Full Length Episode | #169 | January 31, 2022

Transcription for the video titled "Full Length Episode | #169 | January 31, 2022".

1970-01-01T01:05:59.000Z

Note: This transcription is split and grouped by topics and subtopics. You can navigate through the Table of Contents on the left. It's interactive. All paragraphs are timed to the original video. Click on the time (e.g., 01:53) to jump to the specific portion of the video.


Introduction

Cal's Intro (00:00)

I'm Cal Newport and this is Deep Questions, episode 169. I'm here as always in the Deep Work HQ. Happy to announce that Jesse is back. Jesse, you look healthy and hail over there. I'm doing okay, it's good to be back. I forgot in just the two sessions you weren't here, how much time it takes me, how slow I am. And all the clicking and dragging that is involved, manipulating the computer to actually record these episodes. I got spoiled with you being here. When I had to go back and do it by myself, I was like putting a two-year-old on a computer. I was like, let me click on that and let me drag it, it took me forever, man. So I'm glad you're back, let's put it that way. - Yeah, it's good to be back, thanks for having me back. - You look good, you're healthy, everything fine? - Yeah, I'm doing totally fine. I was, you know, following the protocols and now I'm back. - Yeah, and I think if my reading of the medical literature is correct, because you've had vaccine shots and you got COVID, you are now, and I believe this is the technical term, immortal. Do I have that right? I don't know if I have the science quite right, but that's what I understand from Med Twitter, that you are now immortal. - Sounds good, I'll take it. That'd be an interesting turn for our show, if we just had a large segment each week that was just us giving terrible COVID advice. It was just, it was just so wrong. I'm like, Jesse, I'm not sure if you know this, but users of the time block planner, 70% less likely to be mechanically ventilated. So let me just put that out there. - Do we just get kicked off YouTube? - Hopefully not, we just had a channel. Yeah, I know. Yeah, maybe this would not be the best idea. YouTube, that was satire. The time block planning has no association with COVID outcomes. Yeah, maybe we should stick with this type of advice, but there is a connection because while Jesse was in COVID isolation, that actually gave enough time for us to get the YouTube channel launched. That is rolling right now. We're excited about it. Jesse, what's the update? What do we need to know about the YouTube channel? Everything's rolling fine. - Everything's rolling, we're on the first stage. So all the videos are up. We gotta fix some of the intro music, which I'm in the process of doing, 'cause people said it was too loud, which going back on it, they were right. And then we'll continue to fix the thumbnails and stuff. We had some good fan feedback about some stuff and that's a good advice. We're gonna implement that and then keep on putting out a lot of videos. - And what's the timeline people should expect? So if you're listening to this episode, let's say the day it comes out on a Monday, what's our rough timeline for when you can expect the video of each of the questions in today's episode to then be on YouTube? - Pretty much within that day, maybe in the next day, but going in a month, definitely that day. - Oh, okay, actually, yeah, that's my goal. - Yeah, that's even better than I thought. So, all right, so as you know, audience, every question, every deep dive is going onto the YouTube channel with its own standalone video. So you can now go back and review, save, share, whatever you wanna do with the individual questions that particularly interest you. And as Jesse just said, within a day or two of these episodes going live, you should be able to find those questions. Right now we have some basic playlist on there. I think we're doing full episodes, deep dives, deep work questions, deep life questions. As we put more and more videos up there, we'll put more refined playlists, sort of subtopics that are popular. So feel free to send suggestions about, hey, what playlist would you like to see, et cetera? Jesse, can they send this right to you? Is your Jesse address as you go on the other-- - Yeah, it works. - It works. - I always email with, I forget the one guy's name, but I was email with the one guy and he gave some really good advice. - Yeah, there we go. So thoughts on the YouTube channel, be it, like what playlist we should break these videos in or technical things about whatever. Jesse@calnewport.com, Jesse is the mister of the YouTube, so he will take a look at that. All right, so I wanna do a deep dive today. It's a new special class of deep dive that I just wanna briefly motivate. So I wanna do a series of deep dives, maybe not every episode, but on a lot of episodes in the near future that I'm calling core ideas.


Deep Work And Time Management Concepts

Core Idea Time Management (04:41)

And the idea is to go back and revisit the big ideas from my writing that we talk about all the time on this show. Listeners who have been here since the beginning know these ideas pretty well, I've talked about them before, but for newer listeners, for newer viewers, they don't always know exactly what we're talking about or what the details are. And now that we have the ability to post video of just these segments, I thought we should have a deep dive on each of the core ideas I talk about so I can just reference it. Hey, if you need to remind yourself about the deep life or my time management philosophy or career capital or what have you, just go watch the core idea video and you can quickly get back up to speed. So we're gonna start that today. Today I wanna do my first core idea deep dive. I should say my first core idea deep dive and the topic I wanna do it on is time management. So my goal here is to give a brief summary of my thinking about time management and what that's gonna consist of is let me define for you what I mean by time management. Let me give you the three principles in my writing and on this podcast we always talk about that any good time management system should probably satisfy. And then I will briefly talk through my particular system, which we can think of as one example of a time management system that satisfies these principles. So you can do something else, but so you see what a real fully fledged time management system that satisfies these principles look like. And then I'm gonna have a bonus fourth principle I wanna talk about that debatably is not really about time management. It lives right outside time management, but it's related. I'm gonna talk about that briefly at the end. So that is my agenda for this core idea discussion on time management. So let's start. What do I mean by time management? For me, at least in the context of this discussion I'm thinking about work. So time management in work, the way you deal with your time outside of work is a little bit different. So I'm gonna put that aside. And in the context of work, I'm gonna define time management to be whatever philosophy, process systems or rules that you deploy to make decisions about what you're gonna do right now with your time. How do you figure out it's 1226 on a Friday, what do I do next? In the end, that's what a time management system is, a way to help you answer that question in as useful a manner as possible. Now everyone who works has some sort of time management system they're using. If you don't know what it's called, if you can't tell me the details of it, if you've never thought about that, it's just a really bad one probably. But you still have one. One way or the other, you're making these decisions. The question is just how do we wanna make these decisions? What is going to work better? So I'm gonna give you the three properties I think any good time management system should have. I love alliteration. Long time listeners of the podcast know this. I love C's in my alliteration as long time listeners of this podcast know. So I named the three key properties here with three C's, capture, configure, control. Let's talk about these each briefly in the abstract and I'll tell you about my system to satisfy C's. Number one, capture. I believe a good professional time management system needs to have some place in which you store all the information that's important to making decisions about what you need to be doing and what you should be doing. That is trusted. It's a place that you are going to look at things that go in there will not be forgotten. These ideas get out of your head and into a system so you're not wasting brain cycles on trying to remember or keep fresh stuff that you need to do. Now in the context of tasks, we can give credit to this idea to David Allen. So David Allen and his seminal post computer time management book, and I mean that very specifically because as I've written about before, time management goes through big evolution. So post computer's computer networks and email time management went through a big revolution and David Allen was there at the beginning. He had this idea of full capture where he said all of your tasks should be in a trusted system that you review regularly, not in your head. He actually adapted that idea from a previous business thinker named Dean Atchison, unrelated to President Truman, Secretary of State, same name, different person who had first developed, I believe in the 1970s, this notion of full capture and David Allen expanded it. So that's really the core of this. And David Allen's articulation of full capture said, don't waste mental energy remembering things. Have it in a system so your brain can be clear to actually focus on working. This also reduces a lot of stress because your brain gets stressed when it's worried about forgetting things you need to do. I generalize capture though beyond what Allen talks about. In addition to each of your commitments, being somewhere you trust, I want your plans to also be somewhere you trust. So any thinking you've done about what you're working on on all sorts of different timescales, that should be written down somewhere you trust and review regularly as well. I think you often overlooked, but the planning process of what's going on, how do I want to get my work done? What needs to be done this semester? What do I have to get done this week to hit this goal? That's a really important part of time management. I don't want that all on your head. That also gets captured. All right, second property, configure. All right, this is a twist that I've become increasingly a loud advocate for, which is care more about how you actually organize this information that you're capturing. I think you really need to think through once I have this information written down somewhere. Where do I put it? How do I organize it? Is it in categories? Is it broken up by role? Equally important, getting the relevant information consolidated. I'm really big on this. So not only do you have a really smart organization for all the stuff on your plate, you're also gathering in one place to all the relevant information. You're not searching through your email inbox to try to remember what does this mean and where are we and what do I owe this person? I'm supposed to get back to Derek about the program codes. What does that mean? Let me go through my inbox. Now, all that should be in one place. So these are our two goals with Organize. A, that the information is organized well. Where what you want to happen here, what you want to have happen here is that you can very quickly get the jostalt of what's on your plate, what's due, what's not, who you're waiting to hear back from, the information is put aside in such a way that it's not just a list with 100 things. And two, all the relevant information is there. I'm not scrambling around to figure out what I need to know to do this thing. All the information is there. All right, control. The third property of a good time management system. Control says instead of being reactive in your decisions about what you want to do with your time by reactive, I mean just saying, okay, it's 1223 on Friday. What do I want to do next? I don't know. Let me see what seems relevant. Let me look at my inbox. Let me look at Slack. Maybe I'll look at a to do list and try to choose something off of it. Control says don't be reactive. Don't wait till you get to the moment to say what should I do next. Instead, be proactive. Make a plan for your time in advance that makes the most of the time that you actually have available. So you think ahead, you look at the time you have available and you say, what do I want to do with this? I'm planning the whole picture at once. I'm not waiting till the moment to say what happens next. Now on the podcast, I talk often about doing this control at multiple timescales. You'll hear me talk about multi-scale planning. This is where that actually applies. And what I recommend is that you should be doing this type of planning on three timescales, quarterly, weekly, daily. So quarterly, you have a plan for what you want to try to get done that quarter. What's important? What are the big projects you're working on? There could even be daily work that you want to really emphasize. Like, look, I got to get my cold calls up. So every Monday, Wednesday, Friday, it's been the first hour doing cold calls, whatever it is, but you're making this plan for the quarter. Looking ahead at the quarter, is this a busy quarter, not a big quarter. What are the big deadlines this quarter? Is there a huge trade fair halfway through it? That means the first half of the quarter has to be really focused on preparing for that trade fair. You're looking at the whole picture of the quarter and at this pretty big granularity coming up with a plan. Every week, you then look at that quarterly plan and produce a plan for the week ahead of you. Now you're doing weekly planning. And when you're doing weekly planning, what you really want to do is get a sense of what's going to happen which day. And then finally, you get down to the daily scale where you say, what am I actually doing during the hours of the day? So we're in weekly planning, you were looking at, what am I going to do the different days of this week at daily planning, you're saying, here's my day. I have a meeting here, I have a call here, I have two meetings here. Here's the time that's free. What do I want to do during that time? So multi-scale planning, I think, is the right way to think about control. You're giving your time, a job, as opposed to asking in the moment, what should I do next? So I think any good time management system should do capture configure control. Let me talk briefly about my specific instantiation of these properties, what my time management system looks like at the moment. So for capture, there is where I actually store the things I need to do. And I use Trello, which is a task board software system. So it gives you a visual metaphor for cards on a board arranged vertically in columns. I use Trello to keep track of tasks and commitments and I use Google Docs to keep track of plans. The plans I have about various things. So Trello's were all my task are, Google Docs are where my plans live. So that's where in multi-scale planning, my quarterly plan lives, it's where other plans live. Jesse and I, for example, have a Google Doc where we have our plans for the podcast, et cetera. Trello for tasks, Google Docs for plans. In addition to the storage systems, you have to have the capture tool. So the tools you use to capture things during the day on the fly that will then get later moved into those storage systems. Now for me, I use two main ones. I have my time block planner. I am in a lucky situation where I was able to design and publish my own planner. So you can obviously find out more about that at timeblockplanner.com, but that planner has for every day a page in which you can capture stuff. So I capture stuff right in that planner. On my computer, I also have a text file on my desktop. I call it workingmemory.txt because I think of it as like an expansion of my actual working memory. And I use that when I'm on my computer to capture things, especially when I'm cleaning out my email. I can just type much faster than I can write and I capture all sorts of notes in this document. I work through ideas on the document. It really is like an extension of my working memory. So a lock gets captured in there. If I'm in a meeting on Zoom, things are popping up, I have to do, I'm writing it probably right there in that workingmemory.txt. At the end of every day, I do a shutdown. My planner even has a box I checked. It says shutdown complete that indicates I've done my shutdown. As part of that shutdown process, I look through everything in that planner, everything in workingmemory.txt, and I get it into one of those more stable systems. It goes on the Trello, where I update my Google Doc. So those things get pushed back down to zero. They're temporary tools to capture it and then they get moved into the more stable systems. The one addendum I should add there is the calendar. Obviously, some of these things are appointment, so that goes right to the calendar. All right, configure. I mentioned I use Trello for my task. The way I actually use Trello is I have a separate board for each of my different professional roles. I keep a separate board as a writer, a separate board, for example, as a teacher, which I keep as a separate board as a researcher, et cetera. Those are then split up into columns. There's a few standard columns that every one of these boards have. I typically have a column where I put tasks on there that's called 2B Processed. It's a pretty complicated thing I need to do and I don't quite understand all the details of it, but I don't want to keep track of it in my head. But also, it's five o'clock and I'm shutting down. I don't have time to spend 20 minutes figuring out what does this mean? Like, what are the actual actions here? So I'll just throw that in the 2B Processed column. I usually have a column on each of these boards for waiting to hear back from. So if I've sent someone a note and I need information from them and that information is critical for me to keep making progress, I like to put a card on my Trello board under waiting to hear back. It says, "Here's what I'm waiting to hear back from "and here's what I'm gonna do once I get that information." I don't want to remember that in my head. So I put it on there. I typically have a column for things I'm working on this week and I'll typically have a column for, if they're specifically persistent initiatives within that role, I'll give it its own column. So I can really quickly see for this thing I'm working on. What are all the different things that need to be done? So as a researcher, there might be a column for a paper we're preparing for publication. In my administrative role at Georgetown, there might be a column for a search committee that I'm on. Here's the relevant tasks. The time that I really get into and clean this up and look at it and move things around and check in on it is when I do my weekly plan. So once a week as part of my commitment to configure, I really go through these systems and I update it. Once a week when I'm building my weekly plan, there's also when I'm reviewing the Google Docs that capture these other types of plans that are going on and update them and remind myself what's on them. So the weekly scale is when I'm really getting my hands dirty. Throughout the week, I'm just throwing stuff into here at the end of each day, but each week I really go in and clean things up. All right, finally is Control. I already talked about multi-scale planning. I think it's the best way to do Control. You could do it other ways, but I do, for me, it's semester instead of quarterly, but semester, weekly, daily planning, semester plans in a Google Doc, weekly plan. I actually type it up in a text document and print it out and I keep it with me in the back of my time block planner. So that's how, and I'll update it and reprint it as I need to throughout the week. And then for my daily plan, I'm time blocking, like I talked about, here's my day. Let me block off everything on my calendar. Here's the time that remains. What do I wanna do during that time? Let me look at my weekly plan to remind myself of what my big picture plan is for this day and then I'm blocking off actual hours of time and saying, here's what I'm doing here, here's what I'm doing there. And I fill in all that information. I do that right in my time block planner, but you can do this in any type of notebook. There's a whole video at my site, timeblockplanner.com that walks through the details of how time blocking works. So that is how I do the daily piece. You put those all together, there's my commitment to Control. All right, so stepping back, capture, configure, control. You do those three things. You're gonna be making smart decisions about what you wanna be doing with your time professionally. Now, I know people get concerned, they say, well, I might be injecting too much structure into my life and this is gonna make my work life more rigid and I'll be less creative. I call nonsense than all of that. Just because you're in control of everything doesn't mean you need to schedule every seven minutes of your time like a crazy person. I mean, when you're in control of your time, you can now start to make decisions like Thursday afternoon starting at 12, I wanna do no work. I'm gonna go to the woods and just think about this problem I'm working on. When you're doing capture, configure, control, you could do that with confidence because you know what's on your plate, you've cleared out that time, you know things aren't being forgotten, you made sure that you had time on Wednesday to catch up on things people need to hear about Thursday because you're in control, you can aim that control at more breaks, more free time, more creativity, less stress. You can significantly, like a lot of my listeners do, reduce the amount of time it takes for you to get your normal workload done and because you're in complete control of things, move it into certain days and keep whole days free to basically do phantom part time jobs. There's a lot you can do that makes your life more interesting and creative and less stressful. Once you have an intentional way of making these decisions about what do I want to do next with my time? All right, now I promised you a bonus property that arguably has to do with time management, arguably it's something different, so I'll just mention it briefly. And that is constrained. So circling this whole idea is how you figure out what gets on your plate to be managed in the first place and how you actually manage that work. Now I'm just gonna plant the seed here because this is a bigger conversation, but we need to be very careful about how we decide what we say yes to and what we say no to. We would really like to avoid the situation where we have so much work on our plate that yeah, we can control it and be organized about it, but we still don't have enough time to get it done. We wanna avoid that situation. So having clear rules in place about how do I decide what I let on my plate, that's really important. Processes is the second thing that I think is really important when it comes to constraining, figuring out how do I wanna do this work? The stuff I let on my plate, can I put a process in place that will reduce the footprint this has on my schedule? There's a lot of different things this can mean. And again, because we're just seed planting here, I'm just gonna very briefly skim the surface, but there may be automation you're doing here. You know what, we have to produce this same client report every week. I don't wanna just send emails back and forth and kind of figure it out at the last minute. Here is our process for doing it. And you figure out a whole process that's the same thing, the same things happen at the same times every week. You can rely on it. You've taken that burden off of your planning system to have to figure out from scratch. For small questions and back and forth, you might push that all towards office hours. Three days a week for one hour, well publicized. I'm in my office, Zoom is on. Come to that office hours if you have a small question for me. Come to that office hours if there's a little bit of information you need. Come to that office hours if there's something we can figure out in two minutes, a back and forth. And when people bother you with that email or slack, like, "Hey, what are we doing again about this?" Or, "Can explain to me again what this thing means?" Just say, "Yeah, come to my office hours." These type of processes are all about reducing what it is that you actually do have to manage with your capture, configure control system. You wanna simplify that, simplify what's on your plate, simplify how the things around your plate are executed. The easier you can make the planning version of yourself's job, the better you're gonna do at your actual job. All right, so let me summarize it there. That is my thinking on this core idea of time management. All right, so that's a lot. It's a lot of time management there, Jesse. Do you do capture configure control? Have I converted you yet to my full, like I was a fan when you first started your podcast. So I started implementing all that. I actually do have a question though. So in terms, what's the latest you ever put together your weekly plan? Monday morning. Yeah. And sometimes, actually, let me be honest, sometimes, so I often do it on Mondays. Sometimes I don't, like I'll have meetings right off the bat on Monday or something like this. And in those days, it'll actually get done later on Monday. But basically, I wanna have my weekly plan done before I get to any non-spoken for time in that week. So if I know I have a meeting from nine to 11, that's fine. But if at 12, I don't have something scheduled, I don't wanna make a decision about that without a weekly plan to reference. And so I'll do that. And it takes a long time, I should say, for me, because I have 17 jobs, it can take me one to two hours to do my weekly plan. And some people think that's crazy. They're like, that's two hours, you could be getting worked on. Like, I'm telling you, man, if I do a good weekly plan and I spend two hours doing that weekly plan, I gotta get 2X more done in the time that follows. So I will trade two hours for 2X factor increase on what I get done. So it's worth it, man. - Do you ever do it on Sundays? - I don't do it on Sundays. I gotta keep, so I'm pretty big on keeping weekends clear. I gotta recharge. - Yeah. - So we don't work on Shabbat, it won't work on Saturday. Sunday's all right. I'll write on Sundays, Sunday mornings. It's a long tradition I have, but I do not wanna do email on Sundays. If I can all avoid it, I don't wanna be, I don't wanna move my brain into the, okay, where it turned on for work mindset. So I can go and write without having to completely go into the context of I got this meeting and this person needs this and this is due. And so that's just part of my fixed schedule productivity notion, which we should do a core ideas video on, but fixed the time you wanna work, work backwards from that to say, what do I have to do to make that fit? And part of that's getting more productive and then after that doesn't work, it's just reducing what's on your plate. And so for me, I keep weekends clear. I mean, I have enough, you get enough work stress. - Yeah. - That also be working on weekends. All right, let's do some questions. Let's do some questions. We will start here as always with some questions about deep work. Your coffee up. All right, so our first question comes from Alessandro.


What does deliberate practice look like for computer programming? (28:00)

Alessandro asks, what does deliberate practice look like for computer programming? And he goes on to clarify that he finished a master's and applied math. He has a junior software developer job and he wants to get better fast. All right, so we talk about deliberate practice all the time. Quick primer, it's the best framework we have for understanding how people get better at complex skills, be them physical or intellectual. It requires stretch. So activity is designed to stretch you past your current comfort point. If you're not stretching, you're not going to improve. And then two, it requires feedback. Feedback so that you know that whatever you're doing here, the stretch activity you're doing, that you're doing it right. Right, that you're doing it right and you're doing it well because underneath the hood that is our skull, you're really trying to isolate the relevant neural circuit and fire it as cleanly as possible because what fires together, wires together. So you're going to get more myelination on those circuit connections if you isolate it. So what you want to be doing is really focusing on doing the thing you want to do better. So you feedback to make sure that you're doing it right. All right, so how do you get that in computer programming? Write real code, right? Be doing the thing you want to get better at. So you want to be writing real code. The feedback is really clear in computer programming. A, does it compile and B, if it compiles, does it do the thing it's supposed to do? So you're constantly getting that feedback. Rookie mistake we see in the computer science curriculum all the time, I don't really teach programming courses because I'm a theoretician, but I hear this from the professors that do teach the skill of programming to computer scientists is that rookie computer programmers often do too much before they test. In some sense, they say, "Okay, I'm going to just try to make this whole thing work and see if it works." More adept programmers, what they're going to do is test at the level of their uncertainty. So at the very smallest granularity at which, I'm not quite sure, I'm not 100% sure that what I did is actually going to do this, then you need to be testing. And testing could be as simple as you have print lines in there. But if you're doing, let's say, some assignment, like I'm going to use a link to list as part of a program to add polynomials. Don't just write the whole program, but does this work? I gave it a polynomial and another one did to add it properly. You should be with little print statements in there testing everything along the way, especially if you're new. Does my link list work? Let me just make sure and do a little test there. Okay, is it properly storing all the parts of the polynomial? Let me print everything there. Okay. Is this ad routine being called properly? So you want to be getting feedback from just a code compile first of all, and two, does it do what I want to do? But that means you have to have this very small granularity, especially if you're new. Just a little bit at a time, make sure it works, do the next thing. If you're compiling and praying, or like I wrote a bunch of code, it doesn't compile, I'm just going to randomly change a bunch of stuff and try again and see if it compiles, you're not learning. It's incremental. There's a compile that at work, all right? Let me add one more little thing to what I'm doing here. Some new print statements to test it. Does it compile? Does it work? That's how you get the feedback. And then finally, to get the stretch, whatever your programming should be hard. There's something you're trying to learn how to do. So you're actually stretching yourself to do that in the program that you're writing. If it's too hard, then you're out of luck. If you're new to programming, you say, "Okay, here's my challenge. "I want to write my own Minecraft-style voxel engine." That's too big of a stretch. But if you're kind of new to programming, and you say, "I'm going to write a look up in a textbook, "a sorting algorithm, "and I'm going to actually implement that sorting algorithm "to see if I can sort this array. "I'm not quite comfortable with looking up algorithms "and implementing them." That's like a very good healthy stretch. All right, so I'm getting a little nerd, I'm getting the nerd weeds here, but Alessandro hopes that helps write real code, compile and test as your feedback, make sure that code is hard. You're doing something you didn't know how to do before, but not too hard. There's actually, my kids like, some of my kids like Minecraft. Jesse, you probably don't know Minecraft because you're not a 12-year-old boy. But it has a very complicated graphics engine. It's a voxel engine, blah, blah, blah. There's these YouTube videos, my son was showing me, where people see how fast they can build it from scratch. So they put, it's like a screenshot of their computer and they cut through time a lot, but they basically build the game from scratch in a day. Yeah, which brings me to another point, I can't help but think, what's societal good could they be doing instead with that brain? You see somebody could do that, you're like, "Oh, man, couldn't you be working on vaccines "or like coding up a system to help people find new jobs?" That's often my thought when I see YouTube is like, that's a smart person with a lot of time on their hands and maybe they should be organizing a food drive at their church or something. And yet we're on YouTube. So rocks, glasshouses, things are shattering. All right, let's keep rolling here. We got a question from Pithicus. Pithicus says, "Is it rational to quit your job "if it implies a potential harm to society?"


Is it rational to quit your job if it implies a potential harm to society? (33:46)

That's some pretty hairy details here. This is actually a structural engineer, let me see here, or whatever. He's working, he's supervising a project on building apartment towers. And he thinks there's a problem, a design flaw in the towers that under very rare circumstances could be catastrophic. And he's being ignored within his company when he brings this up. All right, so let me give you a general and a specific response to this issue. In general, in my book So Good They Can't Ignore You, I talk about disqualifiers for a job. Things that if they are true is a perfectly valid reason to say, "I am gonna go to a new job." And the reason why I have those disqualifiers in the book is that a big idea in that book is that we're too quick to switch jobs in the quit. We care too much about, "Does this job match my passion? "Do I love the work every day?" And it's an unrealistic and naive view of how people actually craft real meaning in their work. And so the book in general, it discourages very quick job jumping, job switching. But I was like, "Look, there's some clear disqualifiers. "That means you gotta get out of there." And one of those disqualifiers is that the work actively goes against your values. Do not stay in a job if it is actually corroding your own values. If you think there is something that's happening that's illegal, for sure, get out of there. If you think there's something that's perfectly legal but is bad for society, you gotta get out of there, right? Because that will corrode at your soul if you're doing work that goes against what you think is important. Now let's get really specific here. Formally registering your complaint all the way up the ladder at the company you really need to do. This is important. If that's not working to formally register that complaint outside the company, you're probably ethically obligated to do that as well. Basically some whistleblowing behavior. Now, I mean, I get the hesitation because you're not quite sure that this is an issue. You're actually not like the head engineer, but you see this could be an issue and you think they're not paying enough attention to it. There's probably an ethical obligation here to make sure that the right people who do not have conflicts of interest have all the information you've given them. And if even after all of that, people like I think it's fine, then maybe this issue is not what you think it is, right? But you do, I think in your specific case, have an obligation to not just think about whether or not you wanna leave this company, but make sure that this issue is something that the right people have seen. So that's not the easiest thing, Pythagus, but do the hard thing here. All right, we got a question now moving on from Luke. Luke says, "When is Deep Work not the most important?" Personal metric.


When is deep work not the most important metric? (36:46)

All right, he elaborates in the book, "Decoding Greatness." Ron Friedman talks about the importance of tracking your important metrics. He even quotes you. "How do I know if hours of Deep Work is the highest leverage metric for me or something else?" Well, it's a good question. I think a useful bit of terminology when thinking about professional metrics comes from the book, the four disciplines of execution for DX, which I talk about briefly in my book, "Deep Work." And they make a useful distinction, which I've heard other people make as well, between what they call lead indicators and lag indicators, when it comes to measuring what matters for your work to be more successful. Lag indicators are the things in the end you actually care about. I mean, this is the thing in the end that you wanna actually improve, and it's very specific to the type of work you do. The example in 4DX is a supermarket bakery counter or something like this. And the lag indicator was sale numbers. In the end, we want sales numbers to go up. If you run a podcast, the lag indicator might be downloads. Now, how many people are listening to the show or how many in writing, how many people buy my book or in how much units do we sell of this product? It's the thing you actually care about in the end. Now, what they talk about, and maybe this is what Friedman's talking about too, is just tracking lag indicators is not enough to actually help you in the moment, do the things that matter because it lags. It's not like you can do something today and immediately see its impact on those indicators that matter. And so what they argue is you should have lead indicators, things you can track today. It can influence your behavior today that if you hit good numbers on those, it will down the line, help the lag indicators grow. So in the bakery scenario, you want the sales to go up, but the lead indicator might be something like, how many customers did we help or how many different display cases or did we clean? I mean, I don't know about bakery, but stuff you can actually do. Deep work is a lead indicator. For a lot of jobs, keeping track of how much deep work am I doing is a useful lead indicator because if deep work is necessary for moving the needle in your job, you need to do it to actually move the needle in your job. So it is useful. I don't know if I would call it the most important metric though. I mean, in this case, two other things matter. Hey, do you have your lag indicators right? And are you looking at them? If you're just doing deep work for the sake of doing deep work, meaningless, you got to know the needle you're trying to move in the end and you got to be watching that needle to see if it's moving. And that needle is not moving, even though you're doing a lot of deep work, then two, you have to care about what deep work am I doing? Like what is the right type of deep work that's going to move the needle on this particular thing that I care about on this particular lag indicator? So don't get too obsessive about just, here's my deep work tally. I got six hours this week. That's an important tally to do, but only if you know what you're doing during those deep work hours and it's tied to a very specific longer term goal that you're keeping a very careful eye on. All right, so let's do another question here. We got one from Jeffrey.


Should I stay a job where the management actively tries to stifle productivity? (40:24)

Jeffrey says, "Should I stay at a job "where the management actively tries to stifle productivity?" Context is important here. Looking at the elaboration, Jesse or Jeffrey, not Jesse, Jeffrey has been at this job for eight years. I'm just thinking about that. That would be funny if this was a question from Jesse. And it was Jesse being like, "How do I get out of a position "where my manager is so unproductive "and makes me unproductive?" And it was just a passive aggressive way of getting back at me. And it turns out I'm a terrible boss that's really chaotic and disorganized. All right, all right, Jeffrey. You've worked there for eight years. They manipulate, your managers manipulate your workloads by assigning them at random times that are very advantageous like Friday afternoons or afternoons before I leave the take the day off. It's good paying benefits, but he's getting frustrated because it's our fault. I mean, we have been infecting poor Jeffrey here with visions of how knowledge work can actually unfold. Ways that's not overloaded, ways that's not stressful, ways in which you are in control of your time and you're moving the needle and getting things done, but on your own terms, you're not overworked, you're not overstressed. And he's learned that's all possible and he turns around and his boss is like, "I'm gonna need you to come in on Saturday "for a lumber territory." It's an office space reference. All right, what do we do about this? Jeffrey, here's what I'm gonna suggest. Don't leave your job right away, but I'm gonna make you more rigid. I'll explain how in a second. If that blows up, if the lumber in your life says no way, I said I need this tomorrow, get it done, then you start looking somewhere else and you could be confident that it was a good thing to do. So here's what I mean by getting more rigid. Get your systems in place, and enforce them. Enforce them. So like in this case, you need a system, and this is something I've been working on recently in some of my thinking that I haven't published a lot yet. So I'm giving you some ideas that are hot off the presses. I'm a big believer in this external work system approach where instead of just in knowledge work, thinking about all things that need to be done is existing on individual people's plates, which throw these around on the people's plates. Jeffrey, do this, now it's on your plate, and I'll have to worry about it. You know, hey, Jesse, you do this, now it's on your plate, I don't have to worry about it. I'm a big believer in having an external system into which work that needs to get done goes, and that people then pull work out of that external system as they have the appropriate time to do it. I think this is actually probably the right structure for work assignment in most knowledge work scenarios. A good external system has a few things to it, one, a good filter. So it's really clear, like here's a different type of work that could come into the system, and it has to go through these properly shaped portals, and if your work doesn't fit, then it doesn't go in. So you're making the person assigning the work do more work, two, there's a real organizational ethic inside of the system, how the work is organized and prioritized, that's thoughtful, and three, status is really clear to anyone who cares. All right, this thing I put into the external system, it's been organized, no one's working on it yet, but it has, you know, it's relatively high on the priority list, probably someone will get to it in the next two weeks. I think in the end, that's what most knowledge work organizations need. Now, Jeffrey, they're not gonna do this, so I want you to simulate this with yourself. I want you to basically imagine that you have an external system you can control where work comes in through these holes, that gets organized, if it doesn't fit, then it can't come in, and clear status is given to the people who care about it. And then there's what you're actually working on this week and this day, and you work on a reasonable amount of stuff till it's done and then you pull more stuff out of this system, and how do you simulate something like this? I mean, I'm still working out the details, but a few different things. So how do you simulate that clear filter on what comes in? Well, someone puts something on your plate that is half baked, that they don't give you all the information, and they're just playing an obligation hot potato and just trying to get it off their plate because it's on their head, and they don't want to be on their head. You say something like, all right, I'm happy to take this on board. This is the information I'll need, right? That's back to them. And so they'll have to give you and get you that information. If you really wanna push it here, you can involve processes here. You can say, I'm happy to take this on board. There's a bunch of questions that would need to be resolved for me to really understand what you need here. Please, I have these clear office hours. So whenever is convenient for you, they just jump on one of these, here they are, and I'll get from you all the information I need. Or here's my Calendly, take a 30 minute slot, and that's where I'll get all the information I need, right? So now you are having these carefully shaped to port holes in which information can come in and if it doesn't have everything you need, it's not coming in the system. None of this like, hey, Jeffrey, can you see what we need to get this client's reimbursement up to date or something? Like, no, no, no, no. Let's figure out exactly what that means. And you can use processes and systems there. Two, okay, once they're in the system, make it status really clear to people. All right, I've taken this into my queue. I'm looking at my queue now, and there's like three or four things ahead of this. So my best guess is probably it'll be a week from now before I can get to it without changing priorities on the queue. Now this means you gotta have this information really well put together. You gotta have a keeping track of everything, what I'm working on. You gotta have your act together, Jeffrey, if you're gonna pull this off, but you're giving him that good status update. And then from an organizational perspective, you're keeping it really clear, all the things, all the information, their status. Use a Trello board for this. Here's the stuff that I have all the information. Here's the stuff I'm waiting to hear back on. Here's the relative priority. And you gotta be very careful in your weekly and daily planning to be pulling things from this list and actually getting the things done and being reliable and they can depend on you. You can get idiosyncratic credits, idiosyncrasy credits, that's the term. It's an Adam Grant term. You can get those credits, the ability to do things weird if you actually deliver. If you don't deliver, that you get no leeway. And then actually, there it is, the stuff in my system. I pull out what's reasonable for the week. They don't have the option anymore. I'm saying it's Friday afternoon, get this done, by Saturday morning. And if they wanna push back, they can push back, but they have to push back on your system. And they have to say, I don't wanna have to give you that information. If they say, no, I want this, whatever, you're like, okay, but let me just tell you, these are the things that have to get moved to lower priority, right? They have to confront how much time you actually have available. One of two things will happen. One, they will say, Jeffrey's great. He's been here eight years. He delivers, he's awesome. We don't wanna lose him. I really just wanted clarity anyways, right? I mean, I, here I'm simulating the boss. I'm really disorganized. I hate having things in my head. I throw things on your plate as soon as I think about 'em because I don't wanna have to worry about 'em. So long as I know I can trust you, oh, it's in your system. You have the information, it's gonna happen in two weeks and fine. I don't have to think about it. You do you. Or they say, no, no, no, no. Like, forget that. You need to just respond to me and do everything right when I say it. And then you, Jeffrey, you have the information you need that is time to find a different position. It might be quitting that job. It might be changing your position within that company so that you're much more independent when you're trading performance for, a performance for freedom. All right, I'm gonna be more like a consultant, pay me by my performance, but you can't bother me. Whatever you need to do, but give that a try. Give the external system a try. You might be surprised how much they'll put up with. All right. See here, we got time for one more question. Let me do one more quick, deep work question. This one comes from Sammy. Sammy says, what are your tips for a mother of two small kids doing masters? Well, I mean, first of all, the fact that you have two small kids doing master's degrees tells me that you've got some pretty amazing genes.


What are your (Cal’s) tips for a mother of two small kids getting her masters? (49:00)

So congratulations. I was trying to explain to my oldest son, who's nine, the plot of Doogie House or MD, which was a show that was popular when Jessie and I were kids. It did not compute. You can't wait a second. There's so many questions. And you know what? It didn't compute not because he couldn't understand it, but because there are a lot of questions about Doogie House or MD. And the fact that this 12 year old was being licensed to do practice clinical medicine and emergency rooms, there's a lot of questions about that show. But that's what I think about when I think about two small kids doing master's degrees. There was, Jessie, there was at, and I don't mean to go on the side, but MIT had some of this stuff going on, right? Like, MIT CS program gets some pretty interesting, weird brains, but there was a kid when I started my PhD program, he was another incoming computer science student. And he was 14, maybe, 15, maybe, maybe 16, I think like 15 years old. He had not only finished his undergraduate degree in computer science from University of Washington, which is a great program. He had gone and worked at Microsoft for a while and was bored. It's like, I'm gonna go get a PhD. So he had been in the workforce for a while before he came back to get his PhD, and he was like 15 years old. So it was a strange place. - Did you talk to him a lot? - He was a systems guy, so I didn't know him well, but I don't think he actually stayed for his PhD. The problem with PhD programs like at MIT is the entire time you're there, there's like literally people, not literally, okay, the opposite of literally, but there's people knocking at your doors with wheelbarrows full of money. In reality, it's emails from head hunters, et cetera. But basically, here is a wheelbarrow full of money. If you follow me to a job, and they pick a lot of people off. You'll just get things from head hunters. We will, starting salary, $450,000, let's rock and roll, come to my quant fund or whatever. So you lose a lot of people, they'll get their masters along the way and then they're out the door. So it's only a sucker's that actually stick it out all the way and become low paid professors. All right, Sammy, I'm sorry, I'm completely off your question now. All right, I was making fun of your ambiguous wording. Sorry about that. So let's go, let's start this again. Sammy says, what are your tips for a mother of two small kids doing masters? All right, it's a, what is that? Like a dangling modifier? It's the mother, not the children's doing the masters. All right, we get that. How can she find focus time in the midst of being a wife and a mother? That's good ages. Nine year old and a three year old. I have one of each and a seven year old in between. So I empathize. Sammy, two things. One, acknowledge like it's a really hard thing you wanna do right now. So it's important that you don't come into this with the psychology of, oh, I should just be able to do this. No big deal. You know, let's just like rock and roll. I bought a bullet journal, we're good. You know, like let's just go after it. I read Lean In. That's really hard. If you're, those are hard ages. The nine year old is probably in school, but the three year old might not be. So that's hard, acknowledge that. Think about it like you told people, I'm gonna run a marathon. We're like, oh, that's so hard. And like that's how you think about it. Don't think about this as an easy thing to do. It's not. So I don't want you to feel bad about this being hard. Two in those situations, you need to autopilot all the work. And by autopilot, this is my terminology. This goes way back to the early days of my writing on my website for students, but autopilot schedules was where all of the work that needs to be done, you figure out in advance, this is where it always gets done, when it always gets done. You can't in this situation succeed by just saying, "Oh, what's due tomorrow?" Oh, I gotta do some readings and write a paper. Let me go get that work done. That barely works for 19 year olds who are living in a dorm and only doing school. It's not gonna work for a mother of two children. So you gotta just figure out, like this is when my reading gets done. All right, I dropped a three year old off at daycare and I have this two hour window. And that's always when I do my reading for the English class. And Sunday afternoons is for paper writing. So every other Sunday I work on papers, like you really gotta not be thinking at all about what should I be doing today. Autopilot that all out. Figure out how much time you need, what work you have to do when it gets done. So you can be really optimal about this and really be smart about where you try to fit that time. If it still doesn't fit, which it might not, then you have to slow down. You have to slow down the program. You have to find a way to do it on a longer timeline. Face the productivity dragon, but if the dragon is too big, don't charge into the cave. And that's a great thing about autopilot scheduling is you get a stare it in the face and say, "Can I make this work?" And if you can, this autopilot schedule is gonna give you the best possible chance of making it work. And if you can't, you say, "Okay, what can I make work?" And you adjust what you're doing until it fits. All right, I think that's good for questions on deep work. Look at our time now, running long, that's okay. Let's do a few questions on the deep life. All right, we got a question from Sarah, who had another parent question?


Is raising kids part of the deep life or an obstacle to achieving it? (54:45)

Sarah says, "Do you view raising children as something that can be part of the deep life or something that is mostly an obstacle to the deep life, though valuable in a different way." So Sarah, when I think about the deep life, as you know from the show, I often think it's useful to break up the aspects of your life in the different areas that for historical reasons on this show, we call buckets, even though that might not be the best terminology. And what you really wanna make sure is that in each of these buckets, each of these areas that's important, you're putting energy, real energy into things that are really important, things that are really important in that bucket and not wasting too much energy on things that are not. One of those buckets that's probably, I would say the most important bucket is what I often call community, but community is family, friends, and the people around you. That's the key one. I mean, I've said this before on the show. If you neglect that one, the other ones don't matter. Like you might be okay for a while neglecting what's in that community bucket, neglecting family, neglecting friends, neglecting the people around you, but you have no resilience. And when you hit hard times, that bottom is gonna fall and you were gonna plummet, homo sapiens are very social beings, sacrificing on behalf, time and energy on behalf of others that are important to us is that the absolute foundation to living a deep life. So no, it's not an obstacle to a deep life. It's bucket you have to take care of first before you think about the craft bucket, for example, where your work might be. Or before you think about the constitution bucket, where exercise and fitness and health might be, for example. Now, the reason why I think this is an important question is you know that. So I think the issue is there's a semantic thing we should clarify. So when you say valuable in a different way, I think what's happening here is that you are defining the deep life too narrowly. You're probably thinking of the deep life as meaning, I do deep work in my job. And so a deep life does a lot of that. And anything else that gets in the way of that is an obstacle to that. That is not the deep life. And this is why I actually introduced the notion of the deep life, which I coined the term in March of 2020. The historians among you will look at your calendars and realize there was some important things happening during that month. And the whole point of actually coining the term the deep life and starting that thinking in March of 2020 was to make sure that we were considering the whole picture of what matters in life. That was a time period, at least that month, where people did not care much about exactly how much deep work they were doing on their job. Right. Because if you're in the type of job that you do deep work, what you really were doing was being on Zoom all day and just panicking. So it was a time period where we said, okay, the whole life matters. This disruption makes that clear. If you do not have all of the buckets firing, what happens when there's huge disruption, your bottom falls out, you plummet, we don't want that to happen again, all parts of the deep life matter. So no, your kids are critical to it. My whole professional life is built in part around making sure that that bucket of my deep life is serviced. It's why, I mean, I do the work I do. It's why I really prioritize and I built my entire career trajectory around this. Autonomy and flexibility, control over my time. I want to be on the short scale I want to be able to, though I can't do it every day, have days where I'm just, take the whole afternoon off and I pick the kids up and spend time with them. I want to be able to take them to their practices. On the bigger scale, I want to take summers really quietly. I want to just be around. I want to have long breaks. The academic life gives you long breaks. The writing life gives you full autonomy. I'm really big on having huge flexibility and seasonality. Busy periods are not busy periods so I can be around and deeply ingrained in my kid's life. We decided where we moved, we're into Coma Park because a family is the right place to raise a family, et cetera. So Sarah, that's all to say, no, your kids are key to your definition of the deep life. But you got to look at all the buckets and then come up with a configuration of life that serves all of them. All right, good question. We got a question here from Coach Pete. Coach Pete says, "Is listening to audiobooks "just as beneficial as reading actual hard copy books?"


Is listening to audiobooks just as beneficial as reading hard-copy books? (59:24)

Yeah, just read a lot, read a wide variety, use a lot of formats. It's all good. It's all good. I just think reading is calisthenics for your brain. It opens up your brain. It's also the source of raw ideas and vocabulary and even argument structure. It is the grist that you then chew up in your brain to make that brain way more effective. So I just say read as much as you can and don't sweat the details. This is why you'll see, for example, when I do my monthly report on the books I read that I'm all over the place. A huge variety of different topics and I don't care. Let's go, let's read. No, let's just have it going. And I think it's the same thing as if you want to just be generally in shape.


How do I accomplish a digital detox when all of my leisure involves me phone? (01:00:14)

Do a bunch of different things. Bike, I row, I lift weights, I do calisthenics, I do some crossfit, I'm playing on an ultimate frisbee team. You just throw a bunch of stuff at it. It's good for you. I've got a question here from Jacob. Jacob asks, "How do I realistically accomplish "a digital detox when all of my leisure "is currently spent on technology? "I am currently an online student "and I spend all of my vast amounts of leisure time "on my phone. "I really want to do a digital detox, "but I believe it might be too drastic and unsustainable." So Jacob, read my book, Digital Minimalism, where I really walk through how to do this. Two points here. One, I do not use the terminology, digital detox. That term has been appropriated by people in the digital space in what I believe to be an inappropriate way. They took this term that's most heavily used in substance abuse and they completely changed it to be the opposite of its original use. It's original intention, so I don't like it. So if you look in the substance abuse community, what is a detox? Well, you're literally trying to eliminate the chemical dependence on the substance and doing it under a controlled circumstance. So you're at a detox center. So there is no alcohol there and there's people there who can watch to make sure that from a health perspective that you're okay. So that's part of it. But the second part of it, and it's the part that makes the whole thing make sense, is that you also then re-engineer your life during this process so that when you come out of it, you're no longer have that relationship with the substance that caused a problem in the first place. You would not run a very successful, let's say, alcohol detox center. If you say, "Here's our plan," you come here, you spend the month, it's really hard, you get the DTS, trying to get off your alcohol dependency, white knuckle it, we get you off of it, and then on day 31, we all go to the bar to celebrate you doing it. You know, no, you build a whole life without alcohol. And yet in the digital community, they have taken this term and they apply it to mean exactly that. Like, yeah, let's take a break from these technologies that we feel like are ruining our lives before going back to using them as before. That is the opposite of the intention of a detox. So I do not like that term. So I introduce a new term in my book, declutter, digital declutter. And you spend 30 days away from all these optional technologies with the goal of completely rebuilding your digital life from scratch when you're done so that it's something that is sustainable and a source of good, not bad. So no detox, declutter. Read the book and I walk through how to actually do it. The key thing you're gonna see is that if this is gonna work, you have to aggressively fill the newly free time with experimentation and reflection. You have to actually go do lots of other activities, learn new things, try new things. You have to join things and go places. You have to spend a lot of time alone with your own thoughts and reading active, active, active. That is the key, Jacob, is you replace what you're doing before with things that are better. You get much more insight about what matters to you, what you find important, what real pleasure feels like versus superficial dopamine hacking that these devices are doing. And then when you're done with those 30 days, you rebuild your life from scratch. Read digital minimalism. Chapter three, I believe, will walk you through exactly how to do it. And I gotta say, Jacob, you need to do it. You are spending, and I'm quoting, you vast amounts of leisure time on your phone. That is a simulacrum of a real life. You, my friend, are in the matrix, but if they were running the matrix off a kind of sucky computer, you're in like an Apple II-E matrix, where it's not only like a simulation of life, but a pretty bad simulation, pretty impoverished simulation of life. You don't even know the feelings of deeper satisfaction you could be experiencing. You don't even know the sense of competency and awe and gratitude that you could be feeling. You don't even know what's possible professionally with building skills and crafts and seeing your intentions in your brain be made manifest concretely in the world, the quiet satisfactions that provide that non-trivial sacrificing of time and attention on behalf of people that you really care about. There's a depth, any resilience that is possible in life. It makes life not only worth living, but allows you to go through the ups and the downs with your head held high and still doing good in the world. All of that is possible once you stop spending your vast amount of leisure time just looking at your phone. You are clocking in right now into a factory, my friend. The factory that is being run by a small number of social media companies and you're doing long shifts, producing stuff for them that's valuable for them and you're doing it for free and you're doing it at the sacrifice of the stuff that really matters in your life. Quit that virtual job in the Instagram factory and let's build a deeper life. And this podcast will help you do it. Look at my episodes about the deep life. Keep listening, but I want you to get better. All right, we got time here for, we'll do two more quick deep life questions. So we have one here from Charles. Charles says, "How can high school students excel "in this new age without SATs?"


How can high school students excel without SATs? (01:05:33)

Well, been focused on your grades. I mean, the academic formula has always been grades plus SAT scores for the vast majority of colleges. Basically, the only thing that matters is your grades and SAT scores, if they're where they need to be, you get in, if they're not, you don't. So now you're just doing grades instead of grades plus SAT scores. If you're in one of the very narrow group of people who's applying to a college that is selective enough that grades alone are not gonna be enough to determine if you get in and they're gonna look at other aspects of your life and your activities, read my book, "How to Become a High School Superstar." I get into how to do that game sustainably. How to make yourself impressive to college admissions officers without living a overworked, miserable, grind life. It's a cool book. I profile a bunch of students I call relaxed superstars who got in the good schools without stressing out and deconstruct how they do it. So you'll like that book. But again, for the most part, for 95% of the people, get good grades. All right, final question here comes from Helen. Helen says, "Can you talk about the dangers "of social media in two particular contexts? "Stalkers and people who put their jobs at risk "by silly things they post. "Both of these are real issues." Helen, these are good. I'm glad you brought these up. There's lots of issues that come with having a kind of constant interactive interaction with basically the entire world in a wide-scale platform with a homogenized interface.


Social Media Concerns

Should I worry about social media getting me fired from my job? [ (01:06:58)

So everyone just looks the same to everyone else. Yeah, stalkers are a big deal. You get weird. Sometimes it's just trolls, but sometimes it could be more scary than that. Tim Ferriss have talked about this. Tim Ferriss has huge issues with this. People find him, they look up his address in real estate records, they crazy people get obsessed with them. But yeah, there's a cost to putting yourself out there. Now Tim Ferriss is very famous, but why expose yourself to those costs? Especially if you don't get the, whatever the fame and fortune that comes with that fame, social media just allows you to expose yourself to those type of issues without the reward. And then people who put their jobs at risk, yes, it's a big source of stress. It's a big source of stress. Yeah, hear these stories because they get captured and amplified and spread of individuals that said the wrong thing. You know, whatever. It was a joke that landed flat or was taken out of context or they weren't at their best and then their job is gone. Yes, there's a fear of that happening to you, but way more pervasive is the fear, I mean, that could actually happen, but the fear that that could happen is just gonna pervade your life if you've decided that I'm gonna just post a lot of things on social media. I do not understand this cultural belief we had. It's something I've really pushed back on a lot. Like everyone has to be on these platforms using them. They don't and most people shouldn't be. Most people should not be on Facebook or Twitter or whatever sharing their thoughts about everything. I mean, I know it presses some buttons, but people don't care. They're not following you. They don't really care, but you're giving yourself all these stresses by being out there in the public eye. I mean, I'm barely in the public eye and there's like 80% of it I hate. Why would you wanna do this voluntarily? I mean, this video camera makes me a little bit uncomfortable. I'm like somewhat uncomfortable with people knowing what I look like. I'm an academic writer. I like, you know, books to come out. Now, I thought this was important because this information's important and it has to be broken up into whatever. I mean, we've talked about this whole thing, but why bring this upon yourself? The stress of weirdos that can now follow me. The stress of what if I say something wrong and I get fired? And again, whether or not that's actually gonna happen, doesn't matter. The fear is causing issues in your life. And there's other things, Helen, that you're not missing here, that can be just as bad. The stress of seeing someone say something negative about you or what you said. We're not wired to handle that. We're wired to take that very seriously because historically when someone is saying, you know, you're terrible, it was someone in our tribe and it meant that we were probably doing something terrible. Now it's just sport on Twitter, but why expose yourself to that? This cultural idea that if you have to be on social media, it's weird if you're not, I think it's just crazy. I think social media should be a thing that like for some people, like has a very clear use. But it's not a universal. It's not like if you're not on Twitter, it's deciding to ride a horse instead of driving a car or, you know, you don't own a television. I think it should be way more narrow than that. Most people don't need to be on there. Most people at least posting on there, most people's life would be significantly less stressful if they weren't for all these type of reasons. There's a lot of negative externalities to interactive social media use. And Helen, you were right to bring this up because it's yet another reason why we should be way more careful about these technologies and be way more suspicious about the current cultural climate that at least until a minute ago basically made it seem like if you were not on all these platforms sharing your thoughts with the world, that somehow there was something wrong about you. Being in the public eye is a weird place to be. It's a fraught place to be. Don't throw yourself into that for no other reason than just people thought it would be cool to have that app. All right, well, that's all the time we have for this episode. Thanks for watching. Thank you everyone who sent in their questions. If you like what you heard, you will like what you read in my newsletter cal Newport.com. Go subscribe to that. We'll be back on Thursday with a listener calls episode and until then, as always, stay deep.


Great! You’ve successfully signed up.

Welcome back! You've successfully signed in.

You've successfully subscribed to Wisdom In a Nutshell.

Success! Check your email for magic link to sign-in.

Success! Your billing info has been updated.

Your billing was not updated.