Deep Work (2016) by Cal Newport is a book that looks at how focussing deeply on a particular task is something that work with email, instant messaging, meetings, social media and the ever present myriad of distractions of the internet is something that many workplaces have made more difficult despite the dramatic improvement in tools that technology has provided people with.
Newport is an assistant professor at Georgetown with a PhD from MIT in distributed algorithms and has written other self-help books and runs the Study Hacks blog.
The book describes how to work with high concentration and depth. Newport describes how people can rapidly fill up their days at with busywork without really achieving much. He describes how to reduce the impact that all the distractions have on your day and how to schedule both the mundane tasks and time for really concentrating on what you’re meant to be doing. He doesn’t say to completely stop using the internet and other aids, merely to carefully limit their use and acknowledge the negative as well as positive impact that they have.
The book is well written and makes really good points about how to improve your own productivity. It’s one of the best self-help books I’ve read and I’m keen to read Newport’s other books. It’s definitely worth reading for almost anyone.