handy sources

Riding a rollercoaster or going bungee jumping to get rid of kidney stones.

In the zoo chimpanzees can imitate humans better and more often than vice versa.

Saliva works well as a cleaning solution.

Living as a cannibal, you would not consume enough calories.

The more road rage you have and the more you curse, the greater the chance of accident.

Using a voo doo doll to find revenge on your boss actually works.

Non-sense? Nope. These research ventures won lg Nobel Prizes this year.

And, perhaps they were thought of during a time or deep work, Professor Cal Newport wrote a book about this.




So what exactly is deep working?

Deep working is super concentrated working, a direct opposite of superficial working. Work you don’t need to give too much attention to. Superficial work involves all the tasks you can also complete while distracted. For example, answering emails, attending unimportant meetings. In deep work, you really focus and hone in, making sure you are not distracted so you can optimally concentrate on what you are working on.

As a PhD student, the most important part of your study is the deep work. It is in this work that you come up with new ideas, concepts, make connections, find a theoretical framework, and make choices on how to proceed with your research design. Deep work is immensely valuable and difficult to replicate.

Then why is it so rare?

Well, there are countless things in the world there to distract us. Smartphones, internet, the feeling of always being connected and reachable, sharing a room with others, being busy with everything are just some examples.

However, deep working is what you need to successfully complete your thesis on time. You need undisturbed thinking time. It is exactly what Robbert Dijkgraaf so appreciates about Princeton.

How do you create an atmosphere for deep work?

  • Split your time in your day and week with deep and superficial work.
  • Determine how much you want to use your smartphone and the internet to chunks of time and hold yourself accountable to them.
  • Make sure you have moments with less distractions, and focus only on what you really want to accomplish.
  • Factor in breaks in your superficial work, and make deep work your standard mode of operation.
  • Be lazy in the times outside of your deep work, because that is the best way to recharge for the next round of deep work.

How are you going to create deep work for yourself?


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