Cal Newport – Deep Work audiobook

Deep Work audiobook

Deep Work audiobook
Deep Work audiobook

 

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Deep Work developed by Cal Newport. Published in 2016, his work Deep Work: Recovering Focus in a World of Distractions aims to help people discover the value of focused and conscious work; it explains how to achieve this goal and teaches organizations how to stop wasting their resources. Deep Work audiobook .

Indeed, most of today’s knowledge workers constantly struggle to stay focused as they are bombarded with distractions and interruptions: social media notifications, the noise of open-plan offices, and the inability to prioritize. their work. It is often much easier to let your professional life be dictated by these superficial and immediate demands rather than focusing on a high-value task that takes time and effort. In his book, Newport offers a series of methods for his readers to change their work practices and begin to reap the benefits of distraction-free productivity.

Cal Newport is Associate Professor of Computer Science at Georgetown University and the author of five best-selling personal development books. A voracious reader, Newport draws on the experience and wisdom of many thinkers, scientists and authors, whose intense concentration has fostered remarkable work.

The book is intended for individuals, but its lessons can be of particular benefit to organizations seeking to improve the productivity and well-being of their employees.

“The ability to perform Deep Work is becoming increasingly scarce as it becomes more and more valuable in our economy. As a result, the few people who cultivate this skill and know how to make it the core of their professional lives are destined to experience prosperity. ”

“Leaving the distracted masses behind to join the few concentrates is a transformative experience. ”

“When you work, work hard. When you are done, finish for good. “- Cal Newport in Deep Work

What exactly is “deep work”?

Newport defines the concept as “the collection of professional activities performed in a state of concentration free from distraction that pushes your cognitive abilities to their limits.” According to him, the state of mental tension that defines the Deep Work audiobook is also the situation necessary for the improvement of capacities. Regardless of discipline, a commitment to deep work is a common characteristic of the most talented people.

As important as it may be, deep work is not practiced by most workers. Indeed, networking tools like email, social media and infotainment have become ubiquitous and they are fragmenting their attention into multiple chunks. Newport cites a 2012 McKinsey study which found that the average knowledge worker now spends more than 60% of their workweek on electronic communication and Internet research. As many authors have explained over the past two decades, “going superficial” is not a choice that can be easily reversed. In 2011, author Nicholas Carr showed in The Shallows that the Internet is literally reprogramming our brains by exclusively inducing a superficial level of understanding.

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Mais ce changement crée également de nouvelles opportunités pour ceux qui apprennent à y résister. Le travail profond est d’autant plus précieux qu’il est rare. Étant donné qu’un nombre croissant de tâches seront automatisées ou externalisées, notre économie tendra à n’attribuer ses récompenses qu’aux meilleurs. Et être le meilleur dans un domaine exige un travail profond, une compétence qui est en passe de devenir « le superpouvoir du 21e siècle ». Newport explique qu’il s’est adonné au travail profond au cours de ses années d’études au MIT et qu’il a beaucoup accompli grâce à cet effort conscient de réduction du superflu dans sa vie. « Il a été révélé que trois à quatre heures par jour, cinq jours par semaine de concentration ininterrompue et soigneusement dirigée suffisent à produire une grande quantité de précieux résultats. »

Pourquoi le travail profond est si précieux

L’essor de la technologie numérique transforme actuellement les marchés du travail. Dans Race Against the Machine (2011), Erik Brynjolfsson et Andrew McAfee mentionnent la « Grande restructuration » qui divise tous les emplois : certains emplois sont automatisables et facilement externalisés, tandis que d’autres se font de plus en plus précieux. Seuls trois groupes de personnes pourront prospérer :

Les travailleurs hautement qualifiés en mesure de travailler avec des machines intelligentes et maîtrisant un raisonnement plus abstrait et axé sur les données. Leur valeur sur le marché a énormément augmenté au cours des dernières années et elle devrait encore augmenter à l’avenir.
Les Superstars sont les meilleurs dans leur domaine. Ce sont tous les programmeurs, consultants, spécialistes du marketing, designers, écrivains et musiciens dont le talent a été rendu universellement accessible. Ils sont au sommet du marché et prospèrent tandis que le reste doit lutter. « Il y a une prime lorsque l’on est le meilleur » au sein de ce marché où le gagnant emporte tout.
Les propriétaires sont ceux qui disposent du capital. « À quel autre moment de l’Histoire une aussi petite quantité de travail aurait-elle pu être impliquée dans une telle quantité de valeur ? »
Si vous n’êtes pas un « propriétaire », il existe malgré tout des moyens de prospérer (ils appartiennent aux deux premiers groupes). On peut citer à cet effet deux capacités essentielles qui contribuent à la réussite au sein de la nouvelle économie : la capacité de maîtriser rapidement la nouveauté ; et la capacité de produire à un niveau d’élite, en termes de qualité comme de rapidité. Ces deux capacités dépendent de votre capacité à réaliser un travail profond.

Dans les années 1990, le professeur de psychologie Anders Ericsson a expliqué que la différence entre les experts et les adultes moyens était le produit d’une longue période d’efforts délibérés visant à améliorer leurs performances dans un domaine donné. La « pratique délibérée », a-t-il exposé, ne peut pas coexister avec la distraction. Elle nécessite une concentration complète.

Tout se résume à une formule assez simple : Travail de haute qualité produit = (Temps passé) * (Intensité de la concentration)

Pourquoi la distraction peut s’avérer mortelle pour la qualité

Dans un article publié en 2009, Sophie Leroy, professeur d’économie à l’Université du Minnesota, a présenté l’effet appelé « résidu d’attention », souvent été étudié dans le contexte du multitâche. Le problème qu’elle a identifié était que lorsque l’on passe de la tâche A à la tâche B, l’attention ne suit pas immédiatement. Un résidu de celle-ci reste bloqué sur la tâche de départ. « Les personnes souffrant de problèmes d’attention après avoir changé de tâche sont susceptibles de fournir de mauvaises performances sur la dernière tâche ». Par conséquent, les changements fréquents s’avèrent mortels en matière de performance professionnelle. L’habitude commune de travailler dans un état de distraction ne peut amener à un travail de qualité.

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But this change also creates new opportunities for those who learn to resist it. Deep work is all the more precious as it is rare. As more and more tasks will be automated or outsourced, our economy will tend to give its rewards only to the best. And being the best at something takes hard work, a skill that is fast becoming “the superpower of the 21st century”. Newport says he devoted himself to deep work during his years at MIT and achieved a lot through this conscious effort to reduce the superfluous in his life. “It has been revealed that three to four hours a day, five days a week of uninterrupted and carefully directed concentration is enough to produce a great deal of valuable results. ”

Why deep work is so precious

The rise of digital technology is transforming labor markets. In Race Against the Machine (2011), Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee mention the “Great Restructuring” that divides all jobs: some jobs are automated and easily outsourced, while others are increasingly valuable. Only three groups of people will be able to prosper:

Highly skilled workers able to work with intelligent machines and mastering more abstract and data-driven reasoning. Their market value has increased tremendously in recent years and is expected to increase further in the future.
Superstars are the best in their field. These are all the programmers, consultants, marketers, designers, writers, and musicians whose talent has been made universally accessible. They are at the top of the market and thrive while the rest struggle. “There is a bonus for being the best” in this winner-takes-all market.
The owners are those who have the capital. “At what other time in history could such a small amount of labor have been involved in such a large amount of value? ”
If you are not an “owner”, there are still ways to thrive (they belong to the first two groups). To this end, we can cite two essential capacities that contribute to success in the new economy: the ability to quickly master novelty; and the ability to produce at an elite level, both in terms of quality and speed. Both of these abilities depend on your ability to do deep work.

In the 1990s, psychology professor Anders Ericsson explained that the difference between experts and average adults was the product of a long period of deliberate effort to improve their performance in a given area. “Deliberate practice,” he argued, cannot coexist with distraction. It requires complete concentration.

It all comes down to a fairly simple formula: High quality work produced = (Time spent) * (Intensity of concentration)

Why distraction can be deadly for quality

In an article published in 2009, Sophie Leroy, professor of economics at the University of Minnesota, presented the so-called “attention residue” effect, often studied in the context of multitasking. The problem she identified was that when moving from task A to task B, attention does not immediately follow. A residue of this remains blocked on the starting task. “People with attention problems after changing tasks are likely to perform poorly on the last task.” Therefore, frequent changes prove to be fatal in professional performance. The common habit of working in a state of distraction cannot lead to quality work.
Some people thrive in the absence of depth, such as senior executives of large companies, certain types of salespeople, or lobbyists, for whom contact remains the most popular currency. But these are rare exceptions.

Why deep work is so rare

With the rise of internet tools, smartphones, instant messaging, social media, and collaboration tools, constant connection (and incessant interruptions) have become the norm in most businesses. Many start-ups – and more traditional businesses – have chosen open-plan offices to encourage “fortuitousness.” Massive distraction is the default way of working in most offices.

Since it is so valuable, one would expect organizations to promote deep work in order to get the most out of their people. But paradoxically, the reverse is true. Organizations prioritize casual collaboration, rapid communication, and an active social media presence over deep work. The main problem is that the impact of distraction is quite difficult to measure. This is why the “principle of least resistance” dominates in business circles: It is “easier” to let your inbox dictate your work day, because it involves no planning and less thought.

“The principle of least resistance, shielded from view by a black hole in criteria, supports work cultures that spare us the short-term discomfort of concentration and planning, to the detriment of long-term satisfaction. and the production of real value ”. Occupation takes the place of productivity. In the absence of clear indicators, many knowledge workers find it difficult to understand what exactly increased productivity would mean for them. So doing a lot of “stuff” in a visible way is a wise choice for them.

Why hard work makes work and life more meaningful

The link between depth and job satisfaction is well known when it comes to craftsmanship. But this strong connection between attention and happiness exists with everyone. Three types of arguments can be formulated:

The neurological argument for depth: Our brains construct our worldview based on what we pay attention to. “Who you are, what you think, what you feel and do, what you love: this is the sum of the centers of your attention.” Scientists have observed this phenomenon down to the neurological level. They demonstrated that many older people reprogrammed their brains to ignore the negative and savor the positive.
The psychological argument for the deep heart: Psychologist Csikszentmihalyi is famous for his state of flux theory. “Human beings, it seems, give their best when put in the midst of a challenge.” The feeling of rushing to the depths is particularly gratifying. By pushing your mind to its limits, you get lost in your activity, which generates a certain happiness.
The philosophical argument for depth: In our post-Enlightenment world, we took it upon ourselves to identify anything that made sense. “The task of an artisan is not to generate meaning, but rather to cultivate within himself the ability to discern meanings already present. It frees the craftsman from nihilism to autonomous individualism. ” Fortunately, it is possible to find a potentially artisanal aspect with many jobs. Computer programmers, for example, are often seen as modern craftsmen.
How to implement deep work in your life

Rule # 1: Work deeply

In an ideal world, one would have access to workplaces where deep work would be encouraged and celebrated. In reality, we often work in distracting offices wasting a large part of the day on superficial activities. Resisting distractions is terribly difficult. Our will is not without limits. Therefore, the key is to develop routines and rituals that will limit the amount of willpower required. Four different planning ‘philosophies’ can be listed:

The monastic philosophy of planning deep work:
This philosophy attempts to maximize deep work by eliminating superficial obligations. Isolated from the distracted masses, the monk can launch into his deep thoughts. The pool of individuals who can adopt this philosophy is rather limited.

The bimodal philosophy of deep work planning:
This philosophy is about dividing your time. A part is dedicated to clearly defined deep activities. The other part remains open to everything else. It can be done on the scale of a week (2-3 days) or on the scale of a year (for example, some academics often devote a season to deep work).

The rhythmic philosophy of deep work planning:
This philosophy generates a steady rhythm of deep work removing the need to invest your energy. Following foolproof routines – for example, deep work sessions between 5:30 a.m. and 7:30 a.m. every day – will help support this work. In the end, a large number of hours of deep work can be done.

The journalistic philosophy of deep work planning:
Some people, like author Walter Isaacson, manage to get into deep work as soon as the opportunity presents itself, even if it’s only relatively short periods of time. Newport insists that it is vital to “ritualize” deep work. “Great creative minds think like artists, but they work like accountants.” Rituals include having a specific place for deep work efforts, rules, and processes to keep one’s efforts structured.

Regardless of the philosophy followed, deep work must be “done like a professional activity”: focus on the most important, act on the main measures, keep a convincing picture and define responsibilities.

Rule # 2: Embrace boredom

“You will have a hard time reaching the deepest levels of concentration if you spend the rest of your time running away from boredom.” Just waiting and being bored – not checking your phone when you have to stand in line for five minutes – is essential. It is the constant shift from low-value, high-stimulus activities to high-value, low-stimulus activities that prompts the mind to constantly seek novelty. You shouldn’t take distraction breaks, but focus breaks.

Rule # 3: Ditch Social Media

We all feel that many of these tools fragment our time and reduce our ability to concentrate. Most of us think we should continue to use them because they give us “some benefit”. Newport says we should choose our tools more carefully, as do artisans. “The artisanal approach to tool selection: identify the key factors that determine success and happiness in your professional life. Only adopt a tool if its positive impacts on these factors clearly outweigh its negative impacts. ” In other words, not everyone has so much to gain from the regular use of social media, but we are convinced that we cannot live without it.

Rule # 4: Drain the surface

“The superficial work that increasingly dominates the time and attention of knowledge workers is often less important than it seems at the moment.” Interruptions and distractions fragment our working day so much that claiming a reasonable average of four hours of deep work per day often remains an unattainable goal. Here are some tips from Newport to help you get better:

Plan every minute of your day to avoid spending it on “autopilot”. Instead, divide your time into activity blocks.
Quantify the depth of each activity to determine how much time you will actually spend on unnecessary tasks.
Finish your work early and don’t go back to work in the evenings, because “scheduled productivity” is most effective.
Become difficult to reach: you don’t have to answer every e-mail sent to you. Instead, try to calm the expectations of other people in this area … Deep Work audiobook .

 

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