Daily Column – 1st May 2022

By now, you might have checked Instagram twice, looked at TikTok, and opened seven new browser tabs with no idea which site you were going to visit.

Getting off track is easy. When Nir Eyal wrote Indistractable in 2019, it was to help us live a more intentional life. It has lots of practical advice on how to turn distraction into progress. Three years later, it is still as important as ever.

We talked to Nir and never lost our attention.

In how do people know when they’re a little too busy? Is it possible for someone to use their phone while they’re in the bathroom and think, “I’m not distracted.” Just my life now in 2022. When I’m in the bathroom, I check my phone.

If you spend your time the way you want to, you aren’t being distracted. As someone who’s like me, I’d be someone who said they’d do something and then did something else. I want to cater to that person. My plan was to work out, but I didn’t. A lot of people say that they want me to be fully present with them, but instead of really being there for them, I used my phone. We have a problem when we say we’re going to do something, but then we do something else.

Is it a good idea to use distractions as a “thank you”? As in telling myself that if I finish a big project, I can scroll on TikTok for a while.

You want the reward to be a way to keep the behaviour going. So, this is the difference between an extrinsic reward and a reward that comes from inside of you: It’s like getting a trophy, badge, or something else that has nothing to do with the behaviour itself. Extrinsic rewards can make people less creative and less likely to keep doing what they’re doing for a long time. But if you can get a reward that has something to do with the behaviour itself, like a better pair of running shoes, that would be a reward that is part of the behaviour. But a much better reward is to learn to love running: to enjoy it. When someone says that they can play a video game for 30 minutes after they’ve worked a little bit. This is not something I’d say. It’s a good idea to work for 30 minutes, then figure out when you’re going to go on social media or play video games.

2019 was the year you wrote this book, and it seems like you were very focused on being indiscriminate at the time. Have you seen that level of commitment stay the same over the last three years?

Oh my gosh, in every way possible. At 44, I’m in the best shape of my life. As a little bit of an embarrassment, I’m going to tell you about my six pack. I’m also a little proud of it. The only reason I do this is because I work out every day. Because I say I will, I eat right. People like my daughter and wife more than ever because I’m fully present with them. As the world gets more and more distracting, two kinds of people will emerge: those who let others manipulate and control their time and attention, and those who say no and say, “I will decide how I spend my time because I am indistractable.” This is the skill of the century.

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