Nir Eyal On Creating An Indistractable Life And Techno Panic-Free Focus

Portrait of Nir Eyal for Magnetic Memory Method PodcastWriter and philosopher Paul Virilio famously said “The invention of the ship was also the invention of the shipwreck.”

In this day and age, how true, how fitting…

With every success comes unforeseen consequences.

Just look at Facebook.

Once touted as a revolutionary social networking giant, and undoubtedly the forerunner of modern digital communication, it is now more famous for its “scandals” in the 2016 US Presidential election and data breeches (i.e. selling your private data).

Do you think Mark Zuckerberg could ever have imagined this level of influence and power could be his when he dreamed up the platform in his dorm room? Or the consequences and downfall that comes with it?

And that’s just the “big stuff.” What about the role of tech and social media in our everyday lives?

Don’t we enjoy a rush of adrenaline or a bit of a dopamine spike when our device lights up and sounds that familiar ping, or we see our phone buzz on our desk?

We are, without a doubt, under a spell.

And it’s not just Facebook. I’m looking at you Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, Snapchat, and Tiktok (and whatever the hot new app is coming down the pipeline next).

The notifications call.

We answer.

And just like the Titanic, we unwittingly are steering our ship towards an iceberg, all due to distraction.

But what if our lives weren’t ruled by the hefty priced device in our pocket?

Today I sit down with bestselling writer, Nir Eyal, author of Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products and Indistractable: How to Control Your Attention and Choose Your Life.

Nir is a former Stanford Graduate School professor and accomplished and successful angel investor, consultant, and teacher. We discuss Indistractable and how you can break the cycle of “ding, glance (or in reality 30 minutes later), return to task/conversation/work/sleep, repeat.”

You don’t have to live as a slave to technology. You are not a slave of your own making. You are the captain of your ship.

Curious and want to know more? All you have to do is press play (above) now and you’ll discover:

  • Why “indistractable” is a noun, and not an adjective
  • How a moniker can set you up for success
  • The reason we can look to religion as an example of healthy habits…even if we’re “nonbelievers”
  • The benefit of teaching others to form your own identity
  • The tactful way you can encourage those around you to be “indistractable”
  • How we define social antibodies, and how they can help culture, as a whole
  • Why we should lead by example where technology dependence is concerned… but, at the same time, need to push back on the techno panics (I agree to large extent with Nir on this point, but still feel Digital Amnesia is a pressing issue and we’re too early in the game to say much either way)
  • Where blame really lies for technology addiction (and it’s not what you think)
  • Why detoxes, “30 day plans,” and other extremist responses aren’t the solution to calm a distracted mind and life
  • The reason distraction doesn’t always look like what we think (it’s not all Instagram and Candy Crush folks!)
  • The real cause of our distraction and the greatest source of distraction (hint: it’s not an outside source and Evernote is probably okay to use)
  • Why a five year plan approach isn’t the most effective measure of your values…and what is
  • The three key areas to consider when dividing and prioritizing your time

Do I Recommend Indistractable?

As a matter of fact, I do.

Anthony Metivier with a copy of Indistractable

Even though I’m goofing around in this photo, the fact is that without the techniques Nir shares, I’d be a nutcase.

No kidding.

Without knowing how to deal with distractions, I’d never be able to keep up the pace of releasing:

  • A nearly-weekly podcast
  • Weekly YouTube videos
  • Weekly blog posts
  • Quarterly new memory training products
  • Reading 2-3 books weekly

So yes, learned new concepts from this book. Very importantly, reading it reinforced old ideas that were well worth revisiting too.

Even if you think you’ve heard it all before, I promise you this book will give you some surprises, compelling new research findings and unexpected help. To wit, you even get a precious analog device that could be worth millions to you one day. (No exaggeration.)

And if you are that rare cat who really has heard it all before, then you already know the wisdom of reinforcement. You have already used the speed of implementation rule to order your copy. Congrats!

In case you don’t know that rule, watch this:

Further Resources on the Web, this podcast, and the MMM Blog:

Nir And Far (Nir’s official website)

Special link for ordering Indistractable

Nir’s scheduling tool

Nir’s distraction guide

Nir’s article on habits vs. routines

Nir on Twitter

Nir Eyal’s Morning Routine on Business Insider

Indistractable’s feature on

Timothy Moser Talks About Memory Skills and Productivity (MMM Podcast)

3 Shocking Ways Smartphone Addiction Erodes Your Brain and Memory

2 Responses

  1. I absolutely loved the interview. I like the idea of asking myself what am I really running away of when I´m procrastinating? I think isolating the problem is the start of a solution.

    1. Thanks, Dexter.

      This is a good form of self-inquiry to practice frequently.

      I think we can flip it too.

      For example, we can frequently ask what we’re moving towards and continually “stress test” that we actually want what we’re going after. I’ve found that kind of testing just as valuable since I started it circa 2011.

      Thanks again and looking forward to your next post!

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Anthony Metivier is the founder of the Magnetic Memory Method, a systematic, 21st century approach to memorizing foreign language vocabulary, names, music, poetry and more in ways that are easy, elegant, effective and fun.

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