I’m going to run several experiments over the ideas in this book. All of these are extremely well aligned with my worldview and goals. This is the meta-learning that matters.

The value of the information here is that it’s low level. It’s about how to actually do deliberate practice, how to build skill in the places that matter.

Habits to Cultivate, Experiments to Run

  1. Maximize intensity of concentration, with time limits

  2. Measuring lead metrics (inputs) instead of (or in addition to) outputs. In this case, hours spent in deep work.

  3. Selecting a location for dedicated deep work

  4. Scheduling a beginning and end time for deep work

  5. Structuring work by consistently evaluating progress to ensure there’s no stall

  6. Focus exclusively on the wildly important things

  7. Keep a compelling scoreboard.

  8. Review results weekly, evaluating your performance on your lead metrics. First derivative high. Set up the next period for accomplishing goals each week.

  9. Schedule shallow time

  10. Meditation on work while commuting, doing menial tasks

  11. Grand gestures (environmental change, great investment of money or time in task)

  12. Measure depth of work, work on comparative advantages (recent grad heuristic)

  13. Schedule every moment of your time

  14. Dedicate particular amounts of time to particular tasks


  1. Deliberate Practice approach to critical skills.

  2. Learning is about bringing concentration to bear on your work

  3. Prevalent assembly line model of work (easy measurables dominate incentives)

  4. In the absence of clarity/conviction, the default will be for people to do the easiest thing.

  5. Attention paid to tiny details as part of a focus philosophy, creating quality

  6. Flow states as emotionally meaningful

  7. Our emotions come out of our attention more than our surroundings or situation. Our worldview is constructed from our attention as well.

  8. Instead of scheduling focus time, schedule shallow time

  9. The mind does not desire rest (other than in sleep), it desires change of focus.

  10. Shallow work is consistently overestimated in importance.


  1. Snoze your break?

  2. Enforce break with concrete endtime

  3. Get into flow and don’t take a break

  4. Meditation? Meditate on what I’m going to do?

These experiments will be put into a set of behaviors initiated tomorrow. A decent bit of planning/scheduling will need to be done, and priorities set.

My deep work plan:

  1. Schedule my time, and my blocks of deep work

  2. Measure my number of hours involved in deep work daily.

  3. Consistently evaluate work progress