Cal Newport on why you need to change your workflow, not your habits, when it comes to boosting productivity

My guest today is Cal Newport. Cal is a computer science professor at Georgetown University. Cal is the author of six books, including, most recently, the New York Times bestseller, Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World. Cal’s work has been published in over 20 languages and has been featured in the New York Times,  Wall Street Journal,  New Yorker,  Washington Post, and the Economist.

It’s probably an understatement to say I was excited for this chat because I am a complete and utter fan girl of Cal’s and it’s fair to say that his work has had an enormous impact on how I work. We cover a bunch of different aspects of the way Cal approaches his work including:
  • Cal’s different Deep Work rituals and why he recommends having different rituals for different types of Deep Work
  • How to know if you are actually doing Deep Work
  • Strategies to break your Shallow Work habit
  • The critical conversation to have with your manager to get them supporting you doing more Deep Work
  • Cal’s ritual for “shutting down” his work day
  • Why Cal rejects the idea that we need to have a phone on us at all times
  • How Cal deliberately builds solitude into his day
  • Why changing workflows is more effective than changing habits when trying to increase productivity
  • The workflow Cal designed while on his book tour to minimise back and forth communication
  • Why giving your time a job is better than using a to-do list
  • How Cal uses weekly and daily time blocking to use his time effectively
  • How to take a “Deep Break”
  • The two key elements of Cal’s email system to minimise communication
  • The topic Cal is exploring for his next book

You can find Cal at and grab his books Deep Work and Digital Minimalism.

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