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Deep Questions with Cal Newport
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Deep Questions with Cal Newport

Author: Cal Newport

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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.
74 Episodes
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Ep. 59: Why Be Productive?

Ep. 59: Why Be Productive?

2021-01-0401:19:391

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.
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.
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/CalNewportPlease 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 5WORK 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.
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.
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/CalNewportPlease 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 4WORK 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.
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Comments (26)

Brian Perdomo

another great episode

Feb 16th
Reply (1)

Brian Perdomo

great episode

Jan 8th
Reply

sjdltft

i think im the first listener of this episode. thanks for your content

Nov 26th
Reply

Jason Finn

01:01:46 this part about the need for two clashing theories is very interesting! Noticing where this does not apply could help to discourage dogma in so many places.

Nov 19th
Reply

Stu Cook

Another practical episode and I particularly liked the focus on prioritisation and even the radicalisation slot at the end.

Nov 19th
Reply

Simone

Honestly impressed by how good his advice on marriage was

Nov 9th
Reply

Stu Cook

There is always loads to think about whenever I listen to Cal. He's so insightful. I'm already reaping personal benefits from putting into practice what I hear so encourage others to listen if you want to boost personal productivity.

Oct 30th
Reply

Stu Cook

Another excellent episode today! The segment on daily vs. weekly planning has given me a lot to consider when it comes to how I plan out my time as I look to boost productivity.

Oct 23rd
Reply

yoyo

When he said "don't get me started" about tiktok, I really wanted to hear the rest of what he had to say 🤣

Oct 20th
Reply

Stu Cook

Great episode today. Reducing friction in my productivity is something I'm definitely pursuing and this podcast has a lot to offer.

Oct 20th
Reply

Dee

tik tok is brain poison. 😆😆💯💯

Oct 18th
Reply (2)

Stu Cook

This is such a good podcast, especially if you are interested in boosting your productivity in current times.

Oct 10th
Reply

Simone

I love the rants

Oct 5th
Reply

Raphaëlle Joffray

Cal Newport gives great advice to navigate the modernity madness : E-mails, Slack, overloaded schedules, and workplace insanity. These advices are also valuable at home, to find time to practice important activities instead of browsing shallow websites, and increase your "domestic productivity". Thanks Cal for all the tips !

Oct 2nd
Reply

Stu Cook

Very helpful advice on timeblocking, Cal. That's something that I had never heard of until listening to your podcast but I think it's something that I can incorporate into my day.

Sep 25th
Reply

Dee

YouTube is a problem for me, I'm not that active on social media but I have uninstalled Instagram, it helps.

Sep 17th
Reply

Stu Cook

Another great episode today, Cal! Your tips on slaying the "productivity hydra" have given me a lot to think about as I tackle my own upcoming projects.

Sep 9th
Reply

Stu Cook

Thanks for your advice today, Cal. 👍 I particularly like the idea of "adventure studying" especially in this climate we're living in so will be sure to consider my options.

Sep 1st
Reply

Vikramjit Singh

great content Cal...

Aug 13th
Reply

Dee

Don't be bothered by those outside the arena ✊

Aug 13th
Reply
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