If you struggle with feeling distracted, you likely think that modern technology is to blame, and that if your phone wasn’t so infuriatingly desirable to check, you’d be a lot more focused and productive.
But my guest today argues that the problem of distraction doesn’t lie with technology, but with you. His name is Nir Eyal, and he’s a behavioral design expert and the author of Indistractable: How to Control Your Attention and Choose Your Life. Today on the show we first discuss Nir’s work in helping companies create apps that hook people into using them, and why he thinks these methods of attraction can be positive as long as you put tech in its place. We then dig into how to do that, beginning with the idea that you can’t complain about being distracted, if you don’t know what you’re distracted from, how the first step in getting control of your attention is understanding what you’d like to be doing with it by planning out your time, and why the opposite of distraction isn’t focus. We discuss why time management is pain management, and why we need to get comfortable with the uncomfortable internal triggers that prompt us to use our devices for emotional pacification. Nir then walks us through how to deal with the external triggers of distraction, including managing your email inbox, making pre-commitments, and turning indistractability into part of your identity.
- Why Nir wrote Hooked, which is all about capturing people’s attention
- How uncertainty keeps us scrolling and scrolling
- Parents, their phones, and kids
- Why blaming the technology isn’t very productive (and what the root cause of distraction really is)
- What does the word “distraction” really mean?
- Internal triggers vs external triggers when it comes to being attached to your phone and apps
- How tech has become a modern bogeyman
- The power of setting implementation intentions
- Why strict abstinence doesn’t always work
- Time boxing and schedule syncing
- How to hack back our attention
- The real reason email takes up so much of your attention and time
- Other actions to take when your internal triggers are pulling you to distraction
- Blaming, shaming, and why neither are good for you
- What are pre-commitments? How can they help us beat distraction?
Resources/People/Articles Mentioned in Podcast
- Hooked (Nir’s first book)
- What Makes Your Phone So Addictive
- Bible App
- Skinner box
- Feel Busy and Distracted? Here’s How to Take Control
- Becoming a Digital Minimalist
- How to Beat Distraction and Stay Focused
- Americans Panic Over Tech Addiction
- The Power of Implementations Intentions
- Podcast #214: How to Have a Good Day, Every Day
- Nir’s schedule maker tool
- How to Avoid Distraction in a World Full of It
- Stop Confusing Habits for Routines
- How and Why to Hold a Weekly Marriage Meeting
Connect With Nir
Listen to the Podcast! (And don’t forget to leave us a review!)
Recorded on ClearCast.io
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