book covers indistractable

A 5 Minute Overview Of


How to Control Your Attention and Choose Your Life

About the Author

Nir Eyal is a public speaker and business consultant. In addition to running his consulting firm, he also works as a behavioral design consultant, an investor , and as CEO of AdNectar, Inc., a social media advertising company. Nir Eyal was previously CEO of a renewable energy company, a lecturer at Stanford University, and an associate with Boston Consulting Group. He is also the author of the bestselling book Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products. Nir Eyal is a graduate of the Stanford University Graduate School of Business and Emory University.

The Main Idea

Many products made today are deliberately designed to be captivating and habit forming — which is OK but that also means they are distracting. In fact, if you look around, you'll notice that distractions are pervasive in the digital age. If you're not careful, you can fritter away all your time on interesting things, and have little or no time available for your most productive activities.

To avoid that fate, you've got to learn how to become indistractable.

Becoming indistractable involves four steps:

Being indistractable means striving to do what you say you will do. For years you've been conditioned to expect instant gratification. The antidote to impulsiveness is forethought. Planning ahead ensures you will follow through. With these techniques, you'll learn exactly what to do from this day forth to control your attention and choose your life. The fact is, in this day and age, if you are not equipped to manage distraction, your brain will be manipulated by time-wasting diversions. In the future, there will be two kinds of people in the world: those who let their attention and lives be controlled and coerced by others and those who proudly call themselves 'indistractable.'
Nir Eyal

The Keys to Controlling Your Attention

Step #1 — Expand your internal triggers. Triggers can lead to either traction (moving towards your goals) or distraction (movement away from your goals). You need to make sure that your internal triggers are providing you with cues to act to move forward, not backwards.

Step #2 — Make more time for traction. Traction is good, it's what you want more of. Traction draws you towards what you want more of in life. The best way to generate more traction is still to time box your day in terms of time you spend on work, relationships, and you. Have a calendar which reflects your values, and make sure you build in a set weekly time where you reflect and refine what you're doing.

Step #3 — Eliminate external triggers. To become indistractable, you have to eliminate all the external triggers which try and gain unauthorized access to your time and resources. The key to doing this is disarmingly simple. Every time you receive any kind of external trigger, pause and ask yourself: "Is this trigger serving me, or am I serving it?" Use the helpful external triggers, and give yourself full permission to ignore completely any unhelpful triggers.

Step #4 — Pacts to prevent distractions. Focus not only requires that you keep distractions out, but also that you have systems to stop yourself from sliding into distractions unawares. The best way to do that is to make a precommitment, a pact, that removes future opportunities for distraction. This will only work if you have first dealt effectively with internal triggers, removed external triggers, and set aside time for traction.

Summaries.Com Editor's Comments

I found it a little bit ironic at first that the author of the book Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products would then turn around and write a book about how to avoid all those distractions. Then I realized he was talking about the same topic really from two different directions. If you understand how to make a habit-forming product, you're also in a good position to describe how to avoid getting sucked in to those products.

Indistractable is a great book. It contains lots of real-world examples and some very solid ideas and processes. I agree this is the scourge of the digital age and that becoming indistractable is a key skill for today. Very solid ideas in this book. Well worth reading.

Learn how to control your attention today.

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