Indistractable

Indistractable

Indistractable is a book written by Nir Eyal, a public speaker and business consultant.

This book is a great read for all those who want to learn more about how to live life on our terms and to understand the real reasons why we do things that don’t align with our values.

In this summary, we will outline the key ideas from Eyal to help you become “indistractable” in what you do.

Rethink the Approach to Internal Triggers

Distraction is a prime way of dealing with discomfort and an unhealthy way to escape reality.

Learning to deal with it requires regular reality checks and the exploration of internal triggers.

Dealing with discomfort and finding triggers for distractions comes down to a simple algorithm:

  • Find the emotions before distraction triggers. Write down the trigger and include information like the time of occurrence, what were you doing, and how you felt.
  • Explore these negative emotions with curiosity, as an observer.
  • Become aware of liminal moments like transitions that move you from one daily task to another.

Another approach you can take to become “indistractable” is by gamifying your tasks.

Instead of looking at tedious tasks negatively try to find small challenges you didn’t think of before. Make it fun and less boring by trying to outdo your previous self.

When you get distracted, don’t be too hard on yourself. Rather than considering yourself as a failure for getting distracted just be more self-compassionate.

Align your self-talk to how you would try to cheer up your best friend.

Make Time For Traction

If you don’t plan tasks on your own or someone else will. To avoid this, determine why you want to do something based on your values.

Schedule time for traction with actions that move your goals forward.

An effective way to do so is by time boxing where you decide what to do and when to do it.

Here are a few tips for time boxing:

  • Focus on input, not on output
  • There are some things we can’t control that tend to overwhelm us. Focus on things you can control instead to avoid the allure of distraction.

  • Schedule time for yourself
  • Take care of yourself and timebox tasks for self-development.

  • Allocate time for important relationships
  • If you don’t want to lose important people from your life – make time for them. By doing so, you also work on your social skills.

  • Sync your schedule with clients
  • Make your calendar visible to your clients for them to know when they shouldn’t distract you.

The point of timeboxing is to schedule tasks that align with your values and the way you want to live your life.

Eliminate External Triggers

Is the trigger serving you, or are you serving the trigger? That’s the question you want to ask yourself to determine if the trigger leads to traction or distraction.

To become “indistractable”, you should take care of some common external distraction triggers.

  1. On your smartphone, delete apps you don’t need and are addicted to. Disable sound and visual notifications when you want to focus.
  2. When consuming content online, try to save the interesting pieces for later rather than endlessly scrolling through useless content.
  3. Use apps to block social media feeds and resist the urge of mindlessly checking for likes or messages.
  4. At work, send fewer emails to get less of them. Delay email delivery to reduce endless back-and-forth communication. Process emails in batches to avoid getting distracted.

Business meetings should be conducted only if there is an agenda and brief before it.

Make sure to be fully present at meetings and remove your smartphone from the meeting to avoid distraction.

Use Pacts to Prevent Distractions

Pre-commitment is a great strategy to remove future distraction opportunities but will only work if you’ve mastered the previous three ideas.

It’s executed by pacts and there are three types of them:

  1. Effort Pact
  2. Prevents distraction by making it more difficult to distract yourself. This is done by using application blocking software.

  3. Price Pact
  4. Putting money on the side to encourage you to do what you say you will. In this case, you stick to the plan and keep the money, or get distracted and throw away the money.

  5. Identity Pact
  6. Take actions aligned with your identity. For instance, if you think of yourself as “indistractable”, this will empower you to be less prone to distractions. It can be a new expression of your identity.

Focus On Your Goals and Become “Indistractable”

The point that Nir Eyal wants to convey with his book is that there are two types of people out there; those that let their attention be controlled by others and those who own their time and future.

Distractions themselves are not a choice but managing them is a conscious choice.

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