#268 Deep Work, Digital Minimalism, and Doing Your Highest Value Work with Cal Newport

Interview with Deep Work Author Cal NewportMaking technology work for you.
Cal Newport is the author of six books including, most recently, the New York Times bestseller, Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World. His work has been published in over 25 languages and has been featured in many major publications, including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, New YorkerWashington Post, and Economist.

In 2016, he published Deep Work, which argued that our ability to focus without distraction is becoming increasingly rare (due, primarily, to distracting technology), at the same time that it’s becoming increasingly valuable (as the knowledge economy becomes more cognitively demanding). As a result, those individuals and organizations who cultivate their ability to perform “deep work” will enjoy a major competitive advantage.

In his spare time, he’s a professor at Georgetown University.

Top Quotes From This Episode

“‘Deep work’ is what really moves the needle, these are the efforts that really produce new value and therefore the efforts that really matter. And when we don’t recognize that, we accidentally fill our time more and more of what I call ‘shallow work tasks,’ which are fine, but they don’t move the needle and they are accidentally holding back our careers and businesses.”

“Technologies are these double-edged swords. They have a way of pushing you into places to get far from your values, they have a way of causing harm. At the other hand, if you’re really clear about what you value in your life and also into your business… you can get a lot of value out of technology.”

“Technology deployed for a very specific thing you care about, in a very structured way can give you really big benefits. Technology bound into your life casually, or used without rules in consideration has a way of sort of metastasizing its footprint in your cognitive life and make things worse.”

“Focus on the process, focus on the quality, the other stuff will come.”

Show Notes

They say technology makes our lives easier, but is that always the case? Are you leveraging technology in such a way that it helps you reach your potential and goals? Or are you too digitally invested that it hinders your work performance? In this episode, Best-selling Author and Professor Cal Newport shares the value of the proper utilization of  technology to unleash and provide the best possible work.

This episode touches on the following key topics and ideas:

  • Cal on not having social media accounts (4:38)
  • How technology, particularly social media, conditions its users to be a profit-making tool (5:59)
  • Cal discusses “deep work” and “shallow work tasks” and how each affects your productivity (7:51)
  • How to get into the habit of doing “deep work” and produce high value outputs (9:24)
  • Multitasking and Context Switching: How jumping from one task to another is damaging (13:55)
  • Why the Open-office trend practiced by companies is a “productivity disaster”; instead, employ the “Multi-status Door Policy” (15:11)
  • “A World Without Email”: Creating a structure for a successful asynchronous and remote work with the onslaught of COVID-19  (18:05)
  • Cal envisions a process-focused system than a tool-based focused work practice in the future (23:35)
  • Obtain the most value out of technology through “digital minimalism” (28:00)
  • Cal’s habit to success: “Multi-Scale Planning” and how it aids in making the most out of his time resulting to increased productivity “Quarterly Plan,” “Weekly Plan,” and “Daily Plan” (30:53)
  • Cal on overcoming failure (36:25)
  • Cal gives advice on how to separate your work life and life outside of work (39:06)

List of Resources Mentioned in the Episode

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Cal Newport’s books:

“Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World”

“Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World”

“So Good They Can’t Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work You Love”

“A World Without Email” (Upcoming book. Check Cal’s website for updates.)

“The Time Block Planner” (Upcoming planner. Check Cal’s website for updates.)

Cal’s podcast:

“Deep Questions”

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Guest Website and Social

Cal Newport’s website

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Website: https://www.calnewport.com/