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Dr. Cal Newport: How to Enhance Focus and Improve Productivity

Huberman Lab

Scicomm Media

Science, Life Sciences, Health & Fitness

4.923.3K Ratings

🗓️ 11 March 2024

⏱️ 177 minutes

🧾️ Download transcript


In this episode, my guest is Dr. Cal Newport, Ph.D., a professor of computer science at Georgetown University and bestselling author of numerous books on focus and productivity and how to access the deepest possible layers of your cognitive abilities in order to do quality work and lead a more balanced life. We discuss how to avoid digital distraction, specific systems to best arrange and update your schedule, and how to curate your work and home environment. We discuss how to engage with smartphones and technology, the significant productivity cost of task-switching, and how to avoid and overcome burnout. This episode provides specific protocols for enhancing focus and productivity, time management, task prioritization, and improving work-life balance that ought to be useful for anyone, young or old, regardless of profession. For show notes, including referenced articles and additional resources, please visit hubermanlab.com. Thank you to our sponsors AG1: https://drinkag1.com/huberman Helix Sleep: https://helixsleep.com/huberman Maui Nui Venison: https://mauinuivenison.com/huberman Joovv: https://joovv.com/huberman LMNT: https://drinklmnt.com/huberman Momentous: https://livemomentous.com/huberman Timestamps (00:00:00) Dr. Cal Newport (00:02:52) Sponsors: Helix Sleep, Maui Nui & Joovv (00:07:00) Smartphones, Office & Walking (00:13:08) Productive Meditation, Whiteboards (00:20:04) Tool: Capturing Ideas, Notebooks (00:24:57) Tool: Active Recall & Remembering Information (00:30:02) Sponsor: AG1 (00:31:29) Studying, Deliberate Practice (00:38:13) Flow States vs. Deep Work (00:41:39) Social Media, Emergencies (00:45:27) Phone & Addiction; Task Switching (00:53:20) Sponsor: LMNT (00:54:23) “Neuro-Semantic Coherence” vs. Flow; Concentration (01:02:40) Internet Use & Kids; Video Games; Audiobooks (01:08:15) Pseudo-Productivity, Burnout (01:12:34) Social Media Distraction; The Deep Life (01:18:03) Attention, ADHD, Smartphones & Addiction; Kids (01:26:12) TikTok, Algorithm (01:30:39) Tool: Boredom Tolerance, Gap Effects & “Thoreau Walks” (01:37:43) Solitude Deprivation, Anxiety (01:41:22) Tools: Fixed Work Schedule & Productivity, Exercise, Sleep (01:47:52) Deep Work, Insomnia; Productivity & Core Work; Music (01:55:08) Cognitive Focus & Environment; Isolation (02:02:30) Burnout Epidemic, Digital Collaboration (02:11:11) Cognitive Revolution, Balance (02:16:45) Remote, Hybrid vs. In-Person Work; Zoom (02:22:05) Tool: Pull-Based System, Designing Workload (02:28:49) Tools: Multi-Scale Planning, Time Blocking; Deep Work Groups (02:38:56) Tool: Shutdown Ritual (02:42:37) Accessibility, Reputation & Flexibility (02:47:29) Work-Life Balance, Vacation; Productivity (02:54:47) Zero-Cost Support, Spotify & Apple Reviews, YouTube Feedback, Sponsors, Momentous, Social Media, Neural Network Newsletter Disclaimer

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Welcome to the Huberman Lab Podcast, where we discuss science and science-based tools for everyday life.


I'm Andrew Huberman and I'm a professor of neurobiology and ophthalmology at Stanford School of Medicine.


My guest today is Dr. Cal Newport.


Dr. Cal Newport is a professor of computer science at Georgetown University.


He did his training at MIT and he is Computer Science at Georgetown University.


He did his training at MIT, and he is currently both a professor and the author of many best-selling


books focused on productivity, focus, and how to access the specific states of mind to bring out your best in terms of


cognitive performance and indeed in terms of performance in all endeavors.


One of his more notable books is entitled Deep Work, Rules for Focus Success in a Distracted




Deep Work is a book that has had tremendous positive influence on my work life and indeed


my life in general because it spells out how exactly to go about doing one's best possible work.


For me that's in the context of science and podcasting,


but it includes tools that I and many others have


extended to other aspects of their life as well, and it's a book that I highly


highly recommend everybody read. Cal also has a new book out now. it's one that I'm currently reading, entitled


Slow Productivity, The Lost Art of Accomplishment Without Burnout.


And as the title suggests, it gets into specific protocols to avoid burnout and to bring about one's highest


quality work over the greatest amount of time. Today's discussion starts off


with extremely practical steps that any and all of us can use in order to enhance our level of


focus, productivity, and creativity.


Cal shares much of his specific practices and also offers some alternative practices for those of you that perhaps do not


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