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Introduction of Deep Work

25 August 2023

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In the Swiss canton of St. Gallen, near the northern banks of Lake Zurich, is a village amed Bollingen. In 1922, the psychionist Carl Jung chose this spot to begin building retreat. He began with a basic two-story stone house he called the Tower. After returning from a trip to funds, where he observed the practice of adding meditation rooms to homes, he expanded the complex to include a private office. In titing mom I am by myself." Jung said of the space. "I keep the key with me all the time; no one else is allowed in there except with my permission

In his book Daily Rinals, journalist Mason Currey sorted through various sources on Jung to re-create de psychiatrist's work habits at the Tower. Jung would rise at seven am.. Currey reports, and after a big breakfast he would spend two hours of undistracted writing time in his private office. His afternoons would often consist of meditation or long walks in the surrounding countryside. There was no electricity at the Tower, so as day gave way to night, light came from oll lamps and heat from the fireplace. Jung would retire to bed by ten p.m. "The feeling of rese and renewal that I had in this tower was intense from the start," he said."

Though it's tempting to think of Bullingen Tower as a vacation home, if we put t into the context of Jung's career as this point it's clear that the lakeside retreat was not bullt as an escape from work. In 1922, when Jung bought the property, he could not afford to take a vacation. Only one year earlier, in 1921, he had published Psychological Types, a seminal book that solidified many differences that had been long developing between Jung's thinking and the ideas of his coctime friend and mentor, Sigmund Freud. To disagree with Freud in the 1920s was a bold move. To hack up his book, Jung needed to stay sharp and produce a stream of smart articles and books further supporting and establishing analytical psychology, the eventual name for his new school of thought

Jung's lectures and counseling practice kept him busy in Zurich-this is clear. But be wasn't satisfied with busyness alone. He wanted to change the way we understood the unconscious, and this goal required deeper, more careful thought than he could manage amic his hectic city lifestyle. Jung retreated to Bollingen, not to escape his professional life, but lestead to advance it.

Carl Jung went on to become one of the most influential thinkers of the twentieth century. There are, of course, many reasons for his eventual saccess. In this book, however, I'm interested in his commitment to the following skill, which almost certainly played a key role in his accomplishments:

Deep Work: Professional activities performed in a state of distraction-free concentration that push your cognitive capabilities to their limit. These efforts create new value, improve your skill, and are hard to replicate.

Deep work is necessary to wring every last drop of value out of your current Intellectual capacity. We now know from decades of research in both psychology and neuroscience that the state of mental strain that accompanies deep work is also necessary to improve your abilities. Deep work, in other words, was exactly the type of effort needed to stand out in a cognitively demanding field like academic psychiatry in the early Twentieth century.

The term "deep work" is my own and is not something Carl Jung would have used, hut his actions during this period were those of sameone who understood the underlying concept. long built a tower out of stone in the woods in promute deep work in his professional life task that required time, energy and money. It also took him away from more immediate pursuits As Mason Carrey writes, Jung's regular journeys to Bollingen reduced the time he spent on his clinical work, noting, "Ahough he had many patients who relied on him, mg was not shy about taking time off." Deep work, though a hurdlen to prioritize, was crucial for his goal of changing the world.

Indeed, if you study the lives of other influential figures from both distant and recent history, you'll find dat a commitment to deep work is a common theme. The sixteenth- century essayist Michel de Montaigne, for example, prefigured lung by working in a private library he built in the southern tower guarding the stone walls of his French chitrau, while Mark Twain wrote much of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer in a shed on the property of the Quarry Farm in New York, where he was spending the summer, Twain's study was su isulated from the main house that his family took in lowing a horn to attract his attention for meals.

Moving forward in history, consider the screenwrer and director Woody Allen. In the forty-four-year perind between 1962 and 2013, Woody Allen wrote and directed forty- four films that received twenty-three Academy Award nominations as absurd te of artis productivity. Throughout this period, Allen never owned a computer, instead completing all his writing, free from electronic distrection, on a German Olympie 5M3 manual typewriter. Allen is joined in his rejection of computers by Peter Higgs, a theoretical physicist who performs his work in such disconnected isolasinn that journalists couldn't find him after it was amounced he had won the Nobel Prize. LK. Rowling, on the other hand, does use a computer, but was famously absent from social media during the writing of ber Harry Potter novels-even though this period coincided with the rise of the technology and its popularity among media figures. Rowling's staff finally started u Twiter account in her name in the fall of 2009, as she was working on The Cusual Vacancy, and for the first year and a half her only tweet read: "This is the real me, but you won't be hearing from me often I am afraid, as pen and paper is my priority at the moment."

Deep work of coarse, is not med to the historical or technophobic. Miernsaf CEO Bill Gates famously conducted "Think Weeks" twice a year, during which he would isolate himself (often in a lakeside cottage) so do nothing but read and think big thoughts. It was during a 1995 Think Week that Gates wrote his famous "Internet Tidal Wave" memo that turned Microsoft's attention to an upstat company called Netscape Communications. And y an ironic twist, Neal Stephenson, the acclaimed cyberpunk author who helped form our popular conception of the Internet age, is near impossible to reach electronically his website offers no e-mail address and features an essay about why he is purposefully bad it using social media. He's how he once explained the omission: "If organize my life in such a way that 1 get lots of long, consecutive uninterrupted time-chunks, I can write novels III I instead get interrupted a lot wit replaces it? Instead of a novel that will be around for a long time... there is a bunch of e mail messages that I have set out to individual persons."

Ishika Shakya

Ishika Shakya

I was immediately drawn in by the introduction's insights into deep work. The author's perspective on navigating distractions resonated with me, and I'm eager to delve deeper into the book to learn more about cultivating a focused mindset!!!

25 August 2023

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Articles
Deep Work
5.0
One of the most valuable skills in our economy is becoming increasingly rare. If you master this skill, you'll achieve extraordinary results. Deep Work is an indispensable guide to anyone seeking focused success in a distracted world. 'Cal Newport is exceptional in the realm of self-help authors' New York Times 'Deep work' is the ability to focus without distraction on a cognitively demanding task. Coined by author and professor Cal Newport on his popular blog Study Hacks, deep work will make you better at what you do, let you achieve more in less time and provide the sense of true fulfilment that comes from the mastery of a skill. In short, deep work is like a superpower in our increasingly competitive economy. And yet most people, whether knowledge workers in noisy open-plan offices or creatives struggling to sharpen their vision, have lost the ability to go deep - spending their days instead in a frantic blur of email and social media, not even realising there's a better way. A mix of cultural criticism and actionable advice, Deep Work takes the reader on a journey through memorable stories -- from Carl Jung building a stone tower in the woods to focus his mind, to a social media pioneer buying a round-trip business class ticket to Tokyo to write a book free from distraction in the air -- and surprising suggestions, such as the claim that most serious professionals should quit social media and that you should practice being bored. Put simply: developing and cultivating a deep work practice is one of the best decisions you can make in an increasingly distracted world and this book will point the way.