Emails, Social feeds, binge-watch videos/shows, news, interesting articles and gossips pull you in. You realize after spending hours after hours, you’re still to act on an important office task, learn a vital skill or work towards your dreams. Say yes, if you can relate!
Moving away from distractions and stay focused is the most important skill of the 21st century. Nir Eyal, the best-selling author of hooked, puts up some excellent ideas to break away from distractions in his latest book, “Indistractable-How to Control Your Attention and Choose Your Life!”.
Let’s discuss key ideas from the #book and an immediate action plan to become #indistractable.
The Reason: Distraction Starts From Within
The pop-ups/notifications/tech are not always to be blamed, as distraction is about escaping from something uncomfortable like boredom, career dissatisfactions, business problems, or relationship issues.
1. Make your regular tasks more fun by challenging yourself, tweaks, and rewards.
2. Postpone the distracting task by 10 minutes. If urge is still there, go ahead. If not, you have won.
3. Finally, record your internal triggers/dissatisfactions when you felt distracted and just be aware of same, to not pick up the distractive tasks.
Simplify Priorities & Timebox: Imperfect but Effective
Imagine priority circles for you (most important), your relationships (family/friends/co-workers/community) and work (job/business) inside to outside.
Decide time-slots for you (exercise/reading/meditation), spouse (date), family, friends (get together), community, social network, emails, focused/uninterrupted work and so on.
Planning is always better than no plan. As uncertainties will pop-up, and sometimes you may not be able to follow, be flexible & compassionate with yourself. Learn to improvise over a period.
1. Slots with family, kids, spouse and friends, plan it as a ritual, shared activities (like book reading) and a focused topic (like college life) to discuss, not an unplanned get together/chit chat. Make it fun as much as possible.
2. Use some visual cues, headphones, hat, cape or simple placard to deter anyone to disturb you from your deep uninterrupted work.
3. Simplify emails in two folders, “Today (Need to respond today)” and “Everything Else (Check at different slot)”
Hack Back Your Time: Tech Fixes To Reclaim Time
Online feeds and apps are highly addictive by design and induce heavy dopamine (happy hormone) cycles via invoking mental triggers (notifications), demanding actions (easy/quick to do), ensuring investment (share news/opinions/life highlights) and variable rewards (likes/comments/highlights from friends) much like a slot machine to keep user glued and thrilled. Before you realise, you’ve spent hours into a rabbit hole, even at the cost of your sleep.
Now you know the design, let’s hack back your valuable time.
1. Disable notifications/badges, delete rarely used & distracting apps (Use desktop version instead) or move to last screen or bury inside a folder. Restrict screen time on apps and keep downtime at sleeping hours.
2. Use DFTube to remove suggested videos, ToDoBook to display ToDo list instead of social feeds until ticked off, and Forest for uninterrupted work on PC.
3. Except file you’re working on, keep everything else in “Everything” folder. Sort and search as needed.
Sustain: Bring Changes With & In Others
So you made it happen for a couple of days/weeks. Staying #indistractable with an ever distracting world is tough.
It’s time to bring accountability pacts and influencing the environment to remain #indistractable.
1. Find accountability partners (Friends/FocusMate app) OR make it super difficult to distract (use tech) OR keep toughest $ price for penalty OR declare/commit to a strong positive identity (like “I’m Indistractable”) publicly to stay on course.
2. Tech is not a devil, but a dysfunctional work culture is, where 24*7*365 work, panic, multi-tasking, pressure and stretched goals cause a stressful environment, indeed a fertile ground for a distracted environment and lost happiness/productivity/drive. Everyone should make workplace a safe ground to voice opinions without fear, being heard sincerely and making improvements.
3. Influence/partner with parents of community and ask/help kids to plan their indistractable life like yours while encouraging plenty of unstructured (offline) play time.
P.S — This is just a summary from my perspective.You must read this life-changing and transformational book to gain the most important skill or a superpower of 21st Century, being indistractable.
Read summary at Blinkist app (iOS/Android/Web): https://bit.ly/2YcgBFq
Read this amazing book here: