This is the Review of the book “Deep Work” by Cal Newport

This is a really inspirational book for people who want to get things done, do more creative work BUT not able to focus on things, prioritize things, reach goals; which in turn leaves us feeling like crap. Cal Newport with great clarity, distinguishes between 2 types of work – Shallow and Deep Work. He gives us various examples of how famous people have done great creative work and gives us different techniques and approaches to do the same.

What makes me relate to this book is that, he applies the principles discussed in the book in his own work; to show us how anyone can do Deep Work if they put some effort to actually do it. Really inspirational book for me. These are my takeaways from this book

  • Have time blocks for Deep Focused work, how much time you spend on the internet, Checking Email etc
  • Before your workday ends E.g 9-5 PM, spend 15 mins to prioritize and plan out next day’s work. After you do this, have some routines to remind you that, you are DONE with work and not going to go back to it until the next day. In this book, Cal says this phrase loudly so that he can hear it himself- “Complete Shutdown”, This signifies that his day has ended and he is not going to open his work laptop or check work e-mails. This sounds crazy but trust me I tried it and it really works if you put your mind to it
  • Practice “Productive Meditation“. This is a period in which you are occupied physically by doing things like Walking, Jogging, Driving. While doing this you DO NOT listen to music or talk to people BUT concentrate on a problem and spend this time thinking about it and trying to find a solution for it.
  • Have a “Deep Work Chart“. This is to document how much time you spend doing Deep focused work and how much time you are un-productive or spend doing other things which are not related to you goals. You can find mine here – My Deep Work Chart
  • Have “Packing Parties”. This is to take the help of your friends to pack things in your house quickly if you are moving by bribing them with Food and Beer. Another way I understood this is, pack all the stuff you think you don’t need and put it in a safe location, see whether you really miss it during the week/month. If you don’t, then you really don’t need them.
  • Schedule your day/ every minute of it (I would say at least the day). Cal is a productivity and focus Addict. In the book, he describes how he schedules each and every minute of his day to ensure he concentrates on things which only relates to reaching his goals. I tried this but not able to follow it. Needs a lot of practice

I have started doing my own deep work and recording it in a Deep Work Sheet for the past couple of months. Will share the results of it in a separate post, as it is worth mentioning some of the things I am noticing while doing this.

If you have done similar kind of experiments or thoughts in this post, please feel free to share them as comments here or you can contact me at –

For the experiments I have started doing, check out this post –

I have a follow up post to this, of how I am applying these things in my life. Check it out here – 72 hour Deep Work week


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