- You want positive peer-pressure in your life
- You must use places and planned routines to stay focused
- Attention control is a muscle, build it up.
- It is OK to not respond to people/things. Better to appear spacey then snippy!
- Three types of people who will succeed in the future:
- Those with access to capital
- Those who work creatively with machines
- Those who are the best in their field
- There is shallow work and deep work (flow-state work)
- In the new economy, you must quickly learn new things and produce at a high level (sort of an argument about labor markets becoming more fluid/efficient and thus competitive)
- Deep work is the key to being successful in creating and being the best. Negatively, you must avoid shallow working and distractions.
- Focused deliberate work is often the most meaningful work
- Rather than generating meaning we are to cultivate it in ourselves and distill it from the places where it already is
How to work deeply
- Work on a single task free from distractions by defining the task at hand and isolating yourself
- You will need to deliberately practice deep work and get feedback to keep yourself producing at a high level
- You must focus intensely without distraction
- To do this you will need long interrupted stretches of work
- Isolate yourself to focus
- Enforce strict isolation until the task is done
- high quality work = intensity of focus * time spent
- Attention residue (erosion) occurs when you have too many simultaneous things going on and your background brain switches between them too often. This leads to poor performance.
- In some jobs, constant connection is valuable currency. (How do these jobs compete?)
- Even though you are not aware, your brain responds to distractions
- We will tend towards behaviors that are easiest in the moment
- Busyness is a bad proxy for productivity
- One excuse to get out of commitments (busy work) — “I’m not responsible” this advice only feels good for when you are being courted rather than cajoled
- Take breaks. Walks in nature are particularly good.
- Don’t take breaks from distraction; take breaks from focus
How to start working deeply
- You must be inspired by healthy stress and positive peer pressure
- Find a place to brood
- Have shallow chambers and deep work chambers
- Use routines and rituals wisely
- There is no recipe – you need your own philosophy that incorporates your own circumstances and
- Find times to work (seasons, months, weeks, weekends, one full day)
- The minimum time needed for deep work is one full day
- Two types of deep work – rhytmic (in and out in 4 hours or so) and bi-modal
How to keep working deeply
- Use positive peer pressure
- Use visual aids (red X on calendar)
- Block out every minute of your day to make sure you are focused. (This is a guideline not a strict schedule)
- Discipline isn’t easy, you just have to keep at it.
- At the end of each day take every “work item” (not your deep work) and put it on paper/to do lists. Externalize them and try to forget them. This way they won’t creep around in your attention.
- “Check out” your computer. In essence don’t open it unless you have a specific purpose.
- Attention control is a muscle. You can strengthen it.
How to avoid distraction
- Have a goal and 3 things you must do to stay on track for your goal
- Simply don’t respond to voicemails or emails unless they align with your goals
- When you say no to things, don’t offer a consolation. Give it a clean break or “no”
- Become hard to reach (quiz to answer on forms for example) — you have a right to control your incoming communication
- Develop a habit of letting small bad things happen; otherwise you’ll never get to big things