“The ability to focus without distraction is becoming increasingly rare due primarily to distracting technology. At the same time, this ability to focus is becoming increasingly valuable as the knowledge economy becomes more cognitively demanding.”
Cal Newport, the Georgetown University professor and author, wrote about this thesis in his book Deep Work. Many of us rely a great deal on technology to live our lives. However, technology, including social media networks, can be a double-edged sword – it can improve as well as harm our productivity. I often find myself wrestling with this very issue.
How can we avoid technology traps, work more productively, and live better lives? One key is to minimize shallow work, things like emails, meetings, appointments, calls and other scheduled events that tend not to create much value. This frees us up to concentrate on value-creative deep work.
Strategies for containing shallow work include:
A number of Newport’s suggestions seem, by design, to be provocative. However, the concept of using structure and discipline to do deep work, gain real insight and achieve better results has broad applicability and is well worth consideration.
Rob Kania is Principal and Co-Founder of Laurentide Advisory