Deep Work by Cal Newport

Here are my Notes on the Book Deep Work by Cal Newport: 

Deep Work = Intense Concentration on One project only.

Deep work is becoming increasingly valuable in our economy at the same time that it also is becoming increasingly rare. This represents a classic market mismatch: If you cultivate this skill, you’ll thrive professionally.

Monastic philosophy
This philosophy attempts to maximize deep efforts by eliminating or radically minimizing shallow obligations.

Bimodal philosophy
This philosophy asks that you divide your time, dedicating some clearly defined stretches to deep pursuits and leaving the rest open to everything else. minimum unit of time for deep work in this philosophy tends to be at least one full day.

That the easiest way to consistently start deep work sessions is to transform them into a simple regular habit.

Call this approach, in which you fit deep work wherever you can into your schedule, the journalist philosophy.

Make Rituals when working Deep:

  • Where you’ll work and for how long. Your ritual needs to 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.

Work with others:
When it comes to deep work, in other words, consider the use of collaboration when appropriate, as it can push your results to a new level.

This division between what and how is crucial but is overlooked in the professional world. It’s often straightforward to identify a strategy needed to achieve a goal, the how to do it is much more challenging.


  1. Discipline #1: Focus on the Wildly Important
  2. Discipline #2: Act on the Lead Measures
    Once you’ve identified a wildly important goal, you need to measure your success. In 4DX, there are two types of metrics for this purpose: lag measures and lead measures. Lag measures describe the thing you’re ultimately trying to improve. For example, if your goal is to increase customer satisfaction in your bakery, then the relevant lag measure is your customer satisfaction scores. Lead measures, on the other hand, “measure the new behaviors that will drive success on the lag measures.” In the bakery example, a good lead measure might be the number of customers who receive free samples. Lead measure: time spent in a state of deep work dedicated toward your wildly important goal.
  3. Discipline #3: Keep a Compelling Scoreboard. Ben Franklin. I kept track of the hours spent in deep work that week with a simple tally of tick marks in that week’s row.
  4. Discipline #4: Create a Cadence of Accountability. Weekly review in which you make a plan for the workweek ahead.

At the end of the workday, shut down your consideration of work issues until the next morning, shut down work thinking completely.

Why lazy is good:

  1. Reason #1: Downtime Aids Insights
  2. Reason #2: Downtime Helps Recharge the Energy Needed to Work Deeply. Interruptions have a cost on our concentration.
  3. Reason #3: The Work That Evening Downtime Replaces Is Usually Not That Important.

The ability to concentrate intensely is a skill that must be trained.

Once you’re wired for distraction, you crave it.

Instead of scheduling the occasional break from distraction so you can focus, you should instead schedule the occasional break from focus to give in to distraction.

Deadline Technique:
In particular, identify a deep task (that is, something that requires deep work to complete) that’s high on your priority list. Estimate how long you’d normally put aside for an obligation of this type, then give yourself a hard deadline that drastically reduces this time. If possible, commit publicly to the deadline. Tighter Deadlines.

Productive Meditation
The goal of productive meditation is to take a period in which you’re occupied physically but not mentally—walking, showering—and focus your attention on a single well-defined professional problem, depending on your profession.


When you notice your attention slipping away from the problem at hand, remind yourself that you can return to that thought later, then redirect your attention back.

  1. I suggest starting with a careful review of the relevant variables for solving the problem and then storing these values in your working memory.
  2. Once the relevant variables are identified, define the specific next-step question you need to answer using these variables.


About Social Media/  Entertainment!

The Craftsman Approach to Tool Selection: Identify the core factors that determine success and happiness in your professional and personal life. Adopt a tool only if its positive impacts on these factors substantially outweigh its negative impacts.

Don’t use Social Media for entertainment!

Important Steps:

  1. Identify the main high-level goals in both your professional and your personal life.
  2. Once you’ve identified these goals, list for each the two or three most important activities that help you satisfy the goal. These activities should be specific.
  3. Consider the network tools you currently use, are they Useful.
Use the 80/20 Rule.

Don’t Use the Internet to Entertain Yourself
Put more thought into your leisure time. In other words, this strategy suggests that when it comes to your relaxation, don’t default to whatever catches your attention at the moment, but instead dedicate some advance thinking to the question

Schedule Every Minute of Your Day:
We spend much of our day on autopilot—not giving much thought to what we’re doing with our time. This is a problem.

At the beginning of each workday, turn to a new page of lined paper in a notebook you dedicate to this purpose. Down the left-hand side of the page, mark every other line with an hour of the day, covering the full set of hours you typically work. Now comes the important part: Divide the hours of your workday into blocks and assign activities to the blocks. If it gets disrupted just replan it for the rest of the Day.