Is This What You Planned?
What did you do yesterday? Was it what you meant to do?
According to Nir Eyal in his new book Indistractable, success is accomplishing what you intend, even if it is watching a video or taking a nap.
But how can we stay on track to do what we plan?
That’s the hard part. That’s what Eyal writes about in Indistractable: How to Control Your Attention and Choose Your Life.
We tend to blame technology and our phones for distracting us from what we really want to do. We get sucked into time warps with social media and internet surfing and looking at Pinterest.
But people have always found ways to be distracted. If not technology, it’s something else. The problem isn’t the medium of distraction (although some things are more tempting than others); the problem is ourselves.
“Traction helps us accomplish goals; distraction leads us away from them.”
The Indistractable Model
Eyal presents us with The Indistractable Model, four steps to become indistractable:
1. Master INTERNAL TRIGGERS
Identify and manage the psychological discomfort that leads you off track. The drive to relieve discomfort is the root cause of our behavior; everything else is a proximate cause. Time management is pain management.
2. Make time for TRACTION
Turn your values into time. You actually perform better under constraints because limitations give you a structure. Book 15 minutes on your schedule every week to reflect and refine your calendar. You can’t call something a distraction unless you know what it is distracting you from.
3. Hack back EXTERNAL TRIGGERS
Remove external triggers to keep distractions out. Is this trigger serving you, or are you serving it? Many things become irrelevant when you give them a little time to breathe. Even desktop clutter takes a heavy psychological toll on your attention.
4. Prevent DISTRACTION with pacts
Being indistractable not only requires keeping distraction out. It also necessitates keeping yourself in. Rein yourself in with the ancient practice of precommitment, but only after applying the first three steps. Make unwanted behaviors more difficult to do.
Are You Phubbing?
Eyal presents both psychological theories as well as practical tips for how to become indistractable in a variety of situations, such as in the workplace, among friends, in intimate relationships, with children, even in meetings and group chats.
Some of the advice you may have heard before, but other parts are new or at least rebranded (you may be a phubber* even if you don’t call it that).
Thanks to Eyal, I’m having to rethink how I handle (or give in to) my own distractions and where I’m placing my attention.
Because how we control our attention is how we choose our life.
It’s worth our full focus.
* * *
What distracts YOU the most? How do you refocus? Please share in the comments.
* Phubbing = a combination of “phone” and “snubbing;” paying more attention to your phone than to people
My thanks to Net Galley
for the review copy of this book
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