Hacker News new | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login

I read this as a single article distillation of the principles in Deep Work by Cal Newport, very well done. It's been a while since I read Pragmatic Thinking and Learning by Andy Hunt, but the article feels familiar with that, as well (I recall a helpful section on meditation). The Accidental Creative by Todd Henry is another great resource.

Newport's sources showed that most people are capable of about four hours of deep work per day. If you hit that level, add in 2-3 hours of shallower tasks, and do it every day, you reach 200 "productive hours" in a month. I'm not sure how many people are willing or able to carve out two 3-hour blocks more than five days a week, but it seems highly worthwhile to step back once a month or quarter, with one's s.o. or family, if present, and think about what is possible and what makes sense in support of mutual goals. From there, in light of the goals and constraints, the article's breakdown for cultivating the environment, body, and mind are clarifying. Ok, I'm sitting down with my wife and doing this this weekend.

The gist of the article is what I try to practice, and I find the strategy refresher motivating. I have had good success with removing push notifications, removing the phone from the workspace, sleeping at the same time, regular breaks to stay limber, targeted muscle work (rowing during winter until it gets too boring, the Roam Strong workout plan currently), and reducing junk calories intake. I've had less success building deep work persistence by making streaks and subdividing tasks. I think it's time to force the break to a separate device for leisure.

How much is it worth spending on a CO2 monitor? As a remote worker, I'm in the same air space almost all day every day, so if there is a low grade problem, I'm cooked.

You can get one for $60-$100 on amazon. I'd say it's worth it. What gets measured gets managed. If you can deduct such expenses, even better. And the effects on cognitive function of high co2 are stark, according to the linked article.

These two had good reviews on amazon. Same company, one keeps a log, one just displays current. I ordered the one with a log.



Great post. What I am struggling with is the following: These processes of deep work seem to be much easier to implement if you are doing remote work, coding, reasearch and more solitary work.

Anyone successfully implement this in a business with staff? What are your strategies?

Interesting question. I work three hours ahead of most people in my company, so I take the offline time I can get in the morning and make myself available the rest of the day. Something like that may work for a morning person in an office, but without a time zone limitation blessing an early exit every day, that may not be culturally feasible without just working more.

In the book Newport runs down more strategies than regular daily blocks, everything from offsite retreats to people who can go deep on command whenever they get a small window. He described one professor who would use different modes based on his academic calendar, I think roughly by week or month granularity. During teaching times he was 100% available to students and staff, but during writing times his door was shut and everyone knew not to go in. The book is definitely worth a read if you're interested in more strategies.

Applications are open for YC Summer 2019

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact