Cal Newport lays out his arguments for “going deep” — uninterrupted, long, and intense periods of focusing on the work that is going to further your goals quite well in this book.
I rarely disagreed with him and when I did it was because I was guilty of so much of his arguments against shallow work — email, Twitter, Facebook — all those non-essential, non-urgent, and non-important tasks that cause the dreaded decrease in focus from task switching (multitasking) which the effects of have long been debated. We know it takes a period of time from when you’re working on a computer program and you switch to Twitter to recover that intense focus. The more you task switch, the worse it gets.
The book made me uncomfortable because I realized how much time I was squandering; how much I wasn’t learning or practicing a certain skill. How many hours I’ve spent mindlessly scrolling Facebook on my phone. I also know I really don’t know how to stop.
Cal offers great suggestions and I have a few plugins and tools to make this easier. Being comfortable with being bored is difficult for many. Cal encourages his readers to force boredom on themselves and to stick with it. The more practice you have the easier it will get and the closer you’ll come to performing “deep work”.
The book made take a long hard look at myself and for me that’s worth five stars.