Deep Work: Summary and Notes

Deep Work Book Cover


  • Chapter 1 is mostly author trying to convince about deep work and why it is important. Which is one of the biggest chapter in book.
  • There are few good tips about how to reduce distraction and focus more.
  • Personally I think, this book could have been a one detailed blog post with some actionable steps on how to do Deep Work.
  • Ratings: ⭐️⭐️⭐️/5


Deep Work: Deep work is the ability to focus without distraction on a cognitively demanding task

Shallow Work: Non-cognitively demanding, logistical-style tasks, often performed while distracted. These efforts tend to not create much new value in the world and are easy to replicate.

Chapter 1: Deep work is Valuable

  • Deep work needs focus and un distracted time block.
  • Batching time and focus on one task without using any social media.

Chapter 2: Deep work is Rare

  • Talks about collaboration, rapid communication (slack], active presence on social media.
  • The metric black hole -  In a business environment, if the metrics that determine success for your position are unclear, it’s difficult to figure out where you stand in the organization or know if you’re doing a good job.

Chapter 3: Deep work Is meaningful

  • Our brain construct our worldview based on what we pay attention to.
  • Who you are, what you think, feel, and do, what you love - is the sum of what you focus on - Winifred Gallagher.
  • Shutdown gives time to replenish and reset, which mean no work related browsing and checking mails.

Part II: The Rules

Rule #1: Work Deeply

  • Ritualize (make routine) ↳ waiting for inspiration to strike is terrible, terrible plan ↳ because work depended to go deep, deep again
  • 4DX method
  • Based on Zeigarnik effect (it postulates that people remember unfinished or interrupted tasks better than completed tasks). Have a shutdown routine like check e-mail at end of day and then make list of tasks need to be done.
  • When you work, work hard. When you're done, be done

Rule 2: Embrace Boredom

  • Deep work is not about one time decision to think deeper, much to do with commitment to training.
  • You'll struggle to achieve the deepest levels of concentration if you spend the rest of your time fleeing the slightest hint of boredom.
  • Don't take breaks from distraction. Instead take breaks from focus.
  • Internet Sabbath, restraining from screen once a week to see what we are missing when glued to screen.
  • Good but issue is distracted mind is trained, like eating heathy food once a week won't make healthy.

Rule #3: Quit Social Media

  • On choosing right tools, use tools which matters to you instead of using tool which gives Any-Benefit.
  • The Any-Benefit Approach to Network Tool Selection: You’re justified in using a network tool if you can identify any possible benefit to its use, or anything you might possibly miss out on if you don’t use it.
  • When it comes to relaxation, don't default to whatever catches your attention at the moment, but instead dedicate some advance thinking to the question of how you want to spend your "day within a day".
  • Work on structured hobbies to figure out how you spend your evening and weekends.
  • If you give mind something meaningful to do through out all waking hours, you'll end the day more fulfilled, and begin next one more relaxed.

Rule #4 Drain the Shallows

  • Batch shallow work in groups. Like instead of  responding to email frequently reply at end of day.
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