Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World with Cal Newport

Cal NewportEpisode: 025

What does it mean to be in a state of ‘deep work’? Cal Newport explains on this episode.

Calvin Newport is an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Georgetown University and has authored four books. Cal’s latest book, Deep Work, touches on the ability to focus intently on cognitively demanding tasks without distractions. Cal explains how we can use different methods to develop this deep work skill in order to become our most productive selves.

Paul is also the ManTalks ‘Man of the Week’ – which you can read all about here.


Key Takeaways:
[2:10] What does Cal do?
[3:35] Cal talks about his latest book, Deep Work.
[4:25] How does Cal personally use ‘deep work’?
[7:45] What’s the difference between deep work and state of flow or focus?
[9:05] Deep work is a skill. You have to practice deep work to get better at it.
[10:55] Chronic multi-taskers have lost their ability to completely focus 100% on a single task.
[12:20] How does Cal get into a deep work state?
[14:10] Cal shuts down his professional thinking in the evening.
[15:45] What kind of agreements does Cal have with his wife?
[19:10] Having a ritual or a routine helps you get into the right mental state.
[21:05] Cal briefly touches on four rules that can help with your habits.
[25:10] What kind of challenges does Cal face?
[28:50] What does Cal mean by embrace boredom?
[31:30] What is deep work versus what is not deep work?
[33:25] How can someone apply deep work in an office setting?
[38:00] How can managers effectively teach deep work in an office setting?
[39:30] Why does Cal write books?
[40:20] What drives Cal?
[41:50] What’s the best advice Cal has received?
[43:45] What kind of legacy would Cal like to leave behind?
[44:10] What does it mean to be a man today?

Mentioned in This Episode:
So Good They Can’t Ignore You by Cal Newport.
Deep Work by Cal Newport.


Music Credit:
J Parlange & Latenite Automatic ( –


“Deep work is a skill, not a habit. You have to practice at it to be better at it.”
“There are tons of tools that are useful, but focus on the ones that give you the most value.”
“Turning off Facebook and Twitter notifications is the first place to start.”
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