How deep work is helping me stay more focused

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Last month I finished reading the book Deep Work by Cal Newport. And I have been actively trying to implement it in my life and work. In this blog, I will talk about a few ideas from the book and my experience with it.

The book talks about two types of work, mainly deep work and shallow work. But what are those? Let's understand first.

Deep work vs shallow work ?

Deep work is the activities performed in a state of distraction-free concentration that pushes your cognitive capabilities to their limit. These efforts create new value, improve your skills, and are hard to replicate.

whereas shallow work is often performed while distracted. These are non-cognitively demanding, logistical-style tasks. These efforts tend to not create much new value in the world and are easy to replicate.

When you work, work hard. When you’re done, be done

High-Quality Work Produced = (Time Spent) x (Intensity of Focus)

At the end of the workday, completely cease thinking about work-related issues until the next morning. This means no after-dinner email checks, no replaying of conversations in your mind, and no planning on how to handle upcoming challenges. If you need more time, consider extending your workday.

However, once you shut down, ensure your mind is free to encounter Kreider's buttercups, stink bugs, and stars.

You have limited willpower

You have a finite amount of willpower that becomes depleted as you use it. To build a habit of deep work, don't just rely on good intentions. Instead, add routines and rituals to your work life. These will help you focus without using up too much of your willpower.


a woman sitting at a table with a laptop

  • Where you will work and for how long. Your ritual should specify a location for your deep work efforts.

  • How you’ll work once you start to work. Your ritual needs rules and processes to keep your efforts structured.

  • How you’ll support your work. Your ritual needs to ensure your brain gets the support it needs to keep operating at a high level of depth. For example, the ritual might specify that you start with a cup of good coffee, make sure you have access to enough food of the right type to maintain energy or integrate light exercise such as walking to help keep the mind clear.

Eliminating distractions

a person holding a cell phone in their hand

If you keep your mind busy with important tasks all day, you'll feel more satisfied when you go to bed, and you'll start the next day more relaxed than if you spend hours aimlessly browsing the internet.

if you want to eliminate the addictive pull of entertainment sites on your time and attention, give your brain a quality alternative.

Why do you think we spend countless hours scrolling on Instagram reels? Our brain needs a better alternative for that. We spend much of our day on autopilot—not giving much thought to what we’re doing with our time. Once we start making decisions and choices consciously, things start to change.