The Hermit Hour: A Simple Ritual for Remarkable Productivity

Cal Newport is a computer science professor and the author of several books.

He’s famous for his remarkable productivity, both as a researcher and writer.

According to Newport, you can do two types of work1:

  1. Shallow work is non-demanding, logistical-style tasks that you usually do while you’re distracted. This kind of work creates little new value and is easy to replicate. For example, reactively answering emails.
  2. Deep work is tasks that you do in a state of distraction-free focus, pushing your skills to their limits. This kind of work creates lots of new value, improves your abilities, and is hard to replicate. For example, writing a chapter of a book.

These days, most people fill their days with shallow work. So, if you cultivate the ability to do deep work, you will thrive in the modern economy.

You’ll produce great results fast, and you’ll get the sense of fulfillment that comes from true craftsmanship.

If that sounds appealing, I encourage you to establish a daily Hermit Hour.

This is a daily ritual where you withdraw from the rest of the world to be completely isolated.

During your Hermit Hour, you have all notifications turned off, your email inbox closed, and your office door shut behind you.

You lock yourself into a bubble of deep concentration and work on something that truly matters.

One hour might not seem like much, but as you stack them on top of each other, they’ll quickly start adding up.

And within a few short weeks, you’ll probably notice a significant improvement in your ability to focus, your skills, and your results.

So, I encourage you to schedule your Hermit Hour as soon as possible. Once you see the benefits, I’m sure you’ll keep adding more.

Footnote

  1. Deep Work by Cal Newport