Don’t Distract Me: Why Deep Work Matters in a Distracted World

I have never said that it was going to this simple but sometimes it is that simple. Because the place you want to reach is just in front of you. Just keep up a bit longer and you’ll be there. Although, it was never that simple especially when we live in this distracted world.

Where the internet become one the most important thing in our lives. Without it, a part of us will die. We getting dependent on the internet since it connects us with people around the world. However, whenever a thing has advantages, there will be a disadvantage. Pros and cons for short, including the internet.

The disadvantages are, the internet had provided us with the distraction that your grandfather can never have. And it will distract you so much until you produce low-quality craftsmanship which can be replaced very easily. Without me realizing, this internet distraction had created an invisible barrier and prevent me from reaching my dreams.

It happens a lot to me, especially when I am trying to write, read books and study programming. For example, I would always get distracted to open up YouTube every time I am writing on my blog. The three social media account is the worst. I always had to check them every time a notification appear on iPhone although it is not important at all. In a way, I become addicted to it and made me produce shallow works.

What is Deep Work?

For this reason, I need to do something to combat my productivity in a distracted world. Thankfully, I found a book to prevent this from happening to me again called Deep Work by Cal Newport. According to Newport, deep work is professional activities performed in a state of distraction-free. A Concentration that will push your cognitive capabilities to your limits.

These efforts then create new value to the market place, improve your values and very hard to replicate. It sounds so beautiful. Just what I have been looking. Meaning that, by applying for deep work as a writer and a future app inventor, I would definitely become more valuable to the market place.

Another thing, Cal Newport also stated that deep work in rare nowadays. Although, deep work is very much necessary to wring every last drop of value out of your current intellectual capacity. Additionally, after conducting decade of research in both psychology and neuroscience, they had proven that deep work can improve one’s ability to perform.

In other words, deep work is just the thing that I need to stand out in a cognitively demanding field like writing a blog and inventing iPhone apps. Cal Newport created the term “deep work” himself. So he would be the only one who can explain it best to you. Not me and definitely not other writers.

On the other hand, if you still crafting your work without going deep and keeps on being distracted, Cal Newport called it producing a shallow works. Which I had done a lot in these past couples of months.

Shallow works mean, a non-cognitive demanding, logistical-style task, often performed while distracted. Their effort tends to not create much new value in the world and are easy to replicate. This will make you become less valuable to your company and market place. Also, it means you won’t stand out with this kind of works.

Especially in this age of network tools such as emails and social medias. People increasingly replace deep work with shallow work – constantly sending and receiving emails messaging like human network routers, with frequent breaks for a quick hit of distraction.  To make it worst, spend enough time in a state of frenetic shallowness and you permanently reduce your capacity to perform deep work.

As for me, my kind of distraction because of the internet are:

  1. Playing Dota 2.
  2. Watching YouTube.
  3. Watching videos on Facebook.
  4. Tweeting “I am currently working right now” on Twitter.
  5. Watching Anime.
  6. Downloading movies and tv-series illegally. My latest one is American God.

How to Prevent Shallow Work?

Simple enough but not technically easy. The first thing I do is I delete all social media apps on my iPhone. Yes, delete all of it. I only leave YouTube app because I don’t usually watch it on my iPhone. Frankly, I quit social media.

Then, I stopped watching anime and limit myself to one or two games only for Dota 2. Also, I only play Dota 2 if I had finished all my work. At first, it was hard for me too. But, after did all these things above, I felt like I have a lot of time for my work and I started to performed deep work.

I get lost doing my work with deep work and I feel the hours past like it was minutes. Btw, it feels good when you lost of track time doing something worthwhile. One more thing, it is a sacrifice that I had to make to produce new values to the world which is very hard to replicate. At some point, you going to have to do all these sacrifices like I do too but only if you want to be so good until they can’t ignore you.

Deep work is not an old- fashioned skill falling into irrelevance. It takes commitment, persistency, your burning desire and a lot of patience. Do not fall into a trap where you think an extraordinary craftsmanship can be done with just a few practices.

To sum it up, deep work is a crucial ability for anyone looking to move ahead of the globally competitive economy that tends to chew up and spit out those who aren’t earning their keep. The ability to perform deep work is becoming increasingly rare at the same time it is becoming increasingly valuable in our economy. As a consequence, the few who cultivate this skills, and then make it the core of their working life, will thrive. Are you becoming one of them, or not? I hope you are because I will definitely become one of the few.

Don’t wish it were easier. Wish you were better.”
― Jim Rohn