"Deep Work" by Cal Newport

Deep work is the ability to focus without distraction on a cognitively demanding task; it is like a superpower and in contrast with shallow work on a non-cognitively demanding task.

Leadership October 28, 2020

Focusing is necessary in order to get better in a world full of distractions.

This week, Sam’s Book Club discusses Deep Work by Cal Newport, an author and associate professor at Georgetown University. The book presents how the quality of our work affects many things in our lives.

Pastor Sam Neves, the Associate Director of Communications at the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s global headquarters, explains the impactful lessons in this book to inspire digital missionaries worldwide to master their craft.

Multitasking Is A Myth

People live surrounded by distractions. Though everyone believes it, not everyone can multitask. Our brain isn’t capable of doing it. People ask, “what if we juggle?” The reality is, it’s still only one ball at a time. It is impossible to create your best if you try to do multiple things simultaneously.

Concentration vs. Distraction

Deep work is the ability to focus without distraction on a cognitively demanding task; it is like a superpower and in contrast with shallow work on a non-cognitively demanding task. In the 21st century, it’s not about gathering information; it’s about discerning what needs to be absorbed.

Pastor Sam shares his experiences and how he began to realize, the further he read into the book, just how many distractions he was up against. Our bodies are physiologically wired to pick up on distractions; when we hear a sound or notice something it quickly grabs our attention. We have to dedicate our focus and time on our work because if we don’t, mediocrity will result.

The panelists all checked a feature on their phones that calculated how many times they picked them up: the results were shocking and revealed the extent to which we are easily distracted.

Performing Better Means Getting Better

To master your craft you should measure the results. That’s a problem-solver. Many of us do our jobs without feedback; we will never start performing better if this culture continues. If our work is not evaluated, we will never know if we are improving, no matter what that work may be.

A Leader Polishes His Talents

God wants us to maximize our talents; we have to be better in making them useful for His kingdom. If you want to be a great leader you have to learn things quickly and focus is necessary for this.

Do your thing intensely without distraction. It is not easy, so how do people manage this? Cal Newport writes about myelin, which allows rapid transmission of electric impulses within the brain, creating increased focus and improved quality of work.

Give Time To What Matters

How many of you read the Bible every day? When was the last time you bonded with your family? Or did something that made you happy?

Our time and energy are limited, so we have to choose where to allot them wisely.

Our Limited Willpower

The ability to let go of every other stimulant and focus on one thing will change your life. Set your boundaries. It will give you clarity and the ability to serve God better.

Our willpower is limited. If you are doing something difficult, find an optimal time and give it your all. Start small and see to it that you’re improving consistently.

Thinking Deep Changes The Quality of Work

Bill Gates, many have said, predicted coronavirus and it was almost like a prophecy!

But one thing they don’t realize is that there were days when he would dedicate his time to reading. Gates learned much about the world’s diseases and viruses like Ebola, SARS, MERS-CoV and more. He believed that at some point it could happen again. And it did!

So that’s one example of how deep work can change or bring an idea to an individual.

Ignore and Set Boundaries

If you want to practice deep work, you will need to ignore certain things; it’s as simple as that. So you need to know what matters to you.

You have to know your priorities and be consistent within the boundaries that you set.

Deep Work With Digital Ministry

The Apostle Paul is an excellent example; he was an influential writer. For three years prior to his ministry he didn’t do anything but deep thinking.

“Be a voice, not an echo” reads a sign at the Adventist Review Ministries at the General Conference. It helps if you have something to say, and then people will start to listen. It requires a discipline that you need to continuously acquire.

Isn’t it wonderful, as digital missionaries, to be able to utilize deep work in spreading God’s message of good news and hope to the 7.8 billion people worldwide? It will start with God’s grace and our willingness.

Author(s)

Sam Neves directs the branding and digital marketing efforts of the Seventh-day Adventist World Church. He lives in Maryland with his wife and their 3 boys.

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