How Deep Work Has Changed the Way I Learn

I am someone like I’m sure many of you reading this are: someone that has trouble focusing. This is especially apparent when I am doing work where I cannot focus for long periods of time and get easily distracted. Deep work is the book I read and Cal Newport talks about the difference between deep and shallow work. Deep work is being able to work for a long time without distraction, while shallow work is doing things while distracted which in turn does not help you learn much and is something anyone can do. He describes that in today’s age shallow work is becoming more and more common in a time where more deep work is more and more necessary. That is why for my goal I decided that: I want to be able to do hard tasks without getting distracted easily in order to be more focused than the average person in today’s technology age. And to do this I took Cal’s words seriously when he said “To produce at your peak level you need to work for extended periods with full concentration on a single task free from distraction”
In order to keep my goal in tact I decided to come up with strategies so that I could commit to deep work and this is something I would also recommend to anyone reading this as it has truly helped me become more focused. My first strategy is to keep a calendar going on google calendar of my daily list of activities/work I must complete. Not only will this keep you more organized but it also helps divide up your day and allow you to have specific periods where you need to be focused and doing activities. Cal also explains in his book how “When you switch from some task A to another Task B, your attention doesn’t immediately follow”. A schedule can help with this because sometimes without a schedule I won’t know what task to do and will jump around. Not jumping around helps me focus and my schedule was set up in a way that allowed me to take breaks between tasks so my mind wasn’t stuck thinking about something else after I already moved on from that work.
One of my biggest problems is trying to figure out how to not let my phone district me. Everyone is attached to their phone including me and you and that’s just the way the 21st century is. However, I learned about ways to not be as distracted to a phone while doing work. First off TURN IT OFF as it will help you fight the urge for checking notifications or going on random google searches. I also went into settings and looked at my screen time on days I was doing work. By doing this it made me want to not look at my phone while doing work so I could feel more accomplished and I definitely saw a result. I’m so addicted to my phone that I even had a second way of making sure I wasn’t using it when I had a lot of work. I actually set limits on certain social media apps (TikTok and Instagram) to the point to when I was doing work I couldn’t even check it because my time limit would be reached. No more TikTok for me! Being in a room where you are free of distractions and friends is also very important to committing to deep work so I started going to quiet areas to study and I highly suggest this.
Some of the biggest takeaways I have from this book is it is not just about saying you need to be more focused, you need to actually have a plan in place as to how you are going to commit to deep work. Technology today is everywhere and it is so easy to get lost inside all of the things we have at our finger tips. People today cannot concentrate on tasks for as long as they used to as attention spans are getting smaller. I want to be someone who can stand out above the pact as you readers should want too. If you are committed to deep work you will always have a leg up against anyone who is not (which is a lot of people). Standing out was something that drove me to keep working at achieving deep work through this semester and I hope I continue this through my life as my schedule and making sure I wasn’t using my phone really kept me in check. Another thing I learned is how important it is to get feedback. Without feedback you could be stuck in the same loop doing the same wrong things over and over again and that is the definition of insanity. Please for me just ask others every opportunity you have for feedback because other people are not blinded to your own decisions like you are.

Keys to Motivation

Motivation is the most important thing when it comes to online learning. Especially when most people taking online classes have their TV and xbox in the same room. I’m sure most of you can relate to having assignments and wanting to watch that TV show and choosing the TV over the assignments saying I’ll do it later. Well I’m here to tell you I can give you some ideas on how to stay motivated and choose to finish the assignments first so you can watch your TV show peacefully.
In the modules I saw a slide about finding a soundtrack to get motivated. I have already been doing this and for me I like classical music as it gets me in a focus mode that allows me to want to do my work and not have distractions. Something that I have not done that I saw in the modules and would like to do in the future is using cold turkey. I used it once or twice this week for the first time and it is great for blocking websites that distract me. I highly recommend this app to anyone that struggles with motivation and distraction.

If your interested in using it too check it out:

Searching and Researching

Ah so its time to write your research paper. Let all the sighs and ughs at because no matter how much you complain about the the words are not going to write themselves. Procrastinating is common and writers block even more so but at the end of the day will end up getting it done. Almost anyone will tell you the most important part of a research paper is the research question of course. And how could you forget that as it is the most annoying part. I always will remember writing about 10 research questions but at the end of the day my teacher will say that’s to general and thinking of that gives me nightmares.

Non the less after reading this module I found the site Pressbooks in the modules and it talks about developing a research question. Something that I have always done that it recommends is first picking a topic and then narrowing it down to something more specific so that your question is not to general but it somehow always seems to be to general even after doing that for me. I think its usually to general is because I think of a question and stop there. After reading this article I learned after thinking of the question you need to focus the question even more. I need to look at the question and think is this to vague and if it is focus it even more! After reading this I’m hoping to be more successful in coming up with research questions.




Study Strategies

I have also looked for the best way to study as I’m sure most of you have. Thinking about where to start can be daunting and a terrible thought. Some study strategies I have implemented help me a lot throughout the process of studying. The first thing that I can tell anyone about studying is sleep sleep sleep! I have been the guy to pull an all nighter studying and I can promise you it does not work as I walk into the test feeling like I know nothing. On the other hand when I study for awhile and get a lot of sleep when I wake up I always feel like I know more then before I went to bed. Also something that I do that I saw in the modules is constantly testing yourself as doing this helps me retain the information. In the modules I saw a link to the infographics show and after watching I learned how working out in between study sessions can actually boost your retention when it comes to studying so I guess you’ll now be seeing me at the gym at 1pm everyday on test weeks. Another thing that I saw in the modules that I use is quizlet and this always helps me test myself.  Lastly please do not cram for exams it does not work and has even been proven that it doesn’t help with retention!

Efficiency in the Digital Age

As like me I’m sure almost everyone has struggled with this. The THIS I’m referring to is time management. A lack of time management has brought me more stress and less sleep as it is a daily battle in my mind. Getting started on my assignments is the hardest part but when I finally get to a desk my phone that is sitting right next to me starts buzzing and draws my attention away from the assignment. During this module I have learned about ways to combat this for example putting your phone in the other room for a certain amount of time to do work. One thing that stood out to me is the section using technology to combat technology. I personally have never thought of this or knew it is possible but basically there is a way to restrict yourself from visiting certain sites when studying. This is huge for me as using this I can finally say goodbye to checking ESPN every 10 minutes to check the score of the game. This is something I recommended for a lot of you students as well as I know I’m not the only one struggling with this.

Module 2: Communicating and Collaborating

This week I learned a lot of about collaborating with others and working on projects. In a video from the BBC on slide 14 I learned how important it is to stay organized when doing group projects.  I have in the past often opted to use google docs and I would recommend this as most people have a gmail account and know how to use it. Docs automatically saves everything you write and it is easy to share your work with others.  One thing I would like to use that I learned in this video is dropbox with classmates.  I sometimes have a hard time sharing content that takes up a lot of space with others so I think this could solve my problem.  For someone that is entering college already in college I recommend having a shared document with peers when doing group work cause if everyone has it on their own individually then it is tough for others to get the information needed to do their part without being with the person that has the needed information.  I like to work at my own pace and on my own time without restrictions which is why google docs is something I have always been a fan of and will continue to use in future.


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