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Mar 21, 2019 07:12:12

Why I dislike "Deep Work" ?

by @santhoshguru PATRON | 566 words | 2🔥 | 250💌

Santhosh Guru

Current day streak: 2🔥
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I want to talk about the book written by Cal Newport, Deep Work. It is a big hit and many people I know vouch by this and are planning to adopt this. Well, I was a convert to Deep Work too but realised the repercussions of it and changed my ways.

Deep Work is the meaningful or essential work that you have to do in a day, with very less or zero distractions. The deeper you think or immerse into the work, you get the compounding effects in the quality of your work.

So far it is good. But the means to do the deep work suggested by the author is problematic. Cal says that you quit social media, if possible. If not, limit social media. He goes into the romanticisation of his non-usage of social media, like listening to baseball games only on radio and not reachable after work in mobile or email.

  • Social Media Is Not Bad - Mark Zuckerberg doesn't wake up every day and plots with Sheryl Sandberg and team on how to distract us and sell more ads. No. Ad-supported businesses like newspapers or magazines are probably more than a hundred years old. I have seen many older members of my family connect with their schoolmates and collegemates after getting on to Facebook, which wouldn't be easily possible before the social media era. The satisfaction and joy in the eyes when they discover their old mates is so good.
  • We shape our tools and then our tools shape us - Yes, addiction to social media is a problem. But as a human species, we are still learning to deal with the abundance of information flow and how to moderate our media consumption. Soon, in a few years, we all will be skilled and equipped on handling the barrage of feeds from Instagram to Facebook to WhatsApp. I also think the tools will also become better in helping us to spend time well because it is in their vested interest that we don't quit that social media channel.
  • Master the media and leverage it - Recently, I had a reunion with my school friends after 15 years. (I was very active on Facebook before I took a sabbatical reading Deep Work). Every friend I met in the reunion was very familiar with what I have been doing, reading and sharing. Many even came asked why I am not part of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) like before. I used to think; nobody gave a damn to the things that I write and share. Even though people don't click on Like or Comment, they do read to be in touch or know what's going on. (Very similar to @haideralmosawi post here)
  • Better ways to do Deep Work exist - This is the most important revelation for me. I came across very well-read and incredibly talented people like Tiago Forte and Venkatesh Rao, who like the concept of deep work, but detest the approach preached and more importantly has suggestions on how to do it better. 

I will try to write in detail in the next posts on how to do Deep Work by leveraging social media. I want to part with this quote from the legendary investor, Bill Gurley:

Twitter is the most amazing networking and learning network ever built. In any given field, 50-80% of the top experts are on Twitter and they’re sharing ideas. If you’re not using Twitter, you’re missing out.
  • 1

    @santhoshguru Thanks for writing this. Not only can we miss out of the benefits of social media if we develop an unhealthy obsession with deep work, but our "shallow work" can pile up to the point it becomes too distracting to get any deep work done. This can lead to frustration and guilt for not getting deep work done.

    I like to think that both meaningful and mundane tasks are important, but we should try to do them separately so we are in the right mindset for each. An example of mundane work would be changing a light bulb. It's ridiculous how I've managed to put this simple task off for months. :P

    I also like Charlie Gilkey's "Create, Connect, Consume" model. All 3 are important, but we need to approach them more mindfully, knowing how they serve us in the grand scheme of things.

    Haider Al-Mosawi avatar Haider Al-Mosawi | Mar 22, 2019 11:02:15
    • 1

      @haideralmosawi Gilkey’s model sounds interesting. Will search and read more on this.

      Santhosh Guru avatar Santhosh Guru | Mar 22, 2019 19:59:16
  • 1

    @santhoshguru Most people write positive reviews of books so it is refreshing to see honest criticism especially for a book revered by many. I have not read Deep Work, but it sounds like there is more than meets the eye to the concept and how best to carry it out. I suspect that the people who are using social media effectively and deriving the most benefits are not using social media the way most people are. Yet again, something not taught but perhaps should be especially for young kids who are posting anything and everything for all the world to see.

    Brandon Wilson avatar Brandon Wilson | Mar 21, 2019 10:38:26
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      @brandonwilson Thanks, Brandon. Of course, my view is not an original one. I also followed the crowd to feel the pinch later. Now that I have learnt the lesson, the best I can do about now - is to be vocal about it and probably equip my son to handle these tools better.

      Santhosh Guru avatar Santhosh Guru | Mar 22, 2019 11:57:00
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