The Value of Deep Work



What a time to be alive, am I right? We live in an incredible day and age where unlimited information is at our very fingertips, billions of people are connected through the internet and innovative technologies are advancing at an unprecedented rate. Technology has truly affected every corner the world, and has drastically impacted life as we’ve all come to understand it.

With great access to information and the age of global connectivity, humans are bombarded with more stimuli and information that we could ever hope to process and make sense of. It is for this reason that so many of us find ourselves constantly distracted and engaging in multiple technologies at once. Think about it: how often do you find yourself studying with multiple entertainment browsers open and periodically flipping through various social media platforms? How about listening to music or absentmindedly watching Netflix while studying? Sure, we still get work done, but is it truly our best work? Are we maximizing our time and productivity? Most likely not, and there’s a lot of research that proves quite the opposite.

There’s a whole science of learning, concentration and productivity that seeks to prove that humans fundamentally are not built to multitask, and cannot maximize efficiency while doing so. And in a world filled with distractions and noise, the reality is that we live in a time where it is harder to focus now than perhaps ever before. Which is why I’d like to write about the true value of deep work –  the ability to focus without distraction on a cognitively demanding task. With graduation just around the corner in a few weeks, I couldn’t think of a better time to write about the value of working in a deep state of concentration. I believe everyone should take steps to learn this skill, because no matter who you are, you’ll benefit from it. I promise.

Deep work is, fundamentally, a very valuable skill that allows you to quickly master complicated information and produce better results in less time. Working in a state of deep mental focus free of distraction helps cultivate many of the core capabilities that we need to survive in the world today. So why is this important? Why is working in this deep state of mental concentration more valuable than working in a state of constant noise and distraction? Because people who possess certain skills and characteristics in this new digital age are fundamentally more equipped for success and prosperity

What does it take to be successful? The theory of deep work outlines two core abilities that people need in order to thrive in our new economy.

  1. The ability to quickly master hard things.
  2. The ability to produce at an elite level, in terms of both quality and speed.

Let’s face it, our world is getting damn competitive. Where many technologies used to provide a competitive advantage to organizations and individuals who possessed them, we’re steadily moving in a direction where they playing field is leveling and ultimately the world is demanding other sources of differentiation and value. And where is the world demanding this added value from? That’s right, the individual. It is more important than ever to build our personal skill sets, work habits and abilities as we enter a world that puts a tremendous pressure on us to be outstanding performers in everything we do. So how does this relate to deep work?

There is a lot of research that shows that when we work in a deep, uninterrupted state, we are more likely to optimize our time and productivity. When we are 100% mentally engaged and focused, we are able to more quickly learn and master harder tasks. When we are completely mentally engaged, we are able to produce higher quality work, faster.