Interview with Georgetown prof. Cal Newport:
There are two types of work: deep and shallow. Deep work is when you focus without distraction on a cognitively demanding task and push yourself to create something new and valuable. Shallow work is everything else. Some amount of shallow work is unavoidable, but try to maximize the amount of time you spend doing the deep alternative. The market does not reward you for being busy. It rewards you for producing things that are rare and valuable. This requires depth.
Speaking of “shallow work,” I’m on a plane right now next to a guy with an iPad streaming HBO, while playing poker on an iPod, while scanning email on an iPhone.