What ive been reading: Deep work by Cal Newport

Jun 26, 2024·
Gert de Pagter
Gert de Pagter
· 3 min read

Deep work

I finished reading deep work about a week ago. If you want to become a mythical 10x developer (or 10x anything really), this book provides you with the tool on how to succeed in just that.

A lot of us fall into a trap of doing mostly, what this book calls, shallow work. We have meetings that aren’t really important, we do meaningless tasks, and spend half our day in meeting that could’ve been avoided. The book first focuses on why deep work is important, and why so many of us are doing so little of it. It shows why your organization can even stop you from performing meaningful deep work, and how to start dong more deep work.

What is deep work

Personally I would define deep work as deeply focused work. It is the ability to focus deeply on something for longer periods of time, without interruptions. We’ve all had work days when every time you are getting into the groove, something pops up, and you have lost your focus. Whether it’s a colleague with a question, an email that needs an immediate response, or something else entirely. Every time we lose this focus, we need a lot of time to get it back again. Only to have go into the next meeting.

Deep work is about saying no to certain requests, not going to the meetings that aren’t needed, and focusing on doing the work that you actually want/need to do. The book argues that most emails don’t need a response within a minute and most questions on slack don’t need to be responded to right away.

Deep work as a developer

Deep work as a developer means increasing your productivity by a lot. Your first order of business would be to not always be available for questions. It is okay to set aside chunks of time to focus on your work, without checking slack, email or your phone every minute. Of course, you can’t just start doing this right away, and you’ll need to make sure your team knows you can’t be reached at every minute of the day like before. The book also goes into detail on how to set this up for yourself.

Deep work is now sitting on my bookshelf, but I’m sure it’s a book that I open up again from time to time to remember how to deal with certain types of shallow work, and how to become more efficient with my time. So I would definitely recommend this book to any developer looking to improve their career. You can buy deep work on amazon.

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