Cal Newport's book, 'Deep Work' is another to add to your 'must read' list. Our addiction to distraction, constant availability and 24/7 connectivity from internet tools is significantly affecting our ability to concentrate and focus. Newport argues that "the ability to perform deep work is becoming increasingly rare at exactly the same time it is becoming increasingly valuable in our economy". It is deep work that optimizes our learning and performance - distraction destroys depth!
He suggests that we often mistake busyness for productivity and have lost clarity about what matters. For many of us this means we need to retrain our brain to concentrate intensely and to overcome the desire for distraction. This may mean selectively using some net tools or quitting others. The key is to rewire your brain to be comfortable resisting distraction and as Newport suggests, "eliminate the ability of such behaviors to hijack your attention".
The book gives a number of very helpful and practical suggestions for minimizing and managing the shallow and low value work in our lives. Rituals and structure are important and necessary for managing our time around deeper work and priorities. This also includes scheduling downtime and relaxation to recharge energy for deep work.
Most of us can relate to the pull of distraction and the impact it has on our work and personal life. Taking on-board the strategies from this book will help you to prioritize deep work and regain control of your time, priorities and use of net tools. I have changed my work week accordingly and am excited to see the longer-term impact of these changes.