The dictionary defines the word distraction as “a thing that prevents someone from concentrating on something else.” There is no such word as “indistractible” but what that essentially means is that we somehow become immune to distraction and take back the control for our lives.
How many of us are distracted when we sit down to do a task? Does the phone notification divert away from your attention? Does that friend annoy who is always into their phones in public settings? Or how about when you want to spend time with your children but your smartphone’s pings and rings take away that time?
This is where Nir Eyal’s book comes in: help you with dealing with little things in life to allow you to take back control of your life. The book is fairly quick and easy to read but is filled with lots of big, concrete, and manageable ideas.
Nir has the expertise to deal with technology, business, and psychology, and this useful mix of knowledge is able to help the reader understand the basic nitty-gritty of the human mind and how it functions in the context of being distracted.
A common element with most of my clients in therapy is: “we don’t have time to finish what we started. We are always distracted.” To them I highly recommend this book as it is full of simple tips and easy to apply techniques to help be less distracted.
The Good News
“For many people, these distractions can get out of hand, leaving us with a feeling that our decisions are not our own. 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.
The good news is that we have the unique ability to adapt to such threats.” (page 2)
The interesting thing that Nir does in his book is to help the readers understand the external triggers that may distract us and in addition to this, also helps the readers understand their internal triggers. In the crucial chapters 6 to 8, he talks about how we can understand our internal triggers and reimagine these very triggers to help you cope with them in order to not be distracted.
The Indistractable Model
This model basically demonstrates how from the center, we should ideally be progressing towards the right- in other words, we need to make time for TRACTION, so we can move forward with our lives. The minute we allow DISTRACTION to divert us, we go back towards the left of the middle circle. Affecting our lives are INTERNAL and EXTERNAL triggers. The internal triggers are something we can mentally master and retrain our mindset to deal with. External triggers are those which we can ‘hack back’ and not allow them to take control of our lives.
In my favorite part of the book, chapters 13 to 21, Nir takes us through hacking back various external triggers. What he means by hack back is He covers areas such as the workplace, emails, cell phones, group chats, and online activity among other things. There are lots of useful tools and tips he shares with the readers in helping us take control of all these external triggers, so we can carry on with our tasks without getting distracted.
Through chapters 22 to 25, the author guides the readers some brilliant ideas on how to maintain these tips and advice so one doesn’t fall back and becomes easily distracted.
The last three parts of the books deal with dealing with distractions at the workplace and with raising children to help them deal with distractions from an early age and then working on relationships with minimal distractions (friends, spouse, etc).
“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.'” (page 3)
A lot of things are really basic and simple and if we can implement these in our lives, a lot more can be achieved and make us feel a whole lot more productive. I would highly recommend this book to those who feel easily distracted. I’ve already applied Nir’s ideas of “time-boxing”, which is scheduling tasks down in a calendar and then sticking to it, decluttering my email, managing my smartphone device and so on. Little things that are making a big difference already in my life.
The good thing is that when I am less distracted, I am able to focus more on the here and now, the present, and am able to enjoy life’s little moments a whole lot more.