The Value of ‘Deep Work’ — and how to cultivate focus
I started listening to this week's first episode in the series without reading the title, which is good, because I might have skipped it. Ostensibly because I’ve already read so many articles or essays on how being distracted isn’t good, I know I let myself get distracted by email, text, social media, and yet, here I am still reading emails and social media, distracting myself from the bigger and harder tasks, and perpetuating the problem. So how would listening to this be any different? But I found it fascinating from the very start. Shankar talks with Cal Newport, a computer scientist at Georgetown University and author of Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World, who called me on my ennui. He says we're downplaying the problems created by constant interruption.
"We treat it, I think, in this more general sense of, 'eh, I probably should be less distracted.' But I think it's more urgent than people realize," he says.
And he’s got research to back him up. By creating systems and structures that foster focusing for longer periods of time, not only are people be productive, but they are also more satisfied with their work. Cal comes at it from the perspective that we need to cultivate the ability to go deep. Much like mindfulness or meditation, it becomes easier and more intuitive with practice.
But don't just take my word for it -- the “You 2.0” podcast series on Hidden Brain is worth a listen for anyone looking to gain insights about themselves through understanding the unconscious, and it’s just plain interesting to listen to.
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