It’s 7:00 am and your day is off to a good start. Your to-do list annotated and day scheduled. Then your phone rings. By 10:00 am the to-do list is scrapped, the fires of the urgent are raging, and a day of meetings and investigations erases the important work you’d planned.
That’s why this book should be on every EHS pro’s shelf. Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World, by Cal Newport, takes the reader through the dangers of a life and career filled with distraction and offers a construct (and hope) for a more focused and purpose-filled plan.
Here are my 5 favorite lines:
“Clarity about what matters provides clarity about what does not.”
“Who you are, what you think, feel, and do, what you love—is the sum of what you focus on.”
“We tend to place a lot of emphasis on our circumstances, assuming that what happens to us (or fails to happen) determines how we feel. From this perspective, the small-scale details of how you spend your day aren’t that important, because what matters are the large-scale outcomes, such as whether or not you get a promotion or move to that nicer apartment. According to Gallagher, decades of research contradict this understanding. Our brains instead construct our worldview based on what we pay attention to.”
“If you service low-impact activities, therefore, you’re taking away time you could be spending on higher-impact activities. It’s a zero-sum game.”
“Your goal is not to stick to a given schedule at all costs; it’s instead to maintain, at all times, a thoughtful say in what you’re doing with your time going forward.”
Too busy to read a book? All the more reason this book must be read. Your work (and those around you) will thank you.