DiscoverPlain English with Derek ThompsonHow the Digital Workplace Broke Our Brains
How the Digital Workplace Broke Our Brains

How the Digital Workplace Broke Our Brains

Update: 2023-07-052
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Calvin Newport is a computer science professor at Georgetown University and the author of, among other books, 'Deep Work' and 'A World Without Email.' At the heart of so much of Newport’s work is this incredibly rich mystery: Why hasn't the internet produced more geniuses? One possibility is that the productivity tools ironically inhibit our productivity. The average white-collar worker in marketing, advertising, finance, and media now spends up to 60 percent of the workweek engaged in electronic communication. In a recent survey, Microsoft found that video meetings had taken up so much of the day that a significant share of its workforce was logging online between 9 and 10 p.m. to finish their actual non-email, non-meeting work. In response to this relentless need to loop back and back and back, Newport came up with what he called the Deep Work Hypothesis: He said to learn hard things quickly, you must focus intensely without distraction. But the ability to perform this kind of deep focused work is becoming rare at exactly the same time it is becoming most valuable in our economy. In this conversation, we talk about deep work and shallow work, how our productivity tools make us less productive, and how to actually get things done.

If you have questions, observations, or ideas for future episodes, email us at PlainEnglish@Spotify.com. You can find us on TikTok at www.tiktok.com/@plainenglish_

Host: Derek Thompson

Guest: Calvin Newport

Producer: Devon Manze

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How the Digital Workplace Broke Our Brains

How the Digital Workplace Broke Our Brains

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