Deep Work, Digital Detox, and the Year of the DOG

Deep Work

If you haven’t read Cal Newport’s book Deep Work, Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World, I recommend it. A friend gave it to me for my birthday and I finished it in a day, putting off any type of work to imagine the lasting impact of getting in the zone of going ‘deep’, the idea of dedicated and focused work without distraction. This ability for deep work has been a habit of successful people throughout history. Deep work is an overlap of the idea of Deliberate Practice which has been around some time. The book’s premise is not rocket science, though Newport is a computer science professor at Georgetown and refers to  science, examples, and studies to support his arguments. In an age of distraction, it’s worth it just to show you how you’re wasting your time and how you can achieve meaningful goals.





Digital Detox

Ironically, my phone broke next time I saw my friend who gave me the book. So I decided to go without it, something Newport suggests in the book. Eight days later, I have a real taste for the freedom from distraction.  My husband asked if I bought a new phone because I was traveling out of state. I told him my daughter had a phone for our communication, hoping to hold onto a bit more of my newly found freedom. It’s enlightening to see just how important things are when folks must call the home phone or Email to reach you. And when that’s the case, only the essential things bubble up. Not having a phone really helped with Deep Work, as much as just turning off the Wifi on the computer.  It has been a couple weeks since I bought a new phone and I find I leave it in the cradle or charger often since my week of detox. I have also been highly productive in that time, writing as much as one to two thousand words daily, and still managing the essential aspects of my life. I use Newport’s system for tracking deep hours and setting a schedule, even if it’s a fairly loose sketch of the day. It holds me to getting the most meaningful things done.


Year of the Dog

The Lunar New  Year or Tet came late this year, February 16. The Vietnamese celebrate the New Year with lots of traditions with special foods and feasting with the family, red envelopes with money for younger people called Li Xi (lee see), cleaning out the home and wishing others a prosperous year.  I’ve decided to use what I learned about deep work towards my resolutions this year, a more western tradition which we embrace on January 1 of the Gregorian Calendar, the modern calendar most commonly in use. I don’t plan to work like a Dog, though I hope to use my time judiciously.

As the Vietnamese would say, Chuc Mung Nam Moi, or Happy New Year.  Wishing you Phuoc, Loc Tho, or happiness, prosperity, and longevity in the Dog Year.

2018:   Year of the Dog  –Chó

Those born under auspices of the dog are honest, friendly and trustworthy. They are protective, generous in their love and have a strong sense of justice. They are also intuitive, good judge of characters and are able to figure out human nature almost instantly.

Like the animal itself, they are homebodies who care deeply for their families above else.

You are a Dog if you were born after Tet in 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006 and 2018  (learn more about Tet at this link,