February Book Recommendation

Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World

The first half of Deep Work By Cal Newport covers what deep work is. The second half lays down the groundwork for how to structure your time to enable long stretches of deep work. This book often refers to "knowledge workers" and will apply the most to that group. A knowledge worker would be anyone whose job requires processing and handling information. Some examples might be a writer, programmer, or lawyer. I'd recommend this book to anyone looking to find more time in their day. The tips on how to achieve deep work tend to focus on reducing distractions in your day. Fewer distractions in your day mean more deep work but it also means you waste less time even outside of work.

My personal takeaways after reading this book are:

  • reduced phone usage
  • Better awareness of work hours vs disconnect time
  • Reduction in social media usage
  • Deletion of 5 apps that tended to distract me

Most of the points listed above are around screen time and phone usage. Screen time has always been a personal improvement area for me and has gotten worse since the pandemic. Screen time isn't the only topic covered in Deep Work. There are sections on emails, scheduling, work environments, and more. There's nothing profound said in Deep Work, but it's the type of information that people tend to ignore and forget. Because of that, most people will get something out of this book. It will lead to some small improvements that give you more time or makes you a little more productive at work.

Flow vs Deep Work

The book Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi gets mentioned several times in Deep Work. Flow gets mentioned enough that I think it's worth a read if you enjoy Deep Work. When comparing Deep Work and Flow there are definitely a lot of similarities. To me deep work and flow both seem related. I see flow as this almost euphoric state of work where everything comes together. A state where your work doesn't feel like work, it feels like art coming together. I see deep work as a state of uninterrupted work. You don't have to be moving from one thing to the next effortlessly or connecting things with ease. You could be stuck on a difficult paragraph or line of code for hours. The key is that you are uninterrupted and focused on the task at hand.

Purchase Deep Work here

Purchase Flow here

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