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  • Writer's pictureNitul

Deep work hacks: How attention residue is restricting your path towards success!

Ever thought why do we end up failing most of the time even after trying so hard? Millennials often find themselves depressed after getting setbacks in something they worked really hard on. So, whom to blame for? Yourself, your surroundings or the lack of consistency? The answer is none of these. Attention residue is the real culprit. In his bestselling book ‘Deep Work’, software engineer and blogger Carl Newport explains deeply about the effect of ‘attention residue’ on our success journey.

Deep Work by Carl Newport
Credit: Unplash

We are social animals and our social structure is a hierarchy based model. Everyone loves to get appreciation, respect and attention. That's one approach to understand why we want to be super successful. The other school of thought is that you need something bigger in your mind to lead a confident, satisfied and happy life. Success requires hard work, dedication and consistency. Most of the time it is the effect of attention residue which prevents someone from attaining success.

Deep work:

Deep work is the ultimate necessity to achieve anything big in life. From Bill Gates to Yuval Noah Harari, most of the high achievers practice deep work. Most of the world’s highly respected intellectuals take breaks of some days or months every year to practise deep work. During that period they keep themselves cut off from everything that can be a cause of distraction. Cell phones, laptops and emails are included in this list.

Deep work in general gets neglected in the process of hustle. The urge for achieving greatness within a short span of time with multiple goals in the bucket often pressurises one. Hard work is not enough. It's not about how much time you dedicate to achieve something. Its always about the quality and without ‘Deep Work’, that cannot be achieved. In the book Deep Work, Carl Newport emphasises more on the necessity of ‘Deep Work’ in achieving greatness.

What is attention residue and how it is restricting our growth?

Attention residue is the amount of data from your previous tasks that remain in your brain which keep coming repeatedly to your mind even after switching yourself to a new task. The more tasks you switch, the higher will be the attention residue. Let's assume you were preparing an itinerary for your next trip to a hill station and had to switch yourself to study. The thoughts of the trip will keep coming to your brain even if you try to concentrate on your study. That is attention residue. The only way of getting yourself free from attention residue is ‘Deep Work’. Deep work is only possible if you are enjoying your tasks. Forced concentration will not work out here.


In a world full of distractions, being focused at improving yourself is a tough struggle. Those who can beat distractions, become successful. Reading books is a great way of improving yourself both psychologically and philosophically. Knowledge is the real power. There is no other way of doing great work except the method of Deep Work. 'Deep Work' by Carl Newport is an excellent book which every ambitious millennials must read once. It teaches you how to work hard deeply and achieve success in a distracted world.

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