I have just finished Cal Newport’s book Deep Work, which has been a staple listening of my evenings for the past week. Although often sounding like an infomercial, it did get me thinking about distinctions in focusing, and what I can do to focus more…
For those who haven’t read the book the distinctions are as follows:
- Shallow Focus - Distracted dashes of focus, the outcome of which could be easily replicated and often carry little value, such as sending an e-mail
- Deep Focus - Long periods of uninterrupted thinking, often resulting in an outcome that is valuable and hard to replicate, such as writing a book
The goal, Mr Newport rightly says, is to cultivate your state of Deep Focus so you can use it like a magnifying glass to concentrate the full potential of your mind on a problem.
Although many techniques are offered for attaining this sacred state the one I’ve found most practical is removing distractions from my environment. All those little gadgets scattered around beeping for my attention.
He explains that willpower is like a muscle, who’s energy can be depleted. Over time distractions can drain your finite pool of willpower until you can’t resist.