Deep Work-Cal Newport | Book Summary

Cal Newport’s book Deep Work is based upon the science of productivity. Cal claims that deep work – working in a state of intense concentration on a single job without interruptions – is the best method to get more meaningful work done.

The book explains why deep work increases output while being practiced by a small number of people. The book also explains how to really accomplish it and make deep work a habit in our life.

We can’t achieve the intellectual limits we’re capable of, according to Newport, unless we focus deeply for long periods of time.

The author claims that we have lost our capacity to focus deeply and immerse ourselves in high-value tasks, and it shows you how to reclaim this skill and focus more than ever before with the knowledge of a few basic guidelines.

Here are some key lessons you can learn from this book “Deep Work”-

What Is Deep Work?

be clear about what should be done and what not
  • Deep work is defined as focused, distraction-free work that pushes your cognitive skills to their limits. This method increases your abilities, generates a lot of value in a short amount of time, and is extremely difficult to duplicate.
  • Shallow work is working on non-cognitively demanding activities with little attention and often when distracted is referred to as shallow work. This method of operation is simple to duplicate. Consider checking emails every few minutes, reacting to push alerts, and scrolling aimlessly on social media such as Facebook, Twitter, and news websites.
  • If you spend enough time in a condition of shallowness doing shallow activities, your capacity to execute profound work is already reduced.
  • In order to produce the absolute best stuff you’re capable of, you need to commit to deep work.
  • Newport calls deep work, “the superpower of the 21st century.”

Why Deep Work Is Rare, Yet Highly Valuable

Deep Work Is Rare, Yet Highly Valuable skill
  • Deep work talent is becoming increasingly rare and at the same time, it is becoming increasingly important in our economy.
  • As a result, the few who nurture this expertise and make it the center of their professional lives will prosper.
  • Deep work is difficult, whereas shallow work is simpler, and in the absence of well-defined professional goals, it is easier to get inclined towards shallow work.
  • Deep work develops two basic abilities: the capacity to master difficult tasks and the ability to create at an exceptional level in terms of both quality and speed.
  • The disparities between expert performers and average individuals are the result of a lifetime of purposeful effort to improve performance in a particular subject.
  • A proven way to profound happiness and satisfaction is to structure your working life around the experience of flow created by deep work.

Deep Work Is a Skill

deep work is a skill that is made by intense concentration
  • Deep work is a skill that must be crafted over time. It may be difficult at the start.
  • But, as you continue to hone the technique, you will be able to work deeply and create huge volumes of work, reaping all of the rewards of deep work.
  • Deep work is defined as long periods of time spent single-tasking, without distractions, and in a state of intense attention.
    • 1-Single-tasking– It is one of the sub-parts of the deep work skill. Multitasking has been the main source to make people less effective. Focusing on one job at a time, without a doubt, enhances productivity.
    • 2-Without any interruptions– This is intuitively correct. When you’re not continually stopped by distractions, you get more work done.
    • 3-Intense concentration- You’ll get a lot more work done in less time if you can focus 100% of your attention on the subject at hand.
    • 4-Over a long length of time- Consistency is very important to finish what you start.

Deep work strategies

  • It’s tough to work profoundly in a world that continually encourages us to do shallow work. We must intentionally develop habits and routines in order to accomplish our tasks. There are four methods to methodically carving out time for intense work, according to Newport.
  • For various folks, different things will work.
  • 1-The monastic strategy- The word monastic originates from the word monastery, which refers to a location where monks dwell. It entails totally removing yourself from distractions like a monk does in a monastery. For example, by going to a lodge in the woods to write a novel and not returning until it is completed.
  • 2-The bimodal strategy– This mode switches between a regular existence and a monastic lifestyle. You might, for example, shut yourself in your office for a 4-6 hour block each day for intense work, akin to the monastic style. However, after that block is completed, you are free to do whatever else is on your to-do list.
  • 3-An rhythmic approach– This is either a daily defined period for deep work, such as between 5-7 a.m., or a weekly fixed time for deep work, such as every Monday and Thursday. That means you pre-plan your deep work schedule.
  • 4-The journalistic approach– This works great if you have a busy daily schedule. What you do is just devote any unplanned spare time to intense work. Just like a journalist squeezes in deep work whenever he can, ready to write on deadline whenever the opportunity arises.

The Four Rules of Deep Work

stop distractions and start focusing deeply
  • So this far you get to know deep work is valuable. It maximizes productivity.
  • The difficult thing is not realizing how valuable deep effort is. It’s the doing that’s difficult.
  • To make the action part easy here are 4 rules of deep work.
  • Rule #1: Work Intensively – Deep work necessitates the capacity to focus intently and the ability to fight the temptation to be distracted. We need to develop rituals and routines that make deep work simpler and more natural in our daily lives if we want it to become a habit.
  • Rule #2: Embrace Boredom- If you give in to the distractions at the first sign of boredom in your daily life, you’ll find it difficult to build the sort of strong attention required for serious work. So accept that consistency in work can be boring but rewarding in the end.
  • Rule #3: Give Up Social Media – You won’t be able to work intensely if you are addicted to checking social media every few minutes. For many people, totally unplugging from social media is unrealistic, so the author recommends beginning by logging into social networks less regularly.
  • Rule #4: Drain the Shallows– As you may recall, shallow work refers to duties such as answering emails, making phone calls, attending meetings, and other necessary but ultimately low-value activities. You must drain the Shallows by scheduling time for deep work and spending as little time as possible on shallow tasks.

Make the most of unproductive time with productive meditation

choose your actions wisely
  • This is a great concept that I’ve been utilizing more and more recently without realizing it was in this book. Cal refers to it as constructive meditation, and it entails devoting “unproductive” time to deep thoughts.
  • For example, if you take the bus to work every morning and know you’ll have 45 minutes between stops where you won’t be able to do much else, use that time to attempt to solve a complicated problem in your head. Commutes, showers, home duties, grocery shopping, and going for a run are all excellent times to use your imagination for your highly valuable tasks.
  • This way you may get clarity about many concepts of your work and solutions for problems as well.


Deep work done in any way needs intention. Even when you’re taking a break, productive meditation may help you work more deeply.

Anyone who wishes to enhance their productivity, who wants to do more in less time should definitely put into practice the concept of deep work.