I’ve been thinking a lot about how I can become better at what I do. Cal Newport has great insights into a concept he calls deep work, which is compared against shallow work.

“Knowledge workers dedicate too much time to shallow work — tasks that almost anyone, with a minimum of training, could accomplish (e-mail replies, logistical planning, tinkering with social media, and so on).”

So what is deep work?

“I argue that we need to spend more time engaged in deep work — cognitively demanding activities that leverage our training to generate rare and valuable results, and that push our abilities to continually improve.”

So why should we concern ourselves with deep work, especially when it sounds difficult?

Newport outlines three benefits:

  1. Continuous improvement of the value of your work output.
  2. An increase in the total quantity of valuable output you produce.
  3. Deeper satisfaction (aka., “passion”) for your work.

The rest of the post outlines how Newport proposes to engage in deep work in a step-by-step process, so I won’t outline it here.

One of the areas that I’m struggling with is determining what to work on. Newport outlines the scope of your deep work as a mission critical step and has some suggestions on how to get this done.

This post and the concept of deep work resonated with me. It’s changing how I think about what I spend my time doing.