What is Deep Work and how can you achieve it?

Deep work involves a close focus on one task or set of tasks, and the exclusion of irrelevant stimuli. Think of a blacksmith hammering a sword, or a coder resolving a complex issue. The world barely exists. You do your best work, build skills that enhance your quality of life, and give yourself meaning. Sounds good, right?

Imagine for a second: two brains.

It’s useful to imagine that we have two distinct systems in our brains. One models the world, trying to predict and save us the energy of needing Two. In the process, it feeds errors to our conscious attention.

Information Overload Isn’t New

Short Summary: There’s more data around us than ever before; we feel overloaded. The volume might be new, but the feeling and our responses are not. Ann Blair, in Too Much To Know, shows us how people dealt with the deluge of information in 16th and 17th century Europe– and the parallels with today are … Read more

How to break a habit

Three lessons from Charles Duhigg’s Power of Habit. Habits involve a cue, routine and reward. They let the brain run through a routine without effort – and that can be simple or complex; healthy or unhealthy. Brushing your teeth or pathological gambling. Once a habit is established the spike in brain activity happens before the … Read more

Re-wire your Brain

Livewired, by David Eagleman, likens the neurons in our brains to countries competing for territory. Every time you learn or feel or move or hear, your brain physically changes. 3 lessons: Our neocortex is pluripotent. Blind people recognize tactile motion in their occipital lobes (where you ‘see’). Put on a blindfold, you start to do … Read more

What I really think about habits

Most self-improvement habits are masks; they let you be productive while hiding (and often reinforcing) a deeper problem. Instead, look for places you can make short term but persistent interventions. Fix the problems, then live your life without a schedule. Each problem you fix will compound on top of the rest and transform your life … Read more