Study Hacks Blog Posts from May, 2012 - Study Hacks - Cal Newport

Some More Thoughts on Grad School

May 17th, 2012 · 41 comments


In 2009, as I was approaching the end of my Phd program, I wrote a blog post titled, Some Thoughts on Grad School. It described lessons I learned during my time at MIT.

Since then, I’ve received many requests to revisit the theme. Now that I’m a professor — albeit a new one — I thought I’d once again reflect publicly on what I did well and what I wish I’d done better.

With this in mind, I want to offer a pair of thoughts on a topic of particular importance to my path as an academic: complexity.

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Facebook’s COO Works Less Than You

May 7th, 2012 · 21 comments

The Fixed Schedule Phenom

Sheryl Sandberg is the COO at Facebook.

Last year she was paid over $30 million dollars in stocks and salary.

This year she was named to Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World list.

But here’s what interests me most: in April she revealed that she leaves work every day by 5:30. She has practiced this habit since she first had kids, but only recently did she build enough confidence to talk publicly about it.

This is a fantastic example of the fixed-schedule productivity philosophy that I’ve long preached. As many have discovered, fixing strong constraints in your working life can paradoxically make your work much stronger (as it forces you to focus on what’s important, which in turn helps you get better at what you do).

E-mailing during every waking hour might make you feel more important, but as Sandberg’s accomplishments verify, it has very little to do with your actual impact.


Speaking of interesting articles, my friend Elizabeth Saunders has a thought-provoking piece on the Harvard Business Review blog about the different types of passion and their implication for our working lives.