Deep Work vs Shallow Work

00:00:00 The term deep work was coined by Cal Newport, a computer science professor and best-selling author (clearly someone with high levels of focus), in his book Deep Work.
00:02:52 The Western world is so bombarded with high-dopamine distractions that it’s no wonder we are losing our ability to concentrate and put distractions aside for even relatively short periods of time.
00:06:47 Planning, Protecting, and Measuring Deep Work.
00:09:17 The Deep-Work-to-Shallow-Work Ratio.
00:10:41 Deep-Work Philosophies.
00:11:49 A famous example of this would be JK Rowling in her efforts to complete the final Harry Potter book.

The term deep work was coined by Cal Newport, a computer science professor and best-selling author (clearly someone with high levels of focus), in his book Deep Work.

Shallow work consists of tasks that take up the majority of our time and energy.

Because this type of work is not cognitively demanding, we can balance it quite easily with distractions.

In contrast, deep work requires focus.

Let’s give another example: You have been deep working for twenty minutes on researching a new article.

One of the biggest advantages of being able to deep work often and for longer is this: not many people can.

The ability to focus and avoid distraction and interruption is fast becoming a superpower.

Okay, so we’ve established that deep work is important.
How can you get better at deep working and make it a more consistent part of your life? One of the fundamental steps to increasing the amount of deep work you can achieve is simple, and we’ve actually just done it—we’ve defined it.

Deep working should now mean something to you; you should be able to identify what parts of your workload will require deep work, and which parts you can do while shallow working.

The next step is to think about what exactly your deep-work sessions will look like.

The way you deep work should be kept consistent.

What rituals can you implement to help you? Are you able to work in a different location? Are you able to drink something different? Maybe playing a certain type of music or doing breathwork before can be part of your ritual? Whatever you choose, ritualizing deep work is a fantastic way to distinguish it from other work commitments.

Planning, Protecting, and Measuring Deep Work.

A key aspect of introducing more deep work into your life is planning, protecting, and measuring it.

A great way to achieve this is by blocking that time off in your calendar.

By properly planning and protecting your deep-work sessions, you should be able to adequately measure the time spent deep working.

This is also a good point to remind you that deep working is a skill, and like all skills, you can get better at it.

The Deep-Work-to-Shallow-Work Ratio.

By now you should have a clear idea of which of your tasks require deep work and which require shallow work.

If you are employed, this will be something you figure out with your boss or manager.

For example, if your boss and you identify that the perfect ratio is 1:1, with twenty hours a week being spent on shallow work and twenty hours being spent on deep work, then a week where you are only able to achieve three hours of deep work highlights a problem.

Deep-Work Philosophies.

If you are self-employed or working on a passion project, Newport suggests that one of the best ways to achieve greater levels of deep working is to have a deep-working philosophy.

Different people in different fields will find value in different scheduling philosophies.

Monastic – This philosophy’s core principle is to increase deep-work time by eliminating or radically reducing shallow-work commitments.

Bimodal – As the name suggests, the bimodal philosophy involves dividing your time between two modes: deep and shallow.

Rhythmic – This involves shifting between deep work and shallow work on a daily schedule.

Journalistic – This method involves opportunistically fitting in deep work whenever you can.

As you can see, deep work is pretty individual.

Keep the words flowing by buying me a coffee.

Categories: Voice over Work