindfulness towards the disruptive behavior that we potentially suffer from. Therefore, one can try to observe the inner urge to check Twitter when being in the middle of something important – possibly, closing the eyes, breathe, return to the work, and keep in mind that Twitter will always be available once the deep work session is done.
- Choose your social media platforms with care. Cal Newport argues beautifully, that we should not join every possible social network, that we can generate a like on. It is simply important that we make a deliberate calculation of the time we may spend on the various tools, and whether they are worth it in the long run. Social media should only be regarded as tools, and therefore only be taken out of the toolbox once they solve a fitting problem. The time you could have gained from not maintaining your Facebook page has to be accounted for, to calculate the opportunity costs.
As I said, the main point of the book is very obvious, yet it has had a tangible impact on how I do my work now, and it, therefore has my recommendation.
Going to buy the book?