Deep Questions with Cal Newport podcast

Ep. 292: Single-Purpose Notebooks

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On his recent book tour, Cal found great success using a small notebook dedicated to developing a single idea. In this episode, he explores this “single-purpose notebook” strategy, identifying when it makes sense and why it works. He also takes listener questions about his new book, “Slow Productivity,” and reacts to a recent article about TikTok’s stumbles.

Below are the questions covered in today's episode (with their timestamps). Get your questions answered by Cal! Here’s the link:

Video from today’s episode:

Deep Dive: Single-Purpose Notebooks [5:02]

- If “pseudo-productivity” isn’t effective, why is it so common? [27:07]
- Can you explain the difference between limiting missions, projects, and daily goals? [34:59]
- Should everyone buy a $50 notebook? [39:21]
- How does “Slow Productivity” relate to mental models and first principles? [48:12]
- Should I read your new book slowly? [52:44]
- CALL: Does Cal ever stress about work? [55:24]

CASE STUDY: Applying lifestyle-centric career planning [1:00:31]

SOMETHING INTERESTING: TikTok Falters [1:08:56]

Buy Cal’s latest book, “Slow Productivity” at

Thanks to our Sponsors: 

Thanks to Jesse Miller for production, Jay Kerstens for the intro music, Kieron Rees for slow productivity music, and Mark Miles for mastering.

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