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Deep Questions with Cal Newport

Deep Questions with Cal Newport

Cal Newport is a computer science professor and the New York Times bestselling author of Digital Minimalism and Deep Work. He writes about technology and the way it can both support and impede our efforts to live more meaningful, productive lives. In this podcast, he answers questions from his readers about work, technology, and the deep life.

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Episodes

Ep. 76: Habit Tune-Up: Email On Speed (Taming WhatsApp)

Below are the topics covered in today's mini-episode (with timestamps). For instructions on submitting your own questions, go to calnewport.com/podcast.

 - Updating strategic plans. [4:13]
 - Capturing small projects. [8:26]
 - Archiving tasks. [12:47]
 - Email on speed (dealing with WhatsApp). [17:15]
 - Coping with an abundance of depth. [31:28]

Thanks to listener Jay Kerstens for the intro music.

2021-03-04
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Ep. 75: JOSHUA FIELDS MILBURN on Saying "No" to Almost Everything

In today's episode, I talk with Joshua Fields Milburn, who along with Ryan Nicodemus make up the powerhouse duo known simply as the Minimalists. You probably know Joshua from the wildly successful Netflix documentaries, MINIMALISM and LESS IS NOW, or the popular podcast he co-hosts with Ryan. 

The story of how the Minimalists got started is well-told, so I thought I would focus on a natural follow question: what happened next? Starting with when I first met him in 2012, I ask Joshua to walk us through the building of the Minimalist brand -- how they went from an amateur blog to being recognized on the street a dozen times a day. In doing so, we learn a lot about the inspiring, value-driven approach that Joshua and Ryan have taken in their careers, in which living right is more important than making the most money or accusing the most likes. 


Thanks to Jay Kerstens for the intro music.

2021-03-01
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Ep. 74: Habit Tune-Up: Taming Trello

Below are the topics covered in today's mini-episode (with timestamps). For instructions on submitting your own questions, go to calnewport.com/podcast.

- Spending too much time on Trello. [8:47]
- Reducing instant messenger use. [18:33]
- The inflexibility of time blocking. [27:30]
- Finishing a thesis on time. [34:32]
- Working deeply during a coup. [37:33]

Thanks to listener Jay Kerstens for the intro music.

2021-02-25
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Ep. 73: Can I Become Rich Living Deeply?

Below are the questions covered in today's episode (with their timestamps). For instructions on submitting your own questions, go to calnewport.com/podcast.


WORK QUESTIONS
 - What makes a day "productive" for a researcher? [5:10]
 - How do I get past imposter syndrome in academia? [9:29] 
 - Should I get a PhD to become a writer? [14:22]
 - How can I make my team less reactive? [18:06]
 - How do I make daily/weekly planning a habit that sticks? [28:12]

TECHNOLOGY QUESTIONS
 - Is attention training going to become an important sector? [31:47] 
 - How do I organize my electronic files and folders? [37:26]
 - Where do I store random ideas? [44:46]
 - How do I schedule my podcasting and blogging? [48:35]

DEEP LIFE QUESTIONS
 - What do I do about a significant other who wallows in the shallows? [50:45] 
 - Can I become rich while living a deep life? [58:00]
 - How do I cultivate a stronger sense of community? [1:01:56]


Thanks to Jay Kerstens for the intro music.

2021-02-22
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Ep. 72: Habit Tune-Up: Excessive Planning Syndrome

Below are the topics covered in today's mini-episode (with timestamps). For instructions on submitting your own questions, go to calnewport.com/podcast.

- Excessive planning syndrome. [3:29]
- Deep work and the distraction of social anxiety. [6:48]
- Writing for top tier publications. [11:53]
- Social media for artists. [17:16]
- Hobby overload (and the curse of busyness). [30:18]
- Getting started on hard creative work. [38:15]

Thanks to listener Jay Kerstens for the intro music.

2021-02-18
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Ep. 71: How Do We Escape the Autonomy Trap?

Below are the questions covered in today's episode (with their timestamps). For instructions on submitting your own questions, go to calnewport.com/podcast.


DEEP DIVE: The Autonomy Trap [7:25]


WORK QUESTIONS

 - How do I focus when working on a distracting computer? [19:58]
 - How do you maintain energy while increasing deep work? [23:34]
 - Can the pomodoro technique help achieve deep work? [29:00]
 - How can I time block when working with two kids in a small apartment? [31:29]
 - Have I thought about updating my student books? [38:!7]


TECHNOLOGY QUESTIONS

 - Are project management tools like Basecamp just a fancier version oof email? [42:26]
 - How can I integrate OmniFocus into daily, weekly, quarterly planned work schedules? [46:38]
 - What about the social costs of missing invitations because you're not on social media? [55:09]


DEEP LIFE QUESTIONS

 - How do I organize my life as a newly published author? [1:01:10]
 - How do I balance rigor and accessibility in my non-fiction writing? [1:07:52]
 - How young is too young for getting kids started on the deep life? [1:14:08]


Thanks to Jay Kerstens for the intro music.


2021-02-15
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Ep. 70: Habit Tune-Up: Getting Things Done During a Terrible, Isolating Pandemic

Below are the topics covered in today's mini-episode (with timestamps). For instructions on submitting your own questions, go to calnewport.com/podcast.

 - Timing productive meditation. [6:32]
 - Extracting wisdom from past plans. [14:00]
 - Writing a thesis as a side project. [22:44]
 - Adapting college advice to high school students (plus: a bonus digression on my experience writing books in academia). [30:00]
 - Getting things done during an isolating pandemic. [36:30]

Thanks to listener Jay Kerstens for the intro music.

2021-02-11
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Ep. 69: How Do I Find Joy in Leisure?

Below are the questions covered in today's episode (with their timestamps). For instructions on submitting your own questions, go to calnewport.com/podcast.


WORK QUESTIONS

 - How do I finish my day strong when time blocking? [5:09]
 - What should I do to succeed as a new professor? [9:48]
 - How do I protect deep work even as I become more recognized? [14:38]
 - What are strategies for handling large ambiguous work tasks? [19:37]
 - How do I stay productive in a one-bedroom apartment? [24:06]


TECHNOLOGY QUESTIONS

 - Can ASMR support deep work? [32:44]
 - Do audiobooks count as long-form reading? [40:21]
 - Should families use shared task lists? [40:45]
 - How how I use YouTube while avoiding entertainment black holes? [46:29]


DEEP LIFE QUESTIONS

 - How does one find joy in deep leisure? [50:00]
 - It Eisenhower Box useful for constructing a deep life? [58:05] 
 - How do I escape the social media bubble the pandemic trapped me inside? [1:03:44]


Thanks to Jay Kerstens for the intro music.

2021-02-08
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Ep. 68: Habit Tune-Up: The Power of Becoming Your Own Assistant

Below are the topics covered in today's mini-episode (with timestamps). For instructions on submitting your own questions, go to calnewport.com/podcast.

  - Handling short tasks. [4:37]
  - Time blocking with auto-scheduled meetings. [11:45]
  - Taming excessive phone usage. [18:18]
  - Hiring yourself as an assistant. [25:05]
  - How to avoid losing steam during time off. [36:05]

Thanks to listener Jay Kerstens for the intro music.


2021-02-04
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Ep. 67: TIM HARFORD on Leaving Academia to Become a Bestselling Writer

In today's episode I interview bestselling author Tim Harford. We talk about his path from economics to writing and broadcasting, his thoughts on using data to make sense of the world (without getting tricked), and his experience working for Malcolm Gladwell's podcasting company.

His latest book, called THE DATA DETECTIVE in the US and HOW TO MAKE THE WORLD ADD UP everywhere else, comes out this week and is available wherever you buy books.

Thanks to Jay Kerstens for the intro music.

2021-02-01
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Ep. 66: Habit Tune-Up: Bullet Journaling vs. Trello

Below are the topics covered in today's mini-episode (with timestamps). For instructions on submitting your own questions, go to calnewport.com/podcast.

- Taking notes in meetings. [3:41]
- Switching from Bullet Journal to Trello. [8:42]
- Speeding up time blocking. [13:56]
- Scheduling daily tasks. [23:41]
- Avoiding hard assignments (plus: a comment on YouTube addiction). [28:26]

Thanks to listener Jay Kerstens for the intro music.

2021-01-28
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Ep. 65: Is Productivity Bad?

Below are the questions covered in today's episode (with their timestamps). For instructions on submitting your own questions, go to calnewport.com/podcast.

DEEP DIVE: Is productivity good or bad? [4:28]

WORK QUESTIONS

 - How do you extract good career advice from successful people? [19:16]
 - How do I improve my GRE score? [27:38]
 - Is there a category of work between deep and shallow? [29:53]
 - Should high school students time block? [31:53]
 - How should I search for my first job during the pandemic? [37:33]

TECHNOLOGY QUESTIONS

 - Can psychedelics play a role in the deep life? [45:19]
 - What are my favorite single-use technologies? [49:22]
 - Are AI-based writing suggestions a problem? [52:20]
 - What social internet technologies deserve a resurgence? [57:34]

DEEP LIFE QUESTIONS

 - How can I work deeply in a small apartment? [1:01:58]
 - How do I help people who hate self help? [1:08:18]
 - How can I encourage my friends to be deeper? [1:12:18]

Thanks to Jay Kerstens for the intro music.

2021-01-25
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Ep. 64: Habit Tune-Up: A Look Inside My Book Research Systems

Below are the topics covered in today's mini-episode (with timestamps). For instructions on submitting your own questions, go to calnewport.com/podcast.

- Dealing with boring (but important) work. [8:11]
- Best tools for day planning. [18:26]
- An insider look at my book research process. [20:31]
- Advice for returning to school later in life. [32:46]
- Making time for non-urgent pursuits. [38:35]

Thanks to listener Jay Kerstens for the intro music.


2021-01-21
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Ep. 63: How Do I Minimize Meetings?

Below are the questions covered in today's episode (with their timestamps). For instructions on submitting your own questions, go to calnewport.com/podcast.


WORK QUESTIONS

 - How do I minimize meetings at my large corporation? [5:01]
 - Hod do I accomplish deep work in a responsive role? [11:30]
 - How do I prioritize self-learning when earning a PhD? [15:19]
 - How do I optimize time spend waiting for data to crunch? [19:27] 
 - How do I get important work done with kids at home? [21:48]
 - How do I encourage my teenagers to do deep work? [26:35]


TECHNOLOGY QUESTIONS

 - Will a digital shabbat make a difference? [31:04]
 - Is LinkedIn Useful? [35:50] 
 - Do I worry about a lack of end-to-end encryption on Trello? [40:00]


DEEP LIFE QUESTIONS

 - How I create challenge when my job has become boring? [47:26] 
 - How an I stay motivated after reaching the pinnacle of success? [54:29]
 - How do I stay motivated when I'm not good? [57:40]


Thanks to listener Jay Kerstens for the intro music.

2021-01-18
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Ep. 62: Habit Tune-Up: Managing Information in Your Inbox

Below are the topics covered in today's mini-episode (with timestamps). For instructions on submitting your own questions, go to calnewport.com/podcast.

- "Thank you" emails and overload. [3:14]
- Managing information contained in emails. [5:35]
- Dividing time into ten minute chunks. [13:30]
- Restarting a drive toward digital minimalism. [26:07]
- Personal metrics and weekend planning. [34:21]

Thanks to listener Jay Kerstens for the intro music.


2021-01-14
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Ep. 61: How Should I Tackle Big Projects?

Below are the questions covered in today's episode (with their timestamps). For instructions on submitting your own questions, go to calnewport.com/podcast.

Deep Dive: Executing Big Projects [10:18]


WORK QUESTIONS

 - Is pairing a problem for programmers? [20:21]
 - When do you review past time block schedules? [25:46]
 - How do I force myself to execute my plans? [29:48]
 - How do you figure out what projects to pursue? [36:38]
 - Should you take personality traits into mind when choosing a job? [41:39]
 - Organizing rapidly expanding research rabbit holes. [47:27]
 - How do I pursue depth surrounded by toddlers? [54:53]


TECHNOLOGY QUESTIONS

 - Why do I use Overleaf as my LaTex editor? [59:40]
 - How do I stay informed about current events without falling into the "Twitter Trap"? [1:02:26]
 - What is the deal with Zettelkasten note taking? [1:09:10] 


DEEP LIFE QUESTIONS

 - Should I time block personal time? [1:16:54]
 - Should I relax between college and my first job? [1:20:39]
 - How can I develop curiosity? [1:22:38]


Thanks to listener Jay Kerstens for the intro music.

2021-01-11
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Ep. 60: Habit Tune-Up: Getting Things Done on Distracting Days

Below are the topics covered in today's mini-episode (with timestamps). For instructions on submitting your own questions, go to calnewport.com/podcast.

- Reflections on productivity during distracting events. [3:35]
- Trouble getting started. [12:09]
- Dealing with cognitive exhaustion after hard periods. [18:01]
- Avoiding tool overload. [27:10]
- Focused work that's not demanding. [32:01]
- Metric tracking tune-ups. [39:58]

Thanks to listener Jay Kerstens for the intro music.

2021-01-07
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Ep. 59: Why Be Productive?

Below are the questions covered in today's episode (with their timestamps). For instructions on submitting your own questions, go to calnewport.com/podcast.


WORK QUESTIONS

- Preparing for deep work. [6:41]
- Keeping on top of everything when you have many roles. [12:32]
- Is it possible to time block without a clock? [18:25]
- Overcoming graduate student procrastination. [24:18]
- Predictable schedules with unpredictable children at home. [29:36]


TECHNOLOGY QUESTIONS

- Scheduling asynchronous classes. [34:49]
- Plain text productivity using Markdown. [36:57]
- Long Term storage of promising ideas. [49:59]
- Overcoming fear of what other people will think. [58:49]


DEEP LIFE QUESTIONS

- Sports as a distraction. [1:02:55]
- Leisure that?s very similar to your work. [1:06:19]
- Why be productive? [1:09:55]


Thanks to listener Jay Kerstens for the intro music.

2021-01-04
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Ep. 58: Habit Tune-Up: Clarifying Task Organization, Graduate Student Advice, and My Research Workflow

In this mini-episode, I answer audio questions from listeners asking for advice about how best to tune-up their productivity habits in a moment of increased distraction and disruption.

You can submit your own audio questions at speakpipe.com/calnewport.

Here are the topics we cover:

- Struggling with organizing tasks. [7:41]
- Advice for becoming a fantastic graduate student. [14:18]
- My research workflow. [19:43]
- Book writing basics. [31:14]

Thanks to listener Jay Kerstens for the intro music.

2020-12-31
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Ep. 57: Troubleshooting Shutdowns, Taming Overflowing Inboxes, and Tuning Core Values

In this episode of Deep Questions I answer reader questions about solidifying your shutdown routines, taming overflowing inboxes, and tuning core values, among many other topics. We also conclude our deep dive into the topic of the deep reset.

To submit your own questions, sign up for my mailing list at calnewport.com. You can also submit audio questions at https://www.speakpipe.com/CalNewport

Please consider subscribing (which helps iTunes rankings) and leaving a review or rating (which helps new listeners decide to try the show).

Here?s the full list of topics tackled in today?s episode along with the timestamps:


DEEP DIVE: The Deep Reset, Part 5


WORK QUESTIONS

- Advanced preparation for deep work blocks. [14:52]
- Time blocking chaotic sales jobs. [18:07]
- Being supportive of peer success. [20:11]
- Shut down ritual troubles. [24:21]
- Building the ideal home office. [27:31]
- Dealing with deep work dips during busy periods. [31:29]


TECHNOLOGY QUESTIONS

- Are podcasts distractions? [35:00]
- Dealing with an overflowing inbox. [41:10]
- Time blocking household activities. [50:11]
- Remembering what you read. [54:06]


DEEP LIFE QUESTIONS

- Updating core values and productivity roots. [57:02]
- When productivity swamps out everything else. [1:01:06]
- The deep life versus maximizing success. [1:05:54]


Thanks to listener Jay Kerstens for the intro music.

2020-12-28
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Ep. 56: Habit Tune-Up: Escaping Academic Twitter, Time Blocking During Vacation, and Making Time for Big Projects

In this mini-episode, I answer audio questions from listeners asking for advice about how best to tune-up their productivity and work habits in a moment of increased distraction and disruption.

You can submit your own audio questions at speakpipe.com/calnewport.

Here are the topics we cover:

 - Using task boards to plan big projects. [2:49] 
 - Academic Twitter. [8:31]
 - Time block breaks + Workflowy vs Trello. [13:04]
 - Deep work while traveling. [19:46]
 - Setting aside time for big projects. [26:02]

Thanks to listener Jay Kerstens for the intro music.

2020-12-23
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Ep. 55: Shallow Teams, Vague Goals, and Pandemic Screen Time

In this episode of Deep Questions I answer reader questions about working deeply with shallow teams, taking action on vague goals, and reducing screen time during a pandemic. We also celebrate reaching the million download milestone for this podcast.

To submit your own questions, sign up for my mailing list at calnewport.com. You can also submit audio questions at https://www.speakpipe.com/CalNewport

Please consider subscribing (which helps iTunes rankings) and leaving a review or rating (which helps new listeners decide to try the show).

Here?s the full list of topics tackled in today?s episode along with the timestamps:

DEEP DIVE: The Deep Reset, Part 4

WORK QUESTIONS
 * Overcoming failure to launch with self-help advice [12:19]
 * Time blocking unpredictable events. [16:34]
 * Working with people who are the opposite of deep. [18:60]
 * Deep work for sales jobs (or managers, or support staff). [26:13]
 * Juggling multiple big projects. [31:14]
 * Pursuing vague goals. [33:55]

TECHNOLOGY QUESTIONS
 * Distraction withdrawal symptoms. [37:41]
 * My tech setup. [45:12]
 * Achieving video-game level concentration. [50:11]
 * Learning algorithms on your own. [52:34]
 * Building a brand without social media. [59:17]
 * My podcast ingestion strategy. [1:01:42]

DEEP LIFE QUESTIONS
 * Digital minimalism and human connection during lockdowns. [1:03:08]
 * Scheduling free time. [1:13:24]
 * How to review metrics. [1:16:36]
 * Overcoming deep work avoidance. [1:17:42]

Thanks to listener Jay Kerstens for the intro music.

2020-12-21
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Ep. 54: Habit Tune-Up: Capture Tools, Getting Started, and Building Skills at Home

In this mini-episode, I answer audio questions from listeners asking for advice about how best to tune-up their productivity and work habits in a moment of increased distraction and disruption.

You can submit your own audio questions at speakpipe.com/calnewport.

Here are the topics we cover:

 -  Clarifying capturing and configuring. [2:09]
 -  Time blocking for teachers. [9:24]
 -  Starting from scratch on a hard professional challenge. [15:20]
 -  Building professional skills as a stay-at-home parent. [25:35]
 -  Bottom up versus top down when reorganizing your life. [32:04]

Thanks to listener Jay Kerstens for the intro music.

2020-12-17
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Ep. 53: Covey's Quads, "Perfect" Productivity Systems, and Reducing Laziness

In this episode of Deep Questions I answer reader questions about Stephen Covey's quad systems, the quixotic quest for a "perfect" productivity system, and reducing laziness, among many other topics.

To submit your own questions, sign up for my mailing list at calnewport.com. You can also submit audio questions at https://www.speakpipe.com/CalNewport

Please consider subscribing (which helps iTunes rankings) and leaving a review or rating (which helps new listeners decide to try the show).

Here?s the full list of topics tackled in today?s episode along with the timestamps:


DEEP DIVE: The Deep Reset, Part 3

WORK QUESTIONS
- Why did I become a scientist? [13:50]
- Time blocking scrum teams. [18:27]
- Stephen Covey?s quad systems. [22:50]
- Is an MS essential? [27:28]
- Time blocking the night before. [28:52]
 
TECHNOLOGY QUESTIONS
- The futility of perfecting productivity systems [31:41]
- Thoughts on pair programming. [41:44]
- Keeping track of novel connections between ideas. [52:14]
- Forced social media use [55:15]

DEEP LIFE QUESTIONS
- Deep living for stay-at-home parents. [1:02:02]
- Dealing with people not interested in personal development. [1:08:56]
- Reducing laziness. [1:12:51]


Thanks to listener Jay Kerstens for the intro music.

2020-12-14
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Ep. 52: Habit Tune-Up: Pandemic-Induced Overload, Side Hustles, and Managing for Depth

In this mini-episode, I answer audio questions from listeners asking for advice about how best to tune-up their productivity and work habits in a moment of increased distraction and disruption.

You can submit your own audio questions at speakpipe.com/calnewport.

Here are the topics we cover:

 * Capturing ideas outside the office. [4:31]
 * Prioritizing leisure. [9:08]
 * Coping with pandemic-induced shallow work. [11:58]
 * Succeeding with a side hustle [21:59]
 * Deep work at the organizational level [28:45]

Thanks to listener Jay Kerstens for the intro music.


2020-12-10
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Ep. 51: Saying "No", Building an Email List Without Social Media, and Falling Short of High Expectations | DEEP QUESTIONS

In this episode of Deep Questions I answer reader questions about saying "no" when others will say "yes" to the same offer, building an email list without social media, and falling short of high expectations for your life, among many other topics.

To submit your own questions, sign up for my mailing list at calnewport.com. You can also submit audio questions at https://www.speakpipe.com/CalNewport

Please consider subscribing (which helps iTunes rankings) and leaving a review or rating (which helps new listeners decide to try the show).

Here?s the full list of topics tackled in today?s episode along with the timestamps:


DEEP DIVE: The Deep Reset, Part 2

WORK QUESTIONS
 - Saying ?no? when others will say ?yes? [12:51]
 - Implicit time blocking [16:31]
 - Academic overwhelm [19:31]
 - Slogging through the early stages of writing [27:55]
 - Working hard without being hard on yourself [31:15] 
 
TECHNOLOGY QUESTIONS
 - Building an email list without social media [35:26]
 - Reviewing metrics [41:45]
 - Why I started this podcast [51:42]

DEEP LIFE QUESTIONS
 - My thoughts on academia [56:24] 
 - Money/possessions in the deep life [1:00:03]
 - Falling short of idealistic ideas [1:03:42] 
 - Is it worth trying to be exceptional? [1:09:46]


Thanks to listener Jay Kerstens for the intro music.

2020-12-07
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Ep. 50: Habit Tune-Up: Artificial Overload, Deep Retirement, and Motivational Crises

In this mini-episode, I answer audio questions from listeners asking for advice about how best to tune-up their productivity and work habits in a moment of increased distraction and disruption.

You can submit your own audio questions at speakpipe.com/calnewport.

Here are the topics we cover:

 * When deep work creates more shallow obligations. [2:49]
 * Avoiding artificial overload. [10:00]
 * Deep retirement. [23:06]
 * Defusing deep procrastination. [27:00]

Thanks to listener Jay Kerstens for the intro music.

2020-12-03
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Ep. 49: Organizing Massive Projects, Taming IM, and Exploring the Deep Life Canon

In this episode of Deep Questions I answer reader questions about organizing massive projects, taming IM, and elaborating the books I would include in the Deep Life Canon.

To submit your own questions, sign up for my mailing list at calnewport.com. You can also submit audio questions at https://www.speakpipe.com/CalNewport

Please consider subscribing (which helps iTunes rankings) and leaving a review or rating (which helps new listeners decide to try the show).

Here?s the full list of topics tackled in today?s episode along with the timestamps:


DEEP DIVE: The Deep Reset, Part 1

WORK QUESTIONS

 - The limits of deliberate practice? [12:09]
 - Getting started on massive projects. [20:11] 
 - Social media and the dissemination of academic research. [25:04]
 - Digital time blocking. [31:59]
 - My opinion on GTD-style contexts. [35:50]  
 - When a job requires social media use. [40:01]
 

TECHNOLOGY QUESTIONS

 - Taming IM. [42:13]
 - How to attend online classes. [50:08]
 - Breaking a YouTube addiction. [1:00:30]
 - Controlling heavy RSS use. [1:03:40]
 - On the phenomenology of technology. [1:06:31] 


DEEP LIFE QUESTIONS

 - Deciding when to give up on a book [1:12:25].
 - Dealing with an overwhelming amount of advice. [1:14:05]
 - Living deeply in high school. [1:17:30] 
 - The Deep Life Canon. [1:23:47]


Thanks to listener Jay Kerstens for the intro music.

2020-11-30
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Ep. 48: Habit Tune-Up: Deep Athletes, Idea Capture, and Distracting Rumination

In this mini-episode, I answer audio questions from listeners asking for advice about how best to tune-up their productivity and work habits in a moment of increased distraction and disruption.

You can submit your own audio questions at speakpipe.com/calnewport.

Here are the topics we cover:

* Time blocking versus calendar planning [6:07]
* Deep work for professional athletes [12:24]
* Capturing non-urgent ideas [21:33] 
* Distracted by rumination [35:09]
* Prioritizing interesting projects [43:17]

Thanks to listener Jay Kerstens for the intro music.

2020-11-26
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Ep. 47: BRAD STULBERG on Burn Out, Career Transformation, and Intentional Living

In this episode of DEEP QUESTIONS we're joined by a guest host: Brad Stulberg.

Brad is a bestselling writer who focuses on human performance. He's known for his books PEAK PERFORMANCE and THE PASSION PARADOX, as well as for his popular "Do It Better" column for Outside Magazine.

We go deep on Brad's story, using it to illustrate timeless points on burnout, recovery, transformation, and intentional living. We also talk about the unexpected television commercial that helped vault his first book to success and, of course, answer your questions.

You can find out more about Brad at https://www.bradstulberg.com/

To submit your own questions for this podcast, sign up for my mailing list at calnewport.com.

Thank you to listener Jay Kerstens for the intro music.

2020-11-23
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Ep. 46: Habit Tune-Up: Mastering Teaching, Containing Emotional Emails, and Working Deeply with a Newborn

In this mini-episode, I answer audio questions from listeners asking for advice about how best to tune-up their productivity and work habits in a moment of increased distraction and disruption.

You can submit your own audio questions at speakpipe.com/calnewport.

Here are the topics we cover: 


Opening: When did productivity become personal? (My new article for The New Yorker.)

* Becoming so good they can't ignore you as a teacher [19:07]
* Finding focused after receiving emotional emails [30:18]
* Scheduling deep work amidst unpredictable childcare [43:19]
* Fitting a large amount of leisure into a small amount of free time [52:19]


Thanks to listener Jay Kerstens for the intro music.

2020-11-19
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Ep. 45: My Trello Setup, Student and Screens, My Call for a Deep Reset | DEEP QUESTIONS

In this episode of Deep Questions I answer reader questions about dealing my Trello setup, reducing student screen time, and our collective need for a "deep reset," among many other topics.

To submit your own questions, sign up for my mailing list at calnewport.com. You can submit audio questions at https://www.speakpipe.com/CalNewport

Please consider subscribing (which helps iTunes rankings) and leaving a review or rating (which helps new listeners decide to try the show).

Here?s the full list of topics tackled in today?s episode along with the timestamps:


WORK QUESTIONS

* Entry level jobs and shallow work [11:24]
* The future of bullshit jobs [16:25]
* Staying in the zone over the weekend [23:09]
* Deciding what to read as an academic [26:45]
* Calibrating academic service [29:15]
* Revisiting my 2009 advice on grad school [34:43]
* Deep work with a new kid [44:50]


TECHNOLOGY QUESTIONS

* My Trello setup [50:06]
* Reducing student screen time [54:46]
* Boredom versus high quality diversions [58:37]
* Note-taking apps [1:07:25]
* Agile methodologies and deep work [1:10:11]


DEEP LIFE QUESTIONS

* Young mother seeking better friends [1:17:05] 
* Young father seeking improvement [1:21:36] 
* Kids versus career [1:27:45]
* Thoughts on the Astros [1:29:23]
* My call for a ?Deep Reset? [1:29:48] 


Thanks to listener Jay Kerstens for the intro music.

2020-11-16
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Ep. 44: Habit Tune-Up: Prioritizing Tasks, Balancing My Many Endeavors, and Resisting Radicalization

In this mini-episode, I answer audio questions from listeners asking for advice about how best to tune-up their productivity and work habits in a moment of increased distraction and disruption.

You can submit your own audio questions at speakpipe.com/calnewport.

Here are the topics we cover: 

* Prioritizing tasks when you have too much to do [9:28]
* Making the most of the weekend [18:53]
* Balancing my academic and writing obligations [26:42]
* Improving reading habits [35:25]
* Resisting radicalization (sermon alert) [41:07]

Thanks to listener Jay Kerstens for the intro music.

2020-11-12
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Ep. 43: Unproductive Days, Content Fatigue, and Cultivating Character | DEEP QUESTIONS

In this episode of Deep Questions I answer reader questions about dealing with unproductive days, avoiding curated content fatigue, and the importance of developing character, among many other topics.

To submit your own questions, sign up for my mailing list at calnewport.com. You can submit audio questions at https://www.speakpipe.com/CalNewport

Please consider subscribing (which helps iTunes rankings) and leaving a review or rating (which helps new listeners decide to try the show).

Here?s the full list of topics tackled in today?s episode along with the timestamps:


OPENING: The terribleness of my recent experiment with constant online news consumption.


WORK QUESTIONS

* Dealing with unproductive days [11:50] 
* My system versus David Allen?s systems [15:16] 
* The timeline for developing deep habits [22:35]
* Assessing your own career capital [31:17] 
* The road to academic superstardom [36:05] 
* Ideal number of working hours [45:28] 
* Building a reasonable schedule for an unreasonable workload [51:32]


TECHNOLOGY QUESTIONS

* Avoiding curated content fatigue [53:41]
* Capture technology [58:22]
* The plan for this podcast [1:00:19]
* Music and concentration [1:07:01]
* Instant messaging and distraction [1:08:02] 


DEEP LIFE QUESTIONS

* Essentialism versus the deep life [1:13:48] 
* Deep home life [1:16:57] 
* My ideal work environment [1:23:37]
* Character and the deep life [1:27:58] 


Thanks to listener Jay Kerstens for the intro music.

2020-11-09
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Ep. 42: GREG MCKEOWN and I Discuss Unplugging, Doing Less, and Finding Focus

In this special episode of DEEP QUESTIONS, I rebroadcast a conversation recorded earlier this summer, featuring me and the bestselling author Greg McKeown. It originally aired on Greg's fantastic podcast, WHAT'S ESSENTIAL (https://gregmckeown.com/podcast/).

You probably know Greg from his influential 2014 book, ESSENTIALISM, which I recommend all the time. In this conversation, we talk about unplugging from distraction, the art of doing less (without accomplishing less), and how to improve your ability to focus.

I hope you enjoy it. 

Thanks to our sponsors Magic Spoon (use magicspoon.com/CAL to receive free shipping) and Blinkist (use blinkist.com/DEEP for a 7 day free trial).

Also thanks to listener Jay Kerstens for the intro music.

2020-11-05
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Ep. 41: Selling Your First Book, Shallow Spouses, and My Dream Schedule | DEEP QUESTIONS

In this episode of Deep Questions I answer reader questions about selling your first book (and end up accidentally ranting about publishing industry misconceptions), going deep when your spouse is defiantly shallow, and day dreaming about my ideal schedule, among many other topics.

To submit your own questions, sign up for my mailing list at calnewport.com. You can submit audio questions at https://www.speakpipe.com/CalNewport

Please consider subscribing (which helps iTunes rankings) and leaving a review or rating (which helps new listeners decide to try the show).

Here?s the full list of topics tackled in today?s episode along with the timestamps:


WORK QUESTIONS

 * Planning unpredictable work [2:27]
 * On the supposed upsides of procrastination [12:02]
 * Cutting back on academic obligations [14:43]
 * Dropping out of grad school [18:02]
 * Publishing your first book (rant alert) [21:07]
 * Getting serious about personal productivity [30:35]


TECHNOLOGY QUESTIONS

 * A look at my own phone usage [37:36]
 * On cannabis and deep work [40:16]
 * When your spouse is mad at you for reducing technology [47:12]
 * Rethinking education post-pandemic [53:09]


DEEP LIFE QUESTIONS
 
 * Dream schedules for lovers of depth [1:01:01]
 * Staying motivated when school is online [1:03:51]
 * FIRE and the deep life [1:09:3]


Links to Special Offers from our Sponsors:
 - blinkist.com/DEEP
 - magicspoon.com/CAL


Thanks to listener Jay Kerstens for the intro music.

2020-11-02
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Ep. 40: Habit Tune-Up: Optimal Notebook Usage, Quarterly Planning, and Combating Burn Out

In this mini-episode, I answer audio questions from listeners asking for advice about how best to tune-up their productivity and work habits in a moment of increased distraction and disruption.

You can submit your own audio questions at speakpipe.com/calnewport.

Here are the topics we cover: 


* Notebooks for personal reflections vs. business organization. [5:50]
* Elite quarterly planning tactics. [10:18]
* Diminishing distracting day dreams. [18:37]
* Combating burn out. [32:58]


Special Offer Links from Sponsors:
 - magicspoon.com/CAL


Thanks to listener Jay Kerstens for the intro music.

2020-10-29
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Ep. 39: DAVID EPSTEIN on Skills, Practice, and the Subtle Art of Cultivating a Meaningful Career

In this episode of DEEP QUESTIONS we're joined by a guest host: David Epstein.

David is the New York Times bestselling author of THE SPORTS GENE and RANGE. I probably get asked questions about RANGE more than any other book by listeners of this podcast, so I knew we had to get David on the show to share his wisdom.

We talk about his career, his (short-lived) public feud with Malcolm Gladwell, and his research habits, but most importantly, we go deep on his breakthrough ideas about skills, practice, and meaning in careers -- answering many of your questions as well as a few of my own.

You can find out more about David at https://davidepstein.com.

To submit your own questions for this podcast, sign up for my mailing list at calnewport.com.

Thanks to our sponsor Magic Spoon (use magicspoon.com/CAL to receive free shipping).

Thank you to listener Jay Kerstens for the intro music.

2020-10-26
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Ep. 38: Habit Tune-Up: Daily vs. Weekly Planning, Supercharging Home Offices, and Taming Demanding Jobs

In this mini-episode, I answer audio questions from listeners asking for advice about how best to tune-up their productivity and work habits in a moment of increased distraction and disruption.

You can submit your own audio questions at speakpipe.com/calnewport.

Here are the topics we cover: 

* The difference between daily and weekly planning [10:08]
* Fighting shallow work in medicine. [16:44]
* On the value of taking off a work day each week. [24:14]
* Maximizing home offices. [30:29]
* Scheduling deep work with a chronic illness [43:08]
* Taming jobs with large hour demands. [49:32]


Special Offer Sponsor Links:
 - grammarly.com/DEEP
 - indeed.com/QUESTIONS
 - foursigmatic.com/DEEP

Thanks to listener Jay Kerstens for the intro music.

2020-10-22
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Ep.37: The Planning Fallacy, Inbox Zero, and the Limits of Ethical Technology | DEEP QUESTIONS

In this episode of Deep Questions I answer reader questions about avoiding the planning fallacy, my thoughts on Inbox Zero, and the limits of the ethical technology movement, among many other topics.

To submit your own questions, sign up for my mailing list at calnewport.com. You can submit audio questions at https://www.speakpipe.com/CalNewport

Please consider subscribing (which helps iTunes rankings) and leaving a review or rating (which helps new listeners decide to try the show).

Here?s the full list of topics tackled in today?s episode along with the timestamps:


OPENING: The three stages of hard creative work.

WORK QUESTIONS

* Cutting back on meetings. [23:06]
* Improving your coworkers habits (without them knowing). [26:44]
* Teaching depth to kids. [39:52]
* Choosing between graduate school and a job. [46:30] 
* Scheduling side hustles. [48:55]
* Career capital theory for parents. [49:44]
* Avoiding the planning fallacy. [52:21] 


TECHNOLOGY QUESTIONS

* My thoughts on Inbox Zero. [54:08]
* Preventing short breaks from derailing depth. [57:47]
* Reading on book per week. [1:04:04]
* How much a serious college student should read. [1:12:33]
* Digital minimalism for college students. [1:13:32]
* On the limits of ethical technology (sermon alert). [1:20:20]


DEEP LIFE QUESTIONS

* Planning for family in the deep life. [1:36:02]
* Fostering depth later in life. [1:41:00]
* Living deeply during pandemic homeschooling. [1:44:12]


Special Offer Sponsor Links:
 - grammarly.com/DEEP
 - foursigmatic.com/DEEP
 - indeed.com/QUESTIONS


Thanks to listener Jay Kerstens for the intro music.

2020-10-19
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Ep. 36: Habit Tune-Up: Scheduling Life Admin, Finding Time for Practice, and High-Tech Metric Tracking

In this mini-episode, I answer audio questions from listeners asking for advice about how best to tune-up their productivity and work habits in a moment of increased distraction and disruption.

I also officially announce my new Time-Block Planner! Available for pre-order everyone you buy books. Find out more about the Time Block Academy event I'm holding for those who pre-order at calnewport.com/blog.

You can submit your own audio questions at speakpipe.com/calnewport.

Here are the topics we cover: 

 * Trello versus Workflowy for task management. [9:08]
 * Integrating life admin into your work day. [12:54]
 * Finding time for deliberate practice in an unpredictable work day. [18:46]
 * Rekindling a reading habit lost to distraction. [30:10]
 * High-tech metric tracking. [36:46]

Offer links from this episode's sponsors:
 * Optimize.me/deep
 * ExpressVPN.com/deep
 * Purple.com/deep10

Thanks to listener Jay Kerstens for the intro music.

2020-10-15
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Ep. 35: Managing Deeply, Quitting Facebook, and Thinking for Yourself in an Age of Information Overload | DEEP QUESTIONS

In this episode of Deep Questions I answer reader questions about deep work for managers, life without Facebook, and original thought in an age of information overload, among many other topics. I also continue our ongoing discussion of household productivity by sharing systems sent in by readers.

To submit your own questions, sign up for my mailing list at calnewport.com. You can submit audio questions at https://www.speakpipe.com/CalNewport

Please consider subscribing (which helps iTunes rankings) and leaving a review or rating (which helps new listeners decide to try the show).

Here?s the full list of topics tackled in today?s episode along with the timestamps:

WORK QUESTIONS
 * Optimizing deep work retreats [17:57]
 * Pomodoro versus longer focus sessions [23:02]
 * Timeblocking in advance [24:55]
 * How to choose a new career [26:42] 
 * Balancing quality and quantity in research [32:44]
 * Deep work for managers [37:31]


TECHNOLOGY QUESTIONS
 * Online information gathering without distraction [45:35]  
 * Tracking academic papers [48:53]
 * P vs NP [52:24] 
 * Life without Facebook [58:30]


BACKSTAGE PASS: Meeting Tristan Harris and HQ updates [1:06:49]


DEEP LIFE QUESTIONS
 * Deep work and leisure activities [1:14:30]
 * Non-digital interaction in the age of COVID [1:18:49]
 * Deep work when dealing with mental health issues [1:25:19]
 * Thinking for yourself in an age of information overload [1:32:34] 


Offer links from this episode's sponsors:
 * Optimize.me/deep
 * ExpressVPN.com/deep
 * Purple.com/deep10


Thanks to listener Jay Kerstens for the intro music.

2020-10-12
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Ep. 34: Habit Tune-Up: Productivity Chimeras, OmniFocus, and Finding Time to Write

In this mini-episode, I answer audio questions from listeners asking for advice about how best to tune-up their productivity and work habits in a moment of increased distraction and disruption.

You can submit your own audio questions at speakpipe.com/calnewport.

Here are the topics we cover: 

* Productivity chimera's and processing captured tasks [9:53] 
* Thoughts on OmniFocus [16:37] 
* Taming a team's early email habit [21:39] 
* Finding time to write in a busy life [25:09] 
* Struggling to write even when you have the time [32:30] 

Special thanks to our sponsor Blinkist. For a 7-day free trial and 25% off a subscription, go to blinkist.com/DEEP.

As always, if you enjoy the podcast, please considering subscribing or leaving a rating/review.

Thanks to listener Jay Kerstens for the intro music.

2020-10-09
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Ep 33: Rethinking Delegation, Pandemic Childcare, and Balancing Deep Work with Deep Hobbies

In this episode of Deep Questions I answer reader questions about the hidden difficulties of delegation, the impact of pandemic childcare on productivity (hint: it's not good), and the balance between deep work and deep hobbies, among many other topics.

To submit your own questions, sign up for my mailing list at calnewport.com. You can submit audio questions at https://www.speakpipe.com/CalNewport

Please consider subscribing (which helps iTunes rankings) and leaving a review or rating (which helps new listeners decide to try the show).

Thanks to our sponsor Optimize. For a free trial and 10% off go to optimize.me/DEEP.

Thanks to our sponsor Blinkist. For a free trial and 25% off go to blinkist.com/DEEP.  

Here?s the full list of topics tackled in today?s episode along with the timestamps:

WORK QUESTIONS
  * Spreading yourself too thin [11:11]
  * Willpower fatigue [16:58]
  * Deciding when to delegate [20:06]
  * Work hour equity [23:03]
  * Pandemic-induced childcare [28:45]
  * Digital minimalism in the entertainment industry [34:19]

TECHNOLOGY QUESTIONS
 * Storing longterm notes [43:38]
 * The value of site/app blocking software [45:22]
 * Concentration and pornography (rant alert) [46:44]

BACKSTAGE PASS [54:50]

DEEP LIFE QUESTIONS
 * Deep work versus deep hobbies [1:00:49]
 * Stopping ruminations [1:03:57]
 * Binging on productivity videos [1:07:47]
 * Seeking depth when hopelessly distracted [1:10:32]

Thanks to listener Jay Kerstens for the intro music.

2020-10-05
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Ep. 32: Habit Tune-Up: Tracking Deliberate Practice, Getting Over the Fact Work is Hard, and Taming the Emotional Rigors of Depth

In this mini-episode, I answer audio questions from listeners asking for advice about how best to tune-up their productivity and work habits in a moment of increased distraction and disruption.

You can submit your own audio questions at speakpipe.com/calnewport.

Here are the topics we cover: 

* Tracking deliberate practice initiatives. [8:21]
* Helping an overwhelmed teacher. [12:33]
* Dealing with hard work. [23:54]
* Shutting down when you have too much to do. [29:26]
* Taming the emotional rigors of a deep work habit. [37:28]


Special thanks to our sponsor Optimize. For a 14-day free trial go to optimize.me/DEEP.

As always, if you enjoy the podcast, please considering subscribing or leaving a rating/review.

Thanks to listener Jay Kerstens for the intro music.

2020-10-01
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Ep. 31: RYAN HOLIDAY on Ranch Life, Fostering Discipline, and the Loss of Reading Culture

In this episode of Deep Questions we try something a little different: our first guest!

Bestselling author Ryan Holiday joins me to help answer reader questions, as well as more than a few queries from me. We cover a variety of topics, including his life as a writer living on a ranch, how he fosters discipline, the impact of our diminishing reading culture, and why everyone keeps trying to get me to move to Austin.

Be sure to check out Ryan's new book: LIVES OF THE STOICS (https://dailystoic.com/preorder).

To submit your own questions for the show, sign up for my mailing list at calnewport.com. 

You can submit audio questions at https://www.speakpipe.com/CalNewport

Thanks to listener Jay Kerstens for the intro music.

2020-09-28
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Ep. 30: Habit Tune-Up: Easing into Time Blocks, Planning Big Goals, and the Story of How I Sold My First Book

In this mini-episode, I answer audio questions from listeners asking for advice about how best to tune-up their productivity and work habits in a moment of increased distraction and disruption.

You can submit your own audio questions at speakpipe.com/calnewport.

Here are the topics we cover: 

* Easing into time block planning. [6:24]
* Keeping up when taking notes. [11:49]
* Optimal delay between learning and recall. [17:12]
* Planning big goals. [20:59]
* Insider advice on book publishing [29:36]

Special thanks to our sponsor Grammarly. For 20% off Grammarly Premium go to Grammarly.com/DEEP.  Use your laptop or desktop (this link doesn't always work on phones).

As always, if you enjoy the podcast, please considering subscribing or leaving a rating/review.

Thanks to listener Jay Kerstens for the intro music.

2020-09-24
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Ep. 29: My Daily Routine, Returning to Deep Work, and Digital Minimalism During a Pandemic | DEEP QUESTIONS

In this episode of Deep Questions I answer reader questions about my daily routine, restarting a deep work practice, and embracing digital minimalism during a pandemic, among other topics.

To submit your own questions, sign up for my mailing list at calnewport.com. You can submit audio questions at https://www.speakpipe.com/CalNewport

Please consider subscribing (which helps iTunes rankings) and leaving a review or rating (which helps new listeners decide to try the show).

Thanks to our sponsor to Grammarly. For 20% off Grammarly Premium go to Grammarly.com/DEEP. Use your laptop or desktop (this link doesn't always work on phones).

Here?s the full list of topics tackled in today?s episode along with the timestamps:

WORK QUESTIONS

* My daily routine. [3:56]
* Ensuring employees are working deeply at home [9:09]
* Keeping a to-do list constantly open. [12:18]
* The best way to start deep working. [14:31]
* Advice for someone just starting a job [22:38]
* Restarting research after a stint in an administrative position. [32:01]

TECHNOLOGY QUESTIONS

* Speed reading versus strategic skimming. [39:05]
* The cost of occasional hyper-distraction [41:00]
* Thoughts on Reddit and Quora. [45:35]

BACKSTAGE PASS [50:17]

DEEP LIFE QUESTIONS

* Digital minimalism versus Covid-19. [58:05]
* Struggling to find time for depth. [1:06:52]
* Strategies for transitioning to a deep life. [1:12:48]

Thanks to listener Jay Kerstens for the intro music.

2020-09-20
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Ep. 28: Habit Tune-Up: Multiplying Eureka Moments, My Capture Setup, and Reducing Mass Email Destruction

In this mini-episode, I answer audio questions from listeners asking for advice about how best to tune-up their productivity and work habits in a moment of increased distraction and disruption.

You can submit your own audio questions at speakpipe.com/calnewport.

Here are the topics we cover: 

* Generating more eureka moments [3:59]
* Working past shutdowns [8:08]
* How I capture tasks [17:10]
* Blocking distractions with music [23:22]
* Solving excessive mass emails [27:18]

As always, if you enjoy the podcast, please considering subscribing or leaving a rating/review.

Thanks to listener Jay Kerstens for the intro music.

2020-09-17
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Ep. 27: Inside My Planning Discipline, the Joys and Sorrows of Slack, and Finding Depth Among Shallow Friends | DEEP QUESTIONS

In this episode of Deep Questions I answer reader questions about what?s on my weekly plan at the moment, the complicated impact of Slack, and pursuing depth among friends more interested in fun.

I will be sending out a new request for text questions to my mailing list soon. You can sign up for my mailing list at calnewport.com. You can submit audio questions at https://www.speakpipe.com/CalNewport

Please consider subscribing (which helps iTunes rankings) and leaving a review or rating (which helps new listeners decide to try the show).

Here?s the full list of topics tackled in today?s episode along with the timestamps:


WORK QUESTIONS

* Is monthly planning necessary? (Bonus: A look at my current plans) [2:12] 

* Breaking up time blocks [10:03]

* Debunking writer?s blocks [11:28]

* Favoritism versus career capital [17:56]

* When to stop studying [27:35]

* Getting back up when struggling in your work [30:19]


QUESTION ROULETTE [34:58]


TECHNOLOGY QUESTIONS

* The productivity apps I use [42:49]

* Do academics need good digital presences? [43:37]

* Leaving social media when you can?t leave the house [45:13]

* The mixed impact of the rise of Slack [50:53]


BACKSTAGE PASS [57:41]


DEEP LIFE QUESTIONS

* Finding a calling when you?re interesting in many things [1:01:57]

* Sticking to the deep life when you?re friends are deeply into the fun life (Bonus: tales from my one day as a Dartmouth frat brother) [1:07:14]


Thanks to listener Jay Kerstens for the intro music.

2020-09-14
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