This episode of The Federalist Radio Hour originally aired on March 25, 2016.
“Deep work” is the ability to focus without distraction on a cognitively demanding task and it’s one of the most valuable skills in our economy. Cal Newport is the author of Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World, and he joined the Federalist Radio Hour to explain how email and social media have changed the way our brains work.
Newport suggested that focusing on too much on what’s negative about distraction lead to an ambiguous muddle. “I think we have forgotten how much value we can get out of being able to concentrate intensely,” he said. “If you’re one of the few to cultivate this skill, then you’re really going to thrive.”
Newport explained “context switching” or that feeling you get when your brain reflexively moves to constantly check Twitter or your inbox. “A workflow that’s built around constant quick checks is actually reducing the cognitive capacity of your brain,” he said.
When it comes finding work you love or are “passionate” about, Newport said our desires to do so don’t match the reality of the market place. “Typically passion emerges over time,” he said. “As you do something well, as you develop a craft, as the skill gives you more control and leverage over your career…passion is a side effect.”