What do Mark Twain, Woody Allen, J.K. Rowling & Bill Gates all have in common? They all have been able to create an extreme amount of value in cognitively demanding fields. If you’ve ever studied the lives of many prolific figures throughout history, there’s always a common theme at play: DEEP WORK.
The term “Deep Work” was coined by Cal Newport, a computer science professor and author, in his book of the same name. Newport argues that in order to achieve real success in our professional and personal lives, we need to spend more time in deep work mode. This means that we need to minimize distractions, eliminate interruptions, and focus all our attention on the task at hand.
Deep Work Hypothesis: The ability to perform deep work is becoming increasingly rare at exactly the same time it is becoming increasingly valuable in our economy. As a consequence, the few who cultivate this skill, and then make it the core of their working life, will thrive.
For everyone involved in knowledge work (those whose jobs require a high level of thinking and processing information). Myself, being a writer and trader, I spend the majority of my day analyzing information. So I fully understand the benefit & commitment proposed by deep work.
It wasn’t until the pandemic, that I truly realized the value of engaging in long periods of uninterrupted thinking. Being a new writer on Medium during the pandemic, I was able to pump out 3–5 articles a week with ease with my newly found free time.
This new schedule was eye-opening because it made me realize what separates highly productive people from everyone else. It’s the ability to learn and produce at a consistent rate. Half the battle in knowledge work is positioning, how you structure your day and what you choose to focus on at a given time.
Understandably, if you want to produce on a regular basis there has to be a certain amount of clarity present. Knowing what to do and when to do it is a big part of what Cal Newport preaches. Deep work begins and ends with structure.
- Eliminating distractions
- Focusing on the task at hand (Concentration + Contemplation)