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Mental Models
Featured Models

Deep Work

They lied, multitasking isn't a thing — instead, we switch between tasks and work inefficiently as a result. That's a problem, especially in a digital world ripe with distractions and interruptions.  In his book, Deep Work, Cal Newport defined Deep Work as the ability to focus without distraction on a cognitively demanding task that creates new value, improves skills and is difficult to automate or replicate.  SHALLOW WORK. Deep Work will allow you to think, create value and learn more effectively — what's not to like? This contrasts to ‘shallow work’ which involves tasks that are not cognitively demanding and don't add new value. Such shallow work is also easy to replicate so will be the first to go in the robot apocalypse (also known as the rise of automation).  As a result, proponents argue that consistently achieving deep work is both crucial and increasingly difficult to maintain in our technologically connected world.  A DAY IN CAL NEWPORT'S WORLD.  Newport explains, “I build my days around a core of carefully chosen deep work, with the shallow activities I absolutely cannot avoid batched into smaller bursts at the peripheries of my schedule. Three to four hours a day, five days a week, of uninterrupted and carefully directed concentration, it turns out, can produce a lot of valuable output.” BACK IN THE REAL WORLD.  That's great for those who work independently and have control of their schedule and environment. It's somewhat harder to achieve for those in family or work situations where constant distraction is the norm — whether your challenge is working with kids or trying to focus in a busy, open-plan office space. Still, with this mental model in mind, there are measures you can take no matter what your context, read the Actionable Takeaways below for some ideas.  

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