Doctor of Leadership in Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

Deep work

Written by: on May 14, 2017


This work resonated with me at several levels. Here are some of my key thoughts and take-aways:


  • I have an inherent dislike of social media – always have. I am only on Facebook for this course. I do not tweet, use Snapchat, Instagram or anything else. This is not a value judgment. I think some people love these tools and use them well. I just find them so unsatisfying, so shallow, so full of inane content – I feel like I haven’t got time for it or interest in it.
  • I wonder if some of this, and some of the ideas about Deep Work, are personality-based. We all work differently and have different approaches. My son can’t seem to concentrate without having Spotify on in the background and several screens open. I can’t work properly unless I have total silence and a single focus.
  • I think we are so bombarded by information and stimuli in short bursts and snippets that we are becoming flickers and pickers and are losing a sense of depth and focus on key and core issues. It feels like we are constantly grazing on information rather than sitting down to a good and nutritious meal.
  • This kind of life seems to make us restless and constantly “switched on”. I liked Newport’s thoughts on shutting down for the night, on developing rituals, on separating work and rest and play, and on how we are much more productive when we do this.
  • I also know how hard this is to do. There have been too many times when an email from work has ruined my evening or plagued my weekend.
  • I found Newport’s different approaches to deep work interesting. I wish I could do the few hours a day approach rather than having a season of intense work. So far, I have had bursts of very intense work rather than the daily approach. I will revisit this again. I would really like to hit a daily quota. Over time, this would be very productive.
  • I struggle with the demands of others, the needs of staff and church and family. I end up doing lots of little things, shallow things in many instances, and struggle to get to the deep things. There are several tools in this book which deal with this. I think we all have much more capacity than we think, and it is amazing how some people produce so much more than others.
  • I do like the scheduling idea of assigning certain tasks to certain blocks of time. I used to do this more. I want to do it again.
  • Shutting down now. Shutdown complete.



About the Author

Geoff Lee

5 responses to “Deep work”

  1. Kristin Hamilton says:

    I just commented to Jen that I think some of Newton’s ideas are personality based, Geoff. I think we have to find what works for us and go with it. Since you don’t like social media, it would be crazy for someone to suggest you lean into it to make your work better. I get a lot of fuel for my research from some forms of social media so I spend more time on those when I am working and less time on others. My husband has three flashing screens going when he writes music, while I find them distracting when I write. It’s important that we know ourselves and do the things that feed our creativity.

  2. Lynda Gittens says:

    Geoff so many people are not interested in social media but I have found it to be a great asset to communicate with family that I don’t get to see often.
    Multi-tasking is like juggling many things at one time but once you lose focus, many will fall my the sidelines.
    When Newport spoke on deep and shallow work. We have to address them through prioritization. That for me sometimes lies the challenge. We must do the work that works for us.

  3. Katy Drage Lines says:

    “based on personality”– that is a good point, Geoff. I find that FB and other forms of social media can be shallow and inane, but can actually enhance some of the relationships I already have with people. It’s not meant to be a substitute for real connections, but a way to help make the connections I already have, deeper. But I agree that that might resonate more with me, both personality-wise, and as someone who has lived and has friends all over the world.

  4. Chip Stapleton says:

    Good to hear from you – especially as I find you often have the ability to cut to the chase and give a finely distilled sense of the essence of our readings.

    I think you are onto something about the connection between the type of work and personality.

    Even though he begins the book talking about Jung, I would love a study on Deep Work, specifically focused on people like pastors who have to balance the creative needs that require ‘Deep Work’, like sermon prep, etc. with the very real and crucial need to be connected (via social media or other means) and responsive to the needs of those around us.

  5. Mary says:

    Geoff, I agree that we all have much more capacity than we think. And I also agree that it might in part be personality, but for me it is old age.
    I did not even own a cell phone until 5 years ago. My daughter kept asking me about the pictures she sent and I had no idea where they were. I finally gave up and got a cell phone and I am on Facebook ( I have a total of about 20 friends) but it’s just so I can see my grandkids. I guess even us old dogs can learn new tricks. But I am glad I at least got on FB and I love reading our cohort’s comments on Messenger. I think many of us talked about getting a balance – the new technology as Kristin says can be so useful. Glad you’re back.

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