Tag Archives: Cal Newport

The 4th Law of Practicing


A few months ago, I wrote a post called The 3 Laws of Practicing. After reading a great book recently, Deep Work by Cal Newport, I’ve decided that there’s another “Practice Law” that can have a real impact on the quality of the work that happens in the practice room.

4. No multitasking.

No Facebook. No Instagram. No Twitter. No Snapchat. No email. No texting. No web surfing.

While each of the above examples serves a purpose in our digital toolbox, none of them are useful during a practice session. The truth of the matter is that the messages and notifications we receive from social media et al. rarely require immediate action on our part. As such, there’s no real need to attend to our digital lives when we’re in the shed.

The real problem with multitasking is that it takes us away from the work we are trying and wanting to do. When indulged while we’re working, the distractions presented by our digital lives prevent us from achieving the level of depth necessary to make meaningful progress in our practice. Ultimately that translates to us maybe doing the work, but not work at the level we are truly capable of doing.

When I apply this “law” in my own practice sessions, that means putting my phone on silent and closing the web browser on my computer. If I’m really intent on avoiding the kinds of interruptions that give way to multitasking, I’ll shut my phone completely down and turn the wi-fi off on my computer. I would shut my computer down as well, but I use a couple of apps in my practice (Transcribe! and Metronomics). These are all things I did before I read Deep Work, but that book really hammered home their importance.

You can find Deep Work here:
Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World