Quotes for "Deep Work"

Newport, Cal

Deep work, though a burden to prioritize, was crucial for his goal of changing the world.

“Who you are, what you think, feel, and do, what you love—is the sum of what you focus on.”

his theory notes that the feeling of going deep is in itself very rewarding. Our minds like this challenge, regardless of the subject.

“We who cut mere stones must always be envisioning cathedrals.”

One hundred years from now, our engineering may seem as archaic as the techniques used by medieval cathedral builders seem to today’s civil engineers, while our craftsmanship will still be honored.

a wooden wheel is not noble, but its shaping can be.

Great creative minds] think like artists but work like accountants

“If you want to win the war for attention, don’t try to say ‘no’ to the trivial distractions you find on the information smorgasbord; try to say ‘yes’ to the subject that arouses a terrifying longing, and let the terrifying longing crowd out everything else.”

To maximize the motivation generated by this scoreboard, whenever I reached an important milestone in an academic paper (e.g., solving a key proof), I would circle the tally mark corresponding to the hour where I finished the result.* This served two purposes. First, it allowed me to connect, at a visceral level, accumulated deep work hours and tangible results. Second, it helped calibrate my expectations for how many hours of deep work were needed per result. This reality (which was larger than I first assumed) helped spur me to squeeze more such hours into each week.

“You cannot consider yourself as fulfilling this daily obligation unless you have stretched to the reaches of your mental capacity.”

attack the task with every free neuron until it gives way under your unwavering barrage of concentration.

your ability to trade concentration for completion time,

You must be on your guard for looping, as it can quickly subvert an entire productive meditation session. When you notice it, remark to yourself that you seem to be in a loop, then redirect your attention toward the next step.

Give of myself to those who are most important to me (e.g., making nontrivial sacrifices that improve their lives).

After thirty days of this self-imposed network isolation, ask yourself the following two questions about each of the services you temporarily quit: 1. Would the last thirty days have been notably better if I had been able to use this service? 2. Did people care that I wasn’t using this service?

what it means to live, and not just exist.

On some days, you might rewrite your schedule half a dozen times. Don’t despair if this happens. Your goal is not to stick to a given schedule at all costs; it’s instead to maintain, at all times, a thoughtful say in what you’re doing with your time going forward—even if these decisions are reworked again and again as the day unfolds.

This type of scheduling, however, isn’t about constraint—it’s instead about thoughtfulness.

How long would it take (in months) to train a smart recent college graduate with no specialized training in my field to complete this task?

If our hypothetical college graduate requires many months of training to replicate a task, then this indicates that the task leverages hard-won expertise.

It’s safer to comment on our culture than to step into the Rooseveltian ring and attempt to wrestle it into something better.

There’s also an uneasiness that surrounds any effort to produce the best things you’re capable of producing, as this forces you to confront the possibility that your best is not (yet) that good.