Books · creativity · Practical

Super Summary: Deep Work

Next up in my super summary series: Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport.

On this blog, a super summary is basically a “summary of a summary” of a book (with a few additions of my own). It gives you the basic idea of a book to see if you want to read the real thing. Most of the content comes from Lucid visual book summary series.

👉This book gives you official permission to set your chat app to do-not-disturb or enable Focus mode on your iPhone.

Deep vs. shallow work

Shallow work is work that’s done in small pieces, doesn’t require your full attention, and keeps you busy. It is often necessary, but does not lead to great achievements.

Deep work means complex thinking in a state of distraction-free concentration. Think flow. Your brain can do amazing things in this state of focus.

Many great thinkers in history went to incredible lengths to isolate themselves from distractions while they worked. Studies show that many of people’s happiest moments come when they are stretched to their mental limits and lose themselves in this state.

This intense focus allows you to master difficult skills and produce at an elite level.

👉 It’s a career builder.

Making time for deep work

Switching frequently between tasks leaves “attention residue” and makes it difficult to focus on a new task after switching focus, especially if you leave the previous ask unfinished.

To allow yourself to get the most out of deep work, schedule you time in blocks of deep and shallow work with one of these strategies.

👉I’ve found that I can only be productive at highly creative deep work for about 90 minutes at a time. Then I need a mental break.

Monastic

On one end, monastic deep workers go to great lengths to make time for deep work. They eliminate social media and use email sparingly to achieve their goals.

👉This seems pretty extreme unless you aim to be Henry David Thoreau at Walden Pond or Bon Iver at his cabin in Wisconsin. 🤷🏻‍♂️

Bimodal

Bimodal deep workers plan their day to make time for the shallow and deep work they need to do.

This strategy can mean bookending a solid day of deep work email and busy work at the beginning and end.

 Rhythmic

Rhythmic deep workers break their time down into smaller chunks to fit their schedule.

👉This is how I work because, you know, meetings. 🤷🏻‍♂️

Journalistic

For those whose less predictable days, journalistic deep workers capitalize on spare moments that come up throughout the day, even if it’s just 30 minutes.

These people fighting for deep work time as their day evolves. 🏃🏻‍♀️

👉 For some additional ideas, check out Wired article How to Use Block Scheduling to Revamp Your Workflow.

Books

Super summary: Quiet, The Power of Introverts

A super-summary on this blog is basically a “summary of a summary” of a book, with a few additions of my own. It gives you the basic idea of a book to see if you want to read the real thing.

Next up via Lucid: Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking [book | audiobook].

Who are the introverts?

Introverts are people who tend to benefit from alone time. They favor reflective and deliberate thinking. This approach lets them dig deep.

Some classic introverts are Albert Einstein, Rosa Parks, Abraham Lincoln, and Warren Buffett. Isaac Newton was known to be “a deeply introverted character and fiercely protective of his privacy.”

👉My favorite new introvert is standup comedian Taylor Tomlinson, who framed introversion with this joke:

I read a statistic that said in 80 percent of homicides cases the killer was someone the victim knew. When I read that, I was relieved. Like thank god, I don’t want to get murdered and meet someone. That’s a lot for a Friday, getting stabbed and acquainted.

Introverts have a hidden side

While introverts tend to be outwardly quiet, they can also be bold, strong, and courageous. This is not a paradox.

See examples above. ☝️ You don’t have to be loud to revolutionize our understanding of the world, save a nation, or build a fortune.

They may not be fun at parties, but these are some heavy hitters when it comes to lasting, positive change in the world.

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Via Lucid

Introverts aren’t always introverted

Introverts can act extroverted pretty convincingly if it is in the service of something they love. An introvert can do public speaking or standup comedy as long as it serves a core purpose.

This explains introverted, charismatic entertainers such as Prince

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Via Lucid

👉 As a bit of an introvert myself, I admire the fun, freewheeling nature of many extroverts. I’m trying to learn from them to do more and think less. But I also appreciate that my core happiness lies within and I can have some of my best nights all to myself.

Books · You

Super Summary: Think Like a Monk

I accidentally subscribed to this visual book insights app called Lucid. It promised “Read faster. Remember more.” so I had to try it. 🤷🏻‍♂️

Neglecting to cancel my free trial (oops!), I now have a full year of this service, so I might as well get the most out of it.

So this is my first “super summary” (a summary of the summary) for books I find interesting. You can see if you’re interested in reading the real thing. (audiobook | “book” book).

Think Like a Monk by Jay Shetty

👉 Luckily, we can take some useful lessons from monks without actually being Christian or abstinent. 😜

The monk mentality

Via Lucid

A monk has an inward focus and moves past pain and anxiety, leading to a happier and more meaningful life.

A monk focuses on core issues, long-term vision, and strives to find meaning. This is in contrast to a “monkey” mind, which is distracted, overwhelmed, and focusing on temporary fixes.

Identity and meaning

Via Lucid

Our core values define who we are and the meaning of our life. Our values should come from within rather than from other people’s influence.

We need to figure out what we’re all about so that we can focus our priorities and goals.

👉 This fits with some things the Savvy Psychologist said about values and meaning.

Dealing with negativity

👉 This section reminds me of the idea that people’s criticism often says more about themselves than the person they are criticizing. 🧐

If you think of others negatively, you think of yourself negatively.

To break this cycle: identity your negative thoughts towards others, stop, and reframe them in a more empathetic, specific, and helpful way.

If you think of others more positively, you think of yourself more positively and make better choices.

Conquering Fear

Via Lucid

👉 I like this section because I learned a while back that decisions driven by fear generally do not turn out well. 😱

Identify your deepest underlying fears. Acknowledge these fears and embrace them.

Then detach from your fears to make smart, independent, intentional choices.

Positive routines

👉 Despite this book calling for an early morning routine, I’m personally finding a relaxing nighttime routine especially useful. 😴

Wake up early to give yourself time to have a positive boost to your day. Use this time to be grateful, read & learn, meditate, and exercise.

Get to bed early and plan how you will conquer the next day.

The battle in your mind

Via Lucid

👉 I love this section because of the wolf analogy. 🤩

In each of our minds are two wolves battling with each other for control. One wolf is consumed by fear, anger, insecurity, and ego. The other is driven by love, kindness, humility, and positivity.

You can feed one of them (yes the good one!) by giving it your time and energy.

This internal battle is normal, and we should view it as external to us. Use meditation to observe your mind and better understand what might be triggering any negative thoughts.

Reframe negative thoughts in a positive way, changing problems and fears into positive actions.