High Quality Work = Time x Intensity Of Focus

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In Deep Work, Dr. Cal Newport tells us:

Deep work is necessary to wring every last drop of value out of your current intellectual capacity. We now know from decades of research in both psychology and neuroscience that the state of mental strain that accompanies deep work is also necessary to improve your abilities. Shallow Work: Noncognitively demanding, logistical-style tasks, often performed while distracted. These efforts tends to not create much new value in the world and are easy to replicate. In an age of network tools, in other words, knowledge workers increasingly replace deep work with the shallow alternative—constantly sending and receiving e-mail messages like human network routers, with frequent breaks for quick hits of distraction. The Deep Work Hypothesis: The ability to perform deep work is becoming increasingly rare at exactly the same time it is becoming increasingly valuable in our economy. As a consequence, the few who cultivate this skill, and then make it the core of their working life, will thrive. Deep Work: Professional activities performed in a state of distraction-free concentration that push your cognitive capabilities to their limit. These efforts create new value, improve your skill, and are hard to replicate. High Quality Work = Time x Intensity of Focus”

Neuroscience shows that the mental strain that goes with deep work is what is required to improve our abilities. Struggle is not an option. It’s a biological requirement for neuroplasticity.

I strive for at least four deep work time blocks each day. I treat a 50-minute deep work time block like a meditation. If my attention wanders to something else during my 50 minutes of focus, I return it.