I think for a lot of people, books like Deep Work and Digital Minimalism seem like they are restating the obvious:

  • You need large swaths of time to do thoughtful work.
  • Phones, email, et al. are a distraction.

Solution: set aside time to do deep work and keep devices away.

Probably nothing revelatory there for many people.

For me, aside from being intuitive, it takes a while and lots of repetitions to begin to ‘internalize’ these things, become aware of when I am and am not doing them, and make corrections to my own behavior. E.g. when I am waiting for an analysis to run, and I check Twitter, or email, etc., I lose focus. I’ve known this in theory for a long time, but I recently seem to have internalized it. I can self-monitor and avert loss of focus, and potentially the loss of hours or the rest of the day.

In addition to the two books mentioned above, I would recommend a few other books:

  • ADHD Pro: Sustainable Productivity for People with ADHD by Robert Merki
    • has the most practical advice I’ve seen in a book on ADHD, with none of the condescending BS like ‘just focus’, ‘be intentional’, etc.
    • Just checked readwise, and I have 75 highlights in the book, putting it in the top 5.
  • Stolen Focus by Johann Hari
    • Currently working my way through this.
    • He writes about the broader implications of a society who has lost the ability to focus and think about issues.
    • He has traveled to the corners of the Earth to discuss focus with many experts, so part of the book details those discussions and his own experiences with focus, or the lack thereof.
  • Workflow Mastery by Kourosh Dini
    • This is a very detailed analysis of work and workflows.
    • I haven’t finished it, but intend to revisit it at times during my growth.

Here are some Readwise highlights (account required):