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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.
17 Episodes
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In this episode of Deep Questions I answer reader questions on delegating without email, effective methods for fighting imposter syndrome, and my take on critical theory (which leads to an impromptu history seminar, which is the price one pays for asking an academic a question about academic theory),  among many other topics.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/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:WORK QUESTIONS* Effective delegation (hint: don't send an email) [8:09]* Bosses with varied productivity styles [16:25]* Crucial skills for the 21st century [18:54]* The danger of using a pseudonym to evade imposter syndrome [23:34]* How I choose my career [26:23]* Optimal specificity for daily plans [29:40]* Advice for someone new to writing [33:55]QUESTION ROULETTE [35:43]TECHNOLOGY QUESTIONS* My thoughts on smart watches [38:49]* Using "memory palaces" to train your brain (random story alert) [40:56]* Moving tasks out of email, even if annoying [44:52]* The limited use of social media for a non-established writer [46:29]* My thoughts on the Boycott Facebook movement [48:11]DEEP LIFE QUESTION* The secret to my "smooth" answers to questions [50:38]* Getting back on track after a professional failure [54:14]* Sticking with a job you dislike [59:32]* An impromptu history seminar on critical theory [1:05:00]Thanks to listener Jay Kerstens for the intro music.
In this mini-episode, I take "calls" 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: * Does capturing thoughts diminish deep work? [2:09]* Trouble relaxing after periods of intense focus. [7:37]* Should you list specific tasks on time block schedules? [14:23]* Time blocking for jobs with regular unexpected emergencies. [18:46]* What administrators can do to help teachers work deeply. [26:08]As always, if you enjoy the podcast, please considering subscribing or leaving a rating/review.Thanks to listener Jay Kerstens for the intro music.
In this episode of Deep Questions I answer reader questions on deep work in groups, the double-edge sword of deploying social media in politics, and a discussion of the most common objection about my work, among many other topics.You can submit your audio questions at https://www.speakpipe.com/CalNewportI 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.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 work in groups [1:42]* Rethinking the "Dorsey Exception" [3:52]* The wrong reason to pursue a PhD [9:04]* Background noise and distraction [10:10]* Managing tedious life admin [14:02]* Turning down a promotion to avoid shallow work [22:30]* Audio Question of the Day: Can attention residue ever be positive? [25:32]* Staying up on news in depressing times [30:57]* Thoughts on the Kindle [35:00]* Thoughts on the Pomodoro Technique [38:00]* Social media and politics [41:23]* Deep work versus social media [47:20]* Question Roulette: When will depth become mainstream? [50:31]* Habits to pick up in childhood [54:56]* How students can cultivate a deep life [57:02]* Recharging during deep work breaks [1:02]* Uncommon sources of high quality leisure [1:05]* Teaching the deep life to children [1:06]* The strongest arguments against my work [1:08]Thanks to listener Jay Kerstens for the intro music.
In this mini-episode, I take "calls" 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: * Figuring out where to publish different types of writing [1:29]* Balancing two careers [7:08]* On productivity in support roles [13:04]* Keeping all aspects of the deep life in balance [22:22]As always, if you enjoy the podcast, please considering subscribing. Thanks to listener Jay Kerstens for the intro music.
In this episode of Deep Questions I answer reader questions on where I work (hint: an absurd number of different places), convincing students to disconnect, and applying deep work to deep social problems, among many other topics.I need more audio questions for my habit tune-up mini-episodes. You can submit your audio questions at https://www.speakpipe.com/CalNewportI 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.Please consider subscribing (which helps iTunes rankings) and leaving a review or rating (which helps new listeners consider the show).Here’s the full list of topics tackled in today’s episode along with the timestamps: * My (many) deep work environments [1:50]  * Law firms are deep work disasters [6:42]   * On the deepness of business development efforts [13:03]  * Deep work for high school teachers [14:17]  * The danger of using random masters degree to "fix" your professional life [17:04]  * On becoming a great thinker (in graduate school) [18:26]  * Question Roulette: coping with mission failure. [20:12] * My book writing toolbox [24:38]  * The myth of the necessity of social media for professional success (rant alert!) [26:56]  * Getting students to disconnect [31:19]  * On social media and democratization movements [34:48] * The right order to teach my books [39:54]  * Moving past repeated failures to minimize technology use [44:48]  * Finding motivation to get things done (sermon alert!) [44:48]  * Deep work on deep social problems [52:37] Thanks to listener Jay Kerstens for the intro music.
In this mini-episode, I take "calls" from listeners asking for advice about how best to tune-up their productivity and work habits in a moment of increased distraction and disruption.Here are the topics we cover: * Advice on using "office hours" to reduce email [1:51] * Random thoughts and internet rabbit holes [11:18]* Fear of mistakes crippling productivity [16:27]* Escaping to phone when tried at work [22:11]* The secret to making deep work deeper [25:10]As always, if you enjoy the podcast, please considering subscribing. Thanks to listener Jay Kerstens for the intro music.
In this episode of Deep Questions I answer reader questions on work resistance, the state of techno-criticism, tales from the MIT theory group, and the depth-destroying power of children. I also play some question roulette and tackle the audio question of the day. (Hint: it’s about my reading habits.)To submit your own questions, sign up for my mailing list at calnewport.com (I send a survey to this list soliciting questions on a semi-regular basis).Here’s the full list of topics tackled in today’s episode along with the timestamps:* The organizational power of plain text files [1:18]* Confronting an overwhelming number of obligations [4:00]* Getting back on track after lockdown disrupted work habits [7:15]* Dealing with resistance to work [9:39]* Audio question of the day: managing a variety of different inputs [18:28]* Avoiding social media on the phone browser [23:26]* The need for a distraction-reducing phone operating system [26:06]* Tracking birthdays without Facebook [28:32] * My podcast habits [31:07]* Humane tools and the state of techno-criticism [33:57]* Question roulette:  my book reading habits [43:46]* Life inside the MIT Theory Group (bonus: cracking the superstar code) [48:47]* The seeming impossibility of deep work with kids [1:02:42]* Curing your spouse’s Facebook addiction [1:14:10]* On the deep value of work [1:16:12]Thanks to listener Jay Kerstens for the intro music.
In this episode of Deep Questions I answer reader questions on battling email, online learning, and a game plan for escaping a shallow life. I also play some question roulette and answer the audio question of the day.To submit your own questions, sign up for my mailing list at calnewport.com (I send a survey to this list soliciting questions on a semi-regular basis.)Full list of topics tackled in today’s episode:* [1:23] Fighting the email onslaught* [4:50] Shutting down when work never ends* [9:53] Abandoning work blocks* [11:03] Grad school later in life* [12:20] Getting into grad school* [14:15] How to win at grad school* [15:40] My deliberate practice routines* [21:45] Question roulette: overhaul deep work habits* [25:31] Schools and social media* [28:00] Adapting to online learning * [31:40] Bullet journaling: yay or nay?* [34:40] Audio question of the day: too many tasks* [37:50] Elite learning without schools (bonus rant: the future of higher education)* [45:09] My dharma* [48:17] Escaping a long stay in the shallowsThanks to listener Jay Kerstens for the intro music.
In this mini-episode, I take "calls" from listeners asking for advice about how best to tune-up their productivity and work habits in a moment of increased distraction and disruption.Here are the topics we cover: [1:30] Making an iPhone less distracting.[9:08] Keystone habits to help deep work stick.[12:45] Making progress on a non-urgent big project.[17:29] Training your ability to focus.Thanks to listener Jay Kerstens for the intro music.
In this episode of Deep Questions I answer reader questions on fleeing a collapsing career, taking notes on books, and building a deep life. I also play some question roulette and answer the audio question of the day.To submit your own questions, sign up for my mailing list at calnewport.com (I send a survey to this list soliciting questions on a semi-regular basis.)Full list of topics tackled in today’s episode: * Fleeing a collapsing career. * The coming knowledge work productivity revolution. * Configuring your tasks. * Amending Deep Work. * Audio Question: Finding depth in a social office. * Taking notes on books (plus: Kindle versus physical)  * News from social media.  * Thoughts on LinkedIn.  * Running a business as a student.  * Optimal amounts of solitude.  * Finding quality leisure.  * How to build a deep life.Thanks to listener Jay Kerstens for the intro music.
In this mini-episode, I take "calls" from listeners asking for advice about how best to tune-up their productivity and work habits in a moment of increased distraction and disruption.(Going forward, I plan to occasionally augment my standard full length weekly episode, where I go deep on many different topics, with these shorter mini-episodes, where I can focus on specific themes and experiment with new formats.)Thanks to listener Jay Kerstens for the intro music.
In this episode of Deep Questions I answer reader questions on balancing the professional and the personal, unreasonable email expectations and using the internet to escape hard creative work. I also play some question roulette and attempt a lightening round in which I answer as many question as possible in a single minute.To submit your own questions, sign up for my mailing list at calnewport.com (I send a survey to this list soliciting questions on a semi-regular basis.)Full list of topics tackled in today’s episode: * Separating personal and professional when planning. * Inducing a sense of urgency. * Balancing work and relationships in lockdown. * Getting into graduate school with bad grades. * Starting a productivity journey. * Resetting expectations about email response time. * Tracking health metrics. * Finding blog readers without social media. * Lightening Round:   - how much deep work can fit in a day?   - what is minimum deep work block length?   - what are tips for overcoming resistance?   - what do you do during your downtime? * A pastor seeking depth when on call. * The origin of my discipline. * A novelist struggling to work. * Managing reading. * On schools and the deep life.As always, thank you to listener Bit Holiday for the original theme music and transition sound effect (bitholiday.net).
In this episode of Deep Questions I answer reader questions on tackling procrastination, building a productivity system from scratch, and the intellectual shallowness of social media. I also play some question roulette, and in a new segment, provide an update on what I'm up to in my own deep life at moment. To submit your own questions, sign up for my mailing list at calnewport.comFull list of topics tackled in today’s episode: * Deep work without alienating customers. * Reducing attention residue. * The distinction between deep and shallow work. * Combating procrastination. * Unpacking my work philosophy. * The future of VR. * Building a productivity system from scratch. * Storing notes for future books and articles. * The promises and peril of YouTube. * The Study Hacks story. * On smartphones and addiction. * How to learn about the world. (Hint: not on Twitter.) * Meditation skepticism. * Getting started with a Deep Life. * People not interested in depth. (Sermon alert.)Thank you to listener Bit Holiday for the original theme music and transition sound effect (bitholiday.net).
In this episode of Deep Questions I answer reader questions on book publicity without social media, Facebook's fatal flaw, and escaping soul-crushing jobs. I also try out a new segment where I answer on the fly randomly selected questions I have not previously seen (to interesting effect). To submit your own questions, sign up for my mailing list at calnewport.comFull list of topics tackled in today’s episode: * Do I plan to ever have guests on the podcast to help me answer questions? (Yes.) * Deep work in a reactive organization (rant alert). * Tackling an overwhelming number of obligations. * Dealing with unproductive days. * Building good depth rituals. * Deliberate practice and social skills. * When is a PhD program worth it? * Productive people who also use social media. * The good and bad sides of technology. * Side-stepping the YouTube rabbit hole. * Publicizing books when you don't use social media. * Reducing text volume when dating. * Encouraging teens to spend last time on their phones (difficult, but possible!). * Facebook's fatal flaw. * Dealing with a job that "eats" your soul. * Advice for teenagers about to start college. * Fear of failure while pursuing a PhD. * Quarantine ruts impacting productivity (sermon alert). * PLUS: two randomly selected questions (mega sermon alert)Thank you to listener Bit Holiday for the original theme music and transition sound effect (bitholiday.net).
In this episode of Deep Questions I answer reader queries on the origin of my productivity obsession, how digital minimalists can form relationships in a distracted world, and how to care less about what people thing about you (hint: stop using social media).To submit your own questions, sign up for my mailing list at calnewport.comFull list of topics tackled in today’s episode: * Ideal length of deep work sessions. * Origin of my productivity obsession. * Making progress on projects in lockdown. * Dealing with jobs that don’t respect deep work. * My notebook habits. * Finding relationships as a digital minimalist. * How to study on a phone. * Building a blog audience. * Caring less about what people thing about you. * The origins of drive. * Cutting back on self-help. * Advice for my 20-year-old self. * Better organizing information. * Solidifying lockdown lessons.Thank you to listener Bit Holiday for the original theme music and transition sound effect (bitholiday.net).
In this episode of Deep Questions I answer reader queries on how to improve your ability to concentrate, books that proved influential on my thinking (including the origin of the term “deep work”), the complex process of figuring out what to devote your limited attention toward, and so much more.For more about me about my writing: www.calnewport.comThis episode features the Swoosh 1 sound effect, used under a Sampling Plus 1.0 license (see here for details: http://soundbible.com/682-Swoosh-1.html).
In this episode of Deep Questions I answer reader queries on how I manage my tasks, the conflict between deep work and kids, moving beyond fairy tale messages when seeking purpose in difficult times, and so much more.For more about me about my writing: www.calnewport.comThis episode features the Swoosh 1 sound effect, used under a Sampling Plus 1.0 license (see here for details: http://soundbible.com/682-Swoosh-1.html).
Comments (3)

Musaed A

thank you

Aug 6th
Reply

Sara Es

fantastic suggestions for deep life 😍😍

Jul 27th
Reply

Dan Mantena

great content Cal!

Jul 4th
Reply
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