Ep. 216: Nir Eyal — Easy Skills to Help You Overcome Distraction

My guest this week is Nir Eyal, author of the excellent book Indistractable: How to Control Your Attention and Choose Your Life (affiliate link). Topics we discussed included: The connection between Nir’s first and second books Nir’s own history of distraction and needing the techniques of Indistractable Using psychological principles to create positive habits the same way social media and advertising companies exploit the principles for their own profit Differentiating between helpful and harmful uses of technology The cost of pervasive distraction Missing out on the important things in life The distractibility that is part of our basic nature The inherent cost of every new technology The internal factors that often drive distraction, e.g., anxiety The 10-Minute Rule from Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) The psychological reactance that arises as a rebellion to abstinence “Surfing the urge” of challenging emotions to resist unproductive urges A fascinating study about cigarette smoking and nicotine cravings Using time boxing to prevent distraction Turning values into time Being stingy with time and generous with money Prioritizing easy and urgent work over hard and important work The tyranny of the to-do list The joy of doing exactly what you said you were going to Planning time for spontaneity Nir Eyal writes, consults, and teaches about the intersection of psychology, technology, and business. Nir previously taught as a Lecturer in Marketing at the Stanford Graduate School of Business and the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford. Nir co-founded and sold two tech companies since 2003 and was dubbed by The M.I.T. Technology Review as, “The Prophet of Habit-Forming Technology.” He is the author of two bestselling books, Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products and Indistractable (affiliate links). His books have resonated with readers worldwide, selling over 1 million copies in over 30 languages. Indistractable has received a lot of critical acclaim, winning the Outstanding Works of Literature Award as well as being named one of the Best Business and Leadership Books of the Year by Amazon and one of the Best Personal Development Books of the Year by Audible. The Globe and Mail called Indistractable, “the best business book of 2019.” In addition to blogging at NirAndFar.com, Nir’s writing has been featured in The New York Times, The Harvard Business Review, Time Magazine, and Psychology Today. Nir attended The Stanford Graduate School of Business and Emory University. Find Nir online at his website and connect with him on LinkedIn, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

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The Think Act Be podcast features conversations about finding happiness, peace, and connection. Each week your host, psychologist Seth Gillihan, talks with his guests about effective ways to face life’s challenges: What thoughts serve us well? What actions promote well-being? How can we practice mindful presence? Guests from a wide range of backgrounds share their expertise on ways to nourish our minds, bodies, and spirits.