Getting distracted is a huge time stealer. You plan to accomplish one task, but along the way, you see something interesting while scrolling the Internet. By the time you look at the clock, you’ll realize you’ve been scrolling mindlessly for hours. How can we remove these distractions that take us away from our plans and goals?
In today’s episode, Nir Eyal, the author of the book “Indistractable,” joins us to talk about the motivation and strategies that can help us minimize and manage distractions from our lives. Nir is an active angel investor and is an expert in behavioural engineering, where he incorporates elements of behavioural science in software design to develop habit-forming products for businesses.
You’ll surely be a changed person after this episode. So sit back and indulge in all the tips and tricks while tuning in to the show, and become inDISTRACTable!
How To Control Your Attention And Choose Your Life (02:36)
- The world is going to become more distracting as technology becomes more pervasive and more persuasive.
- The bifurcation between people: Those who control their time, attention, and their lives, and those who allow their time and attention to be controlled by other people
- Focusing on our relationships is a critical macro skill in all facets of life.
- Even if we go on a digital detox, we’ll still find ways to get distracted. We can only get the best out of tools and technology if we know how to use them correctly.
What Is Distraction? (06:18)
- Etymology: Traction and distraction came from the same Latin root “trahere” which means to pull. They end in the same six letters, which is “action.”
- A traction is any action that you take that pulls you towards things that you do with intent.
- The opposite of traction is distraction. It is anything that pulls you away from what you plan to do with intent.
- Anything can be a distraction or traction, whether we plan it or whether it’s something we do impulsively.
- Something is going to eat up your time and attention unless you decide in advance how you want to spend your time.
The Root Cause (08:27)
- The question is not “What do we do?” The question is “Why don’t we do the things we know we should?”
- Homeostatic response: Everything we do is about the desire to escape discomfort.
- The root cause of all distractions is uncomfortable emotional states or “internal triggers.”
Motivation And Satisfaction (11:48)
- Hedonic adaptation: Even when something good or bad happens to us, we gravitate towards our baseline level of happiness.
- In some way, Nir says the self-help industry perpetuates this myth to our detriment by feeding the message that we’re supposed to be happy all the time.
- Feeling bad is part of the human condition.
- “If satisfaction and pleasure were permanent, there might be little incentive to continue seeking benefits or advancement.”
Four Strategies To Become Indistractable (15:33)
- The first step is to master the internal triggers, to understand what is driving us towards distraction.
- Second, make time for traction. Timeboxing or making an implementation intention is planning in advance what you’re going to do and when you’re going to do it.
- Third, hack back the external triggers.
- Lastly, prevent distractions with pacts or precommitments that we can make with ourselves or with other people to avoid temptation.
Three Types Of Pact (20:40)
- Effort pact: A friction that prevents us from doing something we later regret
- Prize pact: Monetary disincentive to getting distracted
- Identity pact: Self-image can help us stay true to what we say we’re going to do
The Pattern Of Distraction: Liminal Moments (25:42)
- The three potential causes of distraction: planning problem, external trigger, or internal trigger.
- Distraction tricks you into thinking that what you’re doing is what you intend to do.
- If you accomplish something, but it’s not what you were initially planning to do for that given time, that is still a distraction.
Managing Self-Talk (29:06)
- Utilize self-compassion. More self-compassionate people are much more likely to achieve long-term goals.
- Don’t be a shamer. Negative self-talk stirs up more internal triggers.
- Don’t be a blamer. Blamers blame something outside themselves.
- Be a claimer. Claim responsibility for all of your actions. You can’t affect how you feel; you can only change how you respond to those situations.
- Get a copy of Nir Eyal’s book, “Indistractable: How To Control Your Attention And Choose Your Life.”
- Indistractable Tools
- Nir’s Free Schedule Maker
- Indistractable Supplementary Workbook
Connect with Nir through his website—NirAndFar, and get all the tools and resources that can help you manage your time and attention.
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