By Martin Vogel
I’ve been re-engaging with deep work by listening to an old podcast by Cal Newport introducing his ideas on the subject.
In order to create more focus in one’s work, it’s not necessary to transform one’s life to achieve black belt status in the art of concentration. Adopting three simple maxims can shift the dial:
- Plan each week to do just five hours of deep work
- Embrace boredom
- Eliminate unnecessary social media and news browsing
Actually, maxims two and three are variants of each other. Many of us convince ourselves that there is a productive justification for engaging in social media. But social media usage soon becomes a habit for filling ones idle moments with cognitive stimulation – that is to say, staving off boredom. Just look around you on any rush-hour train. Most people who are travelling alone will occupy the time staring at their phones. And a good many of those travelling with someone else will do so too.
I’m increasingly convinced that there isn’t enough boredom in life. Absence of stimulation has become an anxiety-provoking state: almost as if we have assume we have an existential right not to be bored.