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Deep Work Book Synopsis

This episode of PT Reading Corner is looking at improving productivity and maximizing your time featuring Cal Newport’s book Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World. This book is a self-help guide which is based on the premise that spending time on our phones and being distracted by technology impacts our cognition. Newport is an assistant professor of computer science at Georgetown University and provides plenty of examples and suggestions on how to conquer your mind. Deep Work has two sections, the first being The Ideas and second, The Rules.

Let’s delve into some of the key findings:

1. Deep Work is Crucial

Deep Work is Newport’s central ideology, the notion that individuals should be able to work intensely on tasks, providing 100% of their attention to that task. Deep work is an art and a craft that takes time to practice and master, just like any sport. However, it can be difficult to develop metrics tracking knowledge work and therefore deep work isn’t prioritized. By building certain rituals, you can develop a way to easily slip into deep work, similar to a flow state. Some things to consider for your ritual are: where you’re going to be working for and how long, as well as the manner in which you’re going to be working (e.g. by eliminating social media and distractions). This concept can be easily applied to charting for physios. If you put away distractions like your phone and close tabs on your computer, you can chart more efficiently.

2. Boredom Isn’t Bad

Newport argues that we focus so much on appearing busy that we tend to neglect the things that actually end up mattering. One step to accomplish your goals is to schedule periods of time through the day where you use the internet, called internet blocks. These are periods where you can surf the web, check out social media and respond to emails. The time outside of these blocks should be entirely internet-free. And if your job requires a lot of internet use, then you can schedule in more blocks accordingly. The purpose of having the internet-free time is to help you develop skills such as willpower and mindfulness. After all in this digital age, resisting going on the internet for even 10 or 20 minutes can be extremely difficult for some individuals.

Ultimately, the elite performers are those who can divide their time doing intense work and then spending the remaining time improving themselves. Newport doesn’t advocate living the lifestyle of a monk, but mentions that quitting social media is probably the easiest way to begin the path to deep work. By using routines and rituals, you can fight off distractions and learn to stay focused and productive for hours at a time. We, at PT Business Corner, found this book extremely helpful to organize our days and hope you enjoy the read!


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