Whether you read David Allen on stress-free productivity, Brian Tracy on eating the biggest frog first, or almost anything in the domain of personal productivity, the theme is juggling your actions. Newport argues that for people dealing with intensecomplexity or creativity you need to carve out significant blocks of time for what he calls deep work.
This isn’t about multitasking or task switching. The book focuses on why and how to create an environment where deep work is possible, and shares stories of people who have done it successfully. He gets into more detail, but the key ideas are to block out the time and cut out the distractions.
You won’t find anything new or astonishing on blocking out time here. Newport methodically walks through all the logical possibilities but in the end it is a matter of what works.
As for cutting out distraction, there is a lot of actionable advice, some of which may call for serious reflection. High on that list is cutting out social media. You may not be ready to do that, but perhaps you could get them off your phone and out the way. Newport walks his talk here–no Twitter account.
Not everybody needs to do deep work, but there are fewer exceptions than we realize. The book didn’t help me block out time, but it did help me think.