Focusing in the Age of Information Technology: Leveraging Gallagher’s Rapt, Carr’s The Shallows, Newport’s Deep Work, and Apps for Cognitive Productivity

Deep work is how brains produce value with knowledge. Thus, those who are better able to engage in deep work tend to generate more value. On average, they will be better able to protect their jobs, obtain promotions, generate sales, and make more money.

That is a quote from an article published by SharpBrains today, authored by Yours Truly. Its narrative is a sequence of books about the importance of attention for productivity, enjoyment and human development.

Those who value their cognitive productivity should monitor, and even quantify, how they allocate their most precious resource: their consciousness. That is the thesis of Cal Newport’s Deep Work. However, Deep Work doesn’t have many positive tips for using information technology. In contrast, my most recent SharpBrains article presents tools to protect and measure your focus:

  • mySelfQuantifier, a free CogZest system and CogSci Apps workbook I developed.
  • WasteNoTime. An app to measure and control the time you spend on the web.
  • (implicitly). An app to measure the time you spend on MacOS.

I first publicly alluded to the time tracking issues in my 2010 SharpBrains posts. In the January 2010 post, I presented a wish list for Apple’s then upcoming tablet. In the 11 February 2010 post, I reviewed Steve Jobs’ presentation of the iPad®. (Those posts led to a little email exchange between myself and Steve Jobs, and ultimately to my book Cognitive Productivity: Using Knowledge to Become Profoundly Effective.) mySelfQuantifier goes into a lot more detail about attention management with technology.

I’ve recently recorded most of a chapter on principles of self-management that includes tips on managing one’s attention and time with MacOS. It will appear in an upcoming e-pub book of mine, Cognitive Productivity with MacOS®. That book contains screencasts that demonstrate the tips presented in part 3 of Cognitive Productivity. We value your feedback on this blog; it could affect the course of this book.

Published by

Luc P. Beaudoin

Head of CogZest. Author of Cognitive Productivity books. Co-founder of CogSci Apps Corp. Adjunct Professor of Education, Simon Fraser University. Why, Where, and What I Write. See About Me for more information.

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