Deep Work - Deepstash

You have a finite amount of willpower that becomes depleted as you use it.

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Deep Work

by Cal Newport

Craftsmanship

The satisfactions of manifesting oneself concretely in the world through manual competence have been known to make a man quiet and easy.

[P]rofessional challenges that are simple to define but difficult to execute - a useful imbalance when seeking purpose. Knowledge work exchanges this clarity for ambiguity. It can be hard to define exactly what a given knowledge worker does and how it differs from another: [I]t can seem that all knowledge work boils down to the same exhausting roil of e-mails and PowerPoint, with only the charts used in the slides differentiating one career from another

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The joy of work

The best moments usually occur when a person’s body or mind is stretched to its limits in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile.

Ironically, jobs are actually easier to enjoy than free time, because like flow activities they have built-in goals, feedback rules, and challenges, all of which encourage one to become involved in one’s work, to concentrate and lose oneself in it. Free time, on the other hand, is unstructured, and requires much greater effort to be shaped into something that can be enjoyed.

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The Principle of Least Resistance

In a business setting, without clear feedback on the impact of various behaviors to the bottom line, we will tend toward behaviors that are easiest in the moment.

( A zoom call anyone ? )

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In the absence of clear indicators of what it means to be productive and valuable in their jobs, many knowledge workers turn back toward an industrial indicator of productivity: doing lots of stuff in a visible manner

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Human beings, it seems, are at their best when immersed deeply in something challenging.

If we give rapt attention to important things, and therefore also ignore shallow negative things, we’ll experience our working life as more important and positive

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From Descartes’s skepticism came the radical belief that the individual seeking certainty trumped a God or king bestowing truth. The resulting Enlightenment, of course, led to the concept of human rights and freed many from oppression.

[F]or all its good in the political arena, in the domain of the metaphysical this thinking stripped the world of the order and sacredness essential to creating meaning. In a post-Enlightenment world we have tasked ourselves to identify what’s meaningful and what’s not, an exercise that can seem arbitrary and induce a creeping nihilism.

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The woodworker has an intimate relationship with the wood he works. Its subtle virtues call out to be cultivated and cared for.” In this appreciation for the “subtle virtues” of his medium the craftsman has stumbled onto something crucial in a post-Enlightenment world: a source of meaning sited outside the individual. The wheelwright doesn’t decide arbitrarily which virtues of the wood he works are valuable and which are not; this value is inherent in the wood and the task it’s meant to perform.

My note : Similar theme as Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

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The whiteboard effect

For some types of problems, working with someone else at the proverbial shared whiteboard can push you deeper than if you were working alone. The presence of the other party waiting for your next insight—be it someone physically in the same room or collaborating with you virtually—can short-circuit the natural instinct to avoid depth.

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[M]ental faculties are capable of a continuous hard activity; they do not tire like an arm or a leg. All they want is change—not rest, except in sleep.

(My note: It may be counterintuitive but having a rich life outside of your primary work improves your focus rather than reduce it. )

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