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Nir Eyal: Indistractable

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Nir Eyal

Nir Eyal: Indistractable

In conversation with Will Bachman


International bestselling author, former Stanford lecturer, and behavioral design expert, Nir Eyal, joined Umbrex Presents to discuss his bestselling book Indistractable: How to Control Your Attention and Choose Your Life.

September 23, 2022
08:00 AM
- 09:00 AM
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International bestselling author, former Stanford lecturer, and behavioral design expert, Nir Eyal, joined Umbrex Presents to discuss his bestselling book Indistractable: How to Control Your Attention and Choose Your Life.

In a world where working from home and social distancing has caused us to rely heavily on technology and social media to connect, it becomes harder to go through life indistractable.  When uncontrolled, those distractions wreak havoc on your professional, personal, and mental wellbeing.

“Being indistractable means you are the kind of person who strives to do what they say they are going to do,” Eyal explained. “You are as honest with yourself as you are with others.”

This doesn’t mean that you never get distracted, he pointed out.

“That’s impossible. All of us get distracted from time to time. The difference between a distractable person and an indistractable person is that an indistractable person understands the deeper psychology around why they got distracted, so they can do something about it to prevent it from happening again.”

While everyone gets distracted from time to time, the difference is whether you allow yourself to continue to get distracted, or take action to make yourself indistractable.

“I think it’s the skill of the century,” Eyal said.

So, how do we become indistractable?

Discover the root cause of distraction

The opposite of distraction is traction. Eyal defined the two words in contrast:

  • Traction: Actions done with intent that push you towards your goals.
  • Distraction: Any thing or action that pulls you further away from your goals.

“Anything that is not planned, anything that is not done with intent is distraction,” he said. “the most deleterious type of distraction is not the obvious stuff. It’s not the video games, it’s not social media. It’s the stuff that tricks us into not even realizing we’re distracted in the first place.”

For example, you plan to start a big project you’ve had on your to-do list — but first, you check your email “real quick.” You check Slack. You log into a social media site.

These are distractions that trick us into prioritizing the urgent and the easy-to-do tasks at the expense of the hard and important work we have to do to move our lives and careers forward.

Just because something is a work-related task, doesn’t mean it’s not a distraction. If you didn’t plan to use that time the way you are using it — that is by definition a distraction.

Learn how to identify and write down your distraction triggers

Once we understand that, the next question is: What prompts us to take those actions of distraction?

Eyal identified two kinds of triggers:

  • External triggers
  • Internal triggers

He outlined a four-step model to becoming indistractable:

Step 1: Master your internal triggers

If you don’t master internal triggers, they become your master.

These are uncomfortable emotional states that we seek to escape. They account for 90% of our distractions.

That might be watching too much news, drinking too much alcohol, getting on Facebook too much, etc. Time management is pain management.

“You will always get distracted unless you understand the reason behind that distraction,” Eyal said. “That uncomfortable emotional itch: boredom, loneliness, fatigue, uncertainty, anxiety, stress. These are the internal triggers that drive us to escape discomfort.”

It’s vital to understand how to deal with these uncomfortable emotional states. High performers take these uncomfortable feelings (fear, insecurity, doubt) and use it as rocket fuel to push themselves forward towards traction.

“Everything else that’s in my book does not work unless you know how to deal with those uncomfortable emotional states, because if you don’t know what to do when you feel that boredom, that insecurity that stress, that anxiety, the guilt — it’s going to get you every time,” Eyal said.

“I can’t emphasize this enough, you need those arrows in your quiver ready to go. So that when you feel that discomfort, you know what to do with it, so that it leads you towards traction rather than distraction.”

Step 2: Make time for traction

In order to do what we said we were going to do, we need to make time for it.

You cannot call something a distraction unless you know what it distracted you from, Eyal said.

Often, when people feel distracted by multiple external triggers, they can’t identify what their intent was that they were distracted from. Their calendar was empty. The vast majority people have big chunks of hours of whitespace.

“We need to plan our time, because if we don’t, somebody is going to plan it for us,” he said.

Many people use to-do lists to plan their time and actions, but Eyal believes they can be counter-productive. Lists are limitless; there’s no constraint to them, and you can always keep adding more and more to your lists.

“Because people don’t finish everything on a to-do list, they’re reinforcing their identity as someone who doesn’t do what they say they’re going to do,” he said. “And identity plays a huge role in our behavior.”

So day after day, week after week, when we look at that to-do list of all the things we didn’t accomplish — even though we may have felt busy all day — it can become toxic to our personal productivity.

There’s nothing wrong with taking things in your brain and putting it on a piece of paper. But that’s just step one. The next step is to put that those tasks on your calendar — and not just for work. Everything you plan to do can be put on your schedule so it’s planned with intent — from work projects to exercise, social media, reading, bedtime, etc.

Eyal said there are three life domains:

  • You: You have to take care of yourself in order to care for others and do your best work.
  • Relationships: Schedule time with people you care about.
  • Work: Most people prioritize the work domain, but the first two domains are most important because you need them to function their best in order to do your work properly.

He pointed out that by scheduling or time boxing all the domains of your life — rather than creating to-do lists — we focus on the important aspect, which is doing what you intended to do, for as long as you intended to do it.

“The right metric is not finishing the task,” he said. “The only thing that matters is did I do what I said I was going to do? For as long as I said I would without distraction? Studies find that people who measure themselves based on that one fact finish more than the to-do list people.”

Step 3: Hack back your external triggers

These are the “pings and rings” from the outside environment that lead us towards distraction or traction.

For example, an alert about new email in your inbox, when your intent is something other than checking email, is an external trigger for distraction — it leads you to do something other than what you intended.

On the other hand, if you plan to go to the gym or plan to attend a meeting and an alarm on your phone alerts you to that event — that’s a useful external trigger that leads to traction.

Research shows that external triggers are only 10% of the reason we get distracted. Most of the time, it’s not something happening outside us that distracts us.

Step 4: Prevent distraction with pacts

Pacts are pre-commitment devices that allow you to deal with distraction.

There are a few different types of pacts:

  • Effort pact: Putting some effort in between yourself and the distraction so we are less likely to get distracted.
  • Price pact: Some kind of monetary disincentive for not getting distracted.
  • Social pact: A pact you make with another person to hold each other accountable.
  • Identity pact: Identifying who you are and how you behave in the world, that makes you more likely to follow through (think about religious designations and how people follow their doctrines).

Use the four techniques in concert

“This has been shown to be an incredibly effective technique, if it’s done in the right order,” Eyal said. “As the firewall against distraction, we can erect these pacts to make sure that it when all else fails, that we not only keep distractions out, but we keep ourselves in and focused on the task at hand.”

He stressed that we need to learn how to do all four steps to become indistractable. Simply scheduling or time boxing your actions won’t work if you don’t know how to control your internal, emotional triggers as well as how to take back external triggers. It won’t work if you don’t make pacts to make sure you stay in the task at hand.

What people are saying about Indistractable: 

“Indistractable is the most practical and realistic approach to balancing technology with well-being. A must-read for anyone with a smartphone.”
—Mark Manson, author of The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck

“This is such an important book. Indistractable is the best guide I’ve read for reclaiming our attention, our focus, and our lives.”
—Arianna Huffington, founder and CEO of Thrive, Global and founder of The Huffington Post

“In the future, there will be two kinds of people in the world: those who read and apply the principles in Indistractable and those who wish they had read it sooner.”
—Kintan Brahmbhatt, global head of product at Amazon Music

This was recorded on September 23, 2022 08:00 AM

Will Bachman 0:03
Hello everyone and welcome to this episode of Umbrex presents. I’m so excited to have mir al here, author of in distractible, how to control your attention and your life also the author of hooked best seller, extremely influential in Silicon Valley near is joining us from Singapore near welcome. Why don’t you start out by telling us a bit about what it means to be in distractible and give us an overview of your four part model. We’re going to roll into some exercise afterwards. But it’s important that we start with a framework.

Unknown Speaker 0:36
Sure, absolutely. So being in distractible means you are the kind of person who strives to do what they say they’re going to do. It means that you are as honest with yourself as you are with others. It doesn’t mean you never get distracted. So I made up the term and distractible so I can define it any way I want. And so the term does not mean that you never get a strike. That’s impossible. All of us gets a strike from time to time. The difference between a distractible person and an indestructible person is that an indestructible person understands the deeper psychology around why they got distracted, so that they can do something about it to prevent it from happening again. Coil coil, sorry, coil coil has a wonderful quote. He said, a mistake repeated more than once is a decision. I’ll say it again. In fact, good. A mistake repeated more than once is a decision. So my point is that you know, how many times can we keep complaining about these distractions? How much are we gonna blame Facebook? How much are we gonna blame Netflix? How much are we gonna blame our kids? How much are we gonna blame our boss? How much are we going to blame our clients? How much are we going to blame television before we say okay enough. These things distract us. Of course they do. But they don’t have to keep distracting us. So distractible person keeps getting distracted again and again by the same things. So they’re making a decision to be distractible. an indestructible person says, Ah, I see what you did there. I’m not going to let it happen again, by understanding the deeper psychology behind why we get distracted in the first place. So that’s what it means to be in distractible. And I think it’s the skill of the century. Because there is no part of your life, whether it’s your physical health, your mental well being, your relationships, your career. All of these things require you to be able to choose how you harness and allocate your attention. This is truly how we choose our life. And so I think it’s the skill of the century because if you think the world is distracting now, just wait a few years, right between augmented reality and virtual reality whatever is going on in reality reality, the world is only going to become a more distracted place. So there will be a bifurcation already is between people who let their time and attention be controlled by others. And people who say no, I will decide for myself, I will control my attention. I will choose my life.

Will Bachman 2:47
Yeah. So walk us through. So it seems like being in distractible is being at least mindful when we’re being distracted and taking steps to address it. Walk us through just to give us an overview. Before we dive into some the exercises, give us an overview of your four part model of how we need to fight it. Yeah,

Unknown Speaker 3:09
so the best place to begin is to understand what this term even means. What is distraction, I love to look at the etymology of words and really understand the first principle is behind a term. And so the best way to understand what distraction is is to understand what distraction is not. So if you ask most people, what is the opposite of distraction? What’s the antonym? Most people will tell you the opposite of distraction is focus. That’s not true. If you look at the origin of the word, the opposite of distraction is not focus. Distraction comes from the Latin root Troy hurry, which means to pull. And the opposite of distraction is traction, traction and distraction, of course, right, those are opposites. So traction, by definition is any action that pulls you comes from the same Latin root for Ha, right. It’s any action that pulls you towards what you said you were going to do, things that you are doing with intent, things that move you closer to your values that help you become the kind of person you want to become. Those are acts of traction, acts of distraction, or any action that pulls you further away from your goals further away from your values further away from becoming the kind of person you want to become. So this isn’t just semantics. This is fundamental because I would argue that any action can be traction or distraction based on one word, and that one word is intent. Okay? So right now we are in this media, moral panic, around distraction, that technology is melting your brain that Facebook is addicting everyone, and that all these things are somehow morally reprehensible. And this happens every time there’s a new technology and I’m here to tell you, the problem. Ain’t the technology that in fact, anything you want to do with your time and attention. Great, do it enjoy. You want to go play video games? Have fun. Do you want to go hang out on social Media wonderful, but do it according to your values and according to your schedule, not the tech companies. Okay, so we need to stop moralizing and medicalizing how people spend their free time and realize that anything you plan to do in advance is traction. Conversely, and this is where a lot of people get into trouble. Anything that is not planned, anything that is not done with intent is distraction. So what I discovered in my five years of research writing this book, is that the most evil the most, the most awful, the most deleterious type of distraction is not the obvious stuff. It’s not the video games, it’s not social media. It’s the stuff that tricks us into not even realizing we’re distracted in the first place. Let me give you a great example. For years, I would sit down at my desk, and I’d say, Okay, now I’m gonna get started. Got this big long to do list, by the way we can get back to why to do lists are one of the worst things you can do for your personal productivity. We can talk about that a minute. But I would use this to do as I said, okay, because there’s that big thing I’ve been putting off this thing that I have to get to, I’m gonna get started and nothing’s gonna get in my way. Here I go, right now, I’m gonna get started. Nothing’s gonna distract me.

Unknown Speaker 6:11
But first, let me check some email. Right, let me just check in Slack real quick and see what’s happening around the watercooler or let me just, you know, check social media for a quick minute just to clear it away, or let me work on that little project. That’s, that’s on my to do list further down on my to do list just so I can get some momentum going, right. So I can feel like I’m making progress, because that’s a work related tasks, right, I gotta check email at some point in my day. And you see, this is the most awful most deleterious form of distraction, the distractions that trick us into prioritizing the urgent and the easy to do tasks at the expense of a hard and important work we have to do to move our lives and careers forward. So this is a big revelation. Just because something is a work related task, doesn’t mean it’s not a distraction. If you didn’t plan to use that time, the way you’re using it. It is by definition, a distraction, even if it’s a work related tasks. Okay, so we’ve got traction, we’ve got distraction. Now the question is what prompts us to take these actions? Well, we’ve got two kinds of triggers. We have the external triggers, the external triggers are the usual suspects, the pings, the dings, the rings, anything in our outside environment that can lead us towards traction or distraction, if it’s something you plan to do. For example, if you plan to go to the gym, and you have an alarm on your phone that says, hey, now it’s time to go or a phone call or meeting, those can be very useful external triggers. But if you plan to do one thing, and now you’re doing something else, because of pinging a ring, well, that external trigger has led you towards distraction. So that’s the usual suspects. When people talk about the distractions they talk about, okay, we need to turn off our phones, we need to grayscale the phone screen and all kinds of that’s kindergarten stuff, okay, everybody can do that. You don’t need to read a whole book to tell you how to manage external triggers. Because I’m here to tell you that the research shows that external triggers are only 10% of the reason we get distracted. Studies have found that when people are distracted by their digital devices in particular, only 10% of the time is it because of a painting or ring. So what’s the other 90% the other 90% of the time that we get distracted, we don’t get distracted, because of what’s happening outside of us. We get distracted because of what’s happening inside of us. So the source of almost all our distractions are what we call internal triggers. These are uncomfortable emotional states that we seek to escape. And again, they account for 90% of our distractions. So whether it’s too much news, too much Booz too much football too much Facebook, you will always get distracted, unless you understand the reason behind that distraction that uncomfortable emotional itch, boredom, loneliness, fatigue, uncertainty, anxiety, stress. These are the internal triggers that drive us to escape discomfort. One of the biggest revelations I had in the five years of research into the core psychology of distraction is that overwhelmingly, distraction is a desire to escape discomfort. And in fact, all human behavior is about a desire to escape discomfort, even the pursuit of pleasurable sensations are also psychologically destabilizing. So if all human behavior think about this, if all human behavior is driven by a desire to escape discomfort, that must therefore mean that time management is pain management. Let me say that again. Time management is pain management. We have to understand the deeper reasons why despite saying we want to do something, I want to work out, I want to finish my novel, I want to work on that big project. We don’t do it. Why? Fundamentally, overwhelmingly, because we don’t know how to deal with these uncomfortable sensations. So now we can talk about the model that the first step to becoming a distract Trouble is to master these internal triggers or they become our master. That’s step number one. So now we have remember, we had the model of traction and distraction. Now we have internal triggers and external triggers. So now we work our way clockwise through these four steps. Step number one, master the internal triggers, or they become your master. Step number two, make time for traction. We want to do that by turning our values into time, we could talk about how to do that a little later. Step number three, even though they account for only 10% of the reason we get distracted and distracted, the external triggers. Step number three is to hack back the external triggers. We all know that these external triggers are designed to hack our attention. Does anybody not know how Facebook makes money? Same way, the New York Times makes money, they sell your attention, your eyeballs to advertisers, they hack our attention. But guess what we can hack back. So I’ll show you exactly how to do that as well. And then the fourth step is to prevent distraction with PACs, we use what’s called a pre commitment device. And this has been shown to be an incredibly effective technique, if it’s done in the right order. So as the last line of defense, the firewall against distraction, we can erect these barriers, these firewalls, these pacts to make sure that it when all else fails, that we not only keep distractions out, but we keep ourselves in and focused on the task at hand by creating one of these paths. So those are the four steps to becoming a distractible, Master internal triggers, make time for traction, hack back the external triggers and prevent distraction with packs. And it’s with those four steps that anyone can become into distractible.

Will Bachman 11:30
Fantastic. I want to ask you later about to do lists because I’ve got a to do list right here. And I’m feeling a little defensive about that. But before we get to talk about it, I want to let’s dive in to that first one master trigger, you have a talk in the book and you’ve just said that time management is about pain management, it’s about avoiding pain. I’d like you to tee up an exercise that we’ll we’ll do collectively here. Tell us a little bit about when we are distracted, where we’re trying to avoid discomfort, what are the types of pain that we’re trying to avoid? Give us a little intro on that?

Unknown Speaker 12:11
Yeah, so it’s, it’s an emotion. So it’s an emotion in your internal triggers an uncomfortable emotional state that we seek to escape. So it could be loneliness, boredom, fatigue, stress, anxiety, any of these uncomfortable sensations that we cope with that we escape with distraction. Now, the interesting thing is, what we find is that high performers feel the exact same internal triggers. It’s not that high performers don’t feel these internal triggers. They just deal with them differently. So what we find is across the board that high performers will take that emotional discomfort, they’ll take the insecurity, they’ll take the doubt, they’ll take the fear, they’ll take the stress, and they’ll use it as rocket fuel to push themselves forward towards distraction. distractible people. However, when they feel that distraction, they look for escape, okay, they take a drink, they use the remote to click through the channels, they’ll scroll a feed the look for something to take their mind off of that discomfort. And so what we want to do is to harness those uncomfortable sensations to move us towards traction, as opposed to trying to escape them with distraction.

Will Bachman 13:17
All right, fantastic. So that leads us into our first exercise. So what we’re gonna ask everyone to do is take a minute to think of one time that you were distracted yesterday, right? Just take a minute think of that. And then what was the trigger? What was the pain you were experiencing? Before you gave into that distraction? So take a minute to the extent that you feel comfortable, you can share the details in the chat share, either at the high level, what was or even as specific as possible, what was the thing that you were distracted from? And what was the pain you’re feeling? So let’s, let’s take a minute to do that. Do you have any other guidance on that one there? Any other?

Unknown Speaker 14:02
Yeah, I would, I would think to yourself, you know, what, what tends to distract you? Or do you think about yesterday, if you didn’t finish everything on your to do list by the way, this is one of the reasons that to do lists are so counterproductive? Is that that to do lists are limitless. There’s no constraint to it to do lists, you can always add more and more and more and more. And so one of the things that we find with to do lists is that because people don’t finish everything on a to do list, they’re reinforcing their identity. And we know identity plays a huge role in our behavior. They’re reinforcing their identity as someone who doesn’t do what they say they’re going to do. Right? So what happens is day after day, week, after week, year after year, you are reinforcing when you look at that to do list of all the things you didn’t accomplish at the end of your day, even though you felt busy all day. You’re reinforcing your your your identity as someone who didn’t do what they’ve said they were going to do, loser. And so this is one of the big reasons that to do lists can be so toxic for personal productivity. And there’s a way around that but we can get to in a minute. But I want you to think to yourself, if you are the kind of person who has a to do list TiVo, TiVo. Think to yourself, why didn’t you do everything on that to do list? What got in your way you plan to do x, y, z? What was the thing that distracted you? What was that distraction? What did you do instead of the thing you want to do? And then take it a layer deeper? Okay, what were you feeling before you check email for a little longer than you’ve planned? Or you watch TV or you were scrolling social media or whatever it was that you did instead of the thing you plan to do? All right.

Will Bachman 15:26
Excellent. All right, well, so we’ll take 60 seconds here think of one distraction and then what was the pain you were experiencing?

All right, we’ve had a few responses near Do you have any reactions to any of the chat that we’ve come in?

Unknown Speaker 17:24
Yeah, these are terrific. So I love how many of these could get right to the point, that doesn’t usually happen so quickly that people start tossing out emotions right away. You know, somebody said, boredom, someone said, Fear, someone said anxiety, someone said, uncertainty, guilt, a lot of emotions coming through here. And it’s amazing, you know, many times what happens is distraction. Is is there to trick you. Distraction is there to make you rationalize why you got distracted. And so your brain won’t actually validate whether the fear the guilt, the uncertainty, the stress is real. Because what it wants to get you to do is to escape as quickly as possible, the brain is a cognitive miser. So whatever is going to give you the least steps, the least effort, the least cognitive load, to get out of pain, especially if that’s a pattern you’ve repeated again, and again. And again. That’s what your brain is going to tell you to do. And it’s going to rationalize why you did it. And so what’s interesting is you can start seeing and many of these, in many of folks comments here, that what they thought was the guilt, the fear, the boredom, the need the stressor. What’s the really the case? It was an illusion, right? It was the guilt, I felt that I needed to help somebody or that a client was waiting, or that my kid needed me. And look, sometimes there’s emergency, sometimes there are things that cannot be planned for the 100 million occurrence. But that’s very, very, very rare, right? If it doesn’t, if it really it can’t be planned for then, of course, we have to take care of it. Those are crisis situations, what’s the definition of a crisis situation that must be dealt with immediately, or really bad things are going to happen. But almost everything that people posted, not a crisis, very plantable. Somebody called me and I didn’t really feel like doing a project. So I went to help them. Super, super fun, super common, very altruistic, in fact, but again, that’s your brain tricking you into saying, well, that’s a good way for me to get out of having to do what I really don’t want to do. Let me go help this person because I’m a good person. I can’t say I can’t tell them. I’m busy right now. I can’t tell him I’m indestructible. So it’s interesting. What we want to do is to get to the deeper reason. excuse I hear a lot and I’ve started to have a taxonomy of all these excuses that I’ve heard over the years and nothing stumped me yet. One of the most common excuses I hear is that I was worried that my team would think I was I wasn’t working, right or I was worried that the client needed me. And of course the answer to that is what would have happened if you would have waited 30 minutes? Nothing. Right? If you You say I’m going to work without distraction for 30 minutes, because that’s what I said I was going to do, I’m going to have my focus work time. And guess what your people will accept the fact that you can’t call them right away, you know, every 30 seconds, so they know that, but in this day and age to do your best work, you have to work with that distraction. And so whether it’s even 15 minutes, 20 minutes, 30 minutes, having that that time block set aside, that we’ll talk about this in the next exercise is absolutely critical. Because one thing we know for sure, is that you cannot do your best work. If you are constantly distracted. If you are constantly going from this to that to the other. You can’t think you can’t concentrate, you can’t be creative, you cannot do your best work if you’re constantly ping pong from

Will Bachman 20:42
one place to the next. Okay, so let’s, Alison, I see your hand let’s we want to get into this next exercise in the section. And then and then and then we’ll get to you, Allison. So in the next section here, we start talking about making time for traction, you’ve already mentioned, it’s important to plan. And you mentioned timeboxing, lead us into section two here where we can start actually taking action to make time for things. Give us an overview of that concept. Sure.

Unknown Speaker 21:13
So there’s about a dozen or a dozen different things you can do to master those internal triggers. That’s step one, everything else that you’re about to learn everything else that’s in my book does not work unless you know how to deal with those uncomfortable emotional states because they will when if you don’t know what to do, when you feel that boredom, that insecurity that stress, that anxiety, the guilt, it’s going to get you every time. So step number one, I can’t emphasize this enough, you need those arrows in your quiver ready to go. So that when you feel that discomfort, you know what to do with it, so that it leads you towards traction rather than distraction. Step number two is to make time for traction. We talked about traction versus distraction. So in order to do what we say we’re going to do, we have to make time for it. Here’s why. You cannot call something a distraction. Unless you know what it distracted you from. Let me say that again. If you can write this down, it’ll help it sink in. You cannot call something a distraction, unless you know what distracted you from. So the vast majority of people I’ve worked with over the years with this problem. When they say Oh, I’m so distracted, because my kids want this and my boss wants that. And my client needs this. Did you see what happened on Twitter, and I’m so distracted, I just can’t seem to get enough done. And I say, oh, that’s awful. Show me what you got distracted from let’s look at your calendar. And nine times out of 100. You know what I see on that calendar? Nothing, or very, very little, maybe a doctor’s appointment or a meeting or a zoom seminar. The vast majority people have big chunks of hours of whitespace. And look guys, if you’re an adult, okay, as part of being a grown up, unless you’re a child, and you’re just you know, having fun with your free time, or maybe you’re you’re retired and so personal productivity probably isn’t your your issue. We grownups need to plan our time, because if we don’t, somebody is going to plan it for us. So this is my big beef with to do lists. There’s nothing wrong with taking things in your brain and putting it on a piece of paper. But that’s step one. The next step is to put that those tasks on your calendar, and not just for work, there are three life domains. The first one and the most important one is called the you life domain. If you can’t take care of yourself, you can’t take care of others, you can’t do your best work, you can’t make the world a better place. So the first thing you do is you look at your calendar. Okay, I do this at a week at a time. But some people like to do it once a day, I do it once a week takes me 15 minutes. I look at my calendar for the week ahead. I say, Where do I need time for myself? Okay, how do I turn my values into time? What are values, values or attributes of the person you want to become? I’ll say that again, values are attributes of the person you want to become. So ask yourself, how would the person I want to become spend time taking care of themselves? What could that include? Well, it’s up to you. I’m not going to tell you what your value should be. But if your values include physical fitness, right, everybody says, oh, you know, your health is the most important thing. Well, do you have time in your calendar for exercise? It’s not going to happen if it’s not planned for. Do you have time for sleep? Right? How many of us are parents and we’re hypocrites, we tell our children gotta have a bedtime. You got to go to bed on time. It’s super important. But we have a bedtime. Right? I used to be a hypocrite for years when I told my daughter she had to go to bed. But I didn’t have a bedtime. Now I do. Do have time for fun, right? You want time to play video games? Great. You want to go on social media? Awesome. Put it on your schedule. So now you’re taking something that used to be a distraction, right? Let’s say email or social media or whatever it is that used to distract you. If you put it on your calendar, you’re taking a distraction, and you’re turning it into traction. So that’s the eu domain. The next life domain is your relationships. Part of the reason we have a loneliness epidemic in the industrialized world, is because as society became more secular, we have less On occasions for regular interactions with the people in our community, we have to bring that back. And by the way, this is not something the internet did. Robert Putnam wrote about this in the 1990s. In his book Bowling Alone, fewer and fewer people, especially Americans are hanging out with other people on a regular basis. Right? So put it on your calendar, if you have important people in your life, get it on the calendar, for example, my three closest friends a few years ago, as I was doing this research, you know, people I really love in my life. And we were drifting apart because we were separated by geography and time zones. So I called them up. And I said, my, my friend, Travis, Zach, and Jeff. And I said, Look, I really value our relationship. But it we always have to play this email ping pong game every time we want to find time to talk. And then you know, those relationships start to starve to death. Because, hey, if we were such close friends, why don’t we talk more often, right? So I said, How about this, let’s just set a time on our schedule from now to, to eternity. Okay, every third Tuesday of the month, that’s my time was Zack every fourth Wednesday. That’s my time with Jeff. And now it’s on our calendar. So not only with your friends super important, do not neglect those relationships with your family, right with your siblings, with your parents have that time scheduled on your calendar to build those relationships, don’t make them residual benefactors, don’t give them whatever scraps of time that are leftover. Finally, your work domain. Okay, most people start with work. And in fact, they need to bring in work last because you need those first two life domains to do your work effectively. Now work can be separated into two types of work, we have what we call reactive work. And we have reflective work. Reactive work is the reacting to emails, reacting to messages, reacting to meetings, reacting to someone stopping by your desk, that’s reactive work. And this is where most people spend most of their day. Why? Because it’s cognitively easy, we will go to our email box, so that we can know what to do with our time so that we don’t have to think about how we should strategically spend our time, we like to be told what to do. We like it, because it makes us not have to think thinking is hard work. So what you want to do, and of course, some of your job is going to be reactive, there’s nothing wrong with reactive work. What’s wrong is that people tend to spend the wrong balance between reactive work and reflective work. reflective work is a kind of work that can only be done without distraction, the planning, the thinking, the strategizing kind of work that can only be done without distraction. And if you are not planning that time in your day, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity. You’ve got to plan whether it’s 1520 minutes, maybe even an hour of time to work with that distraction. So that’s got to be in your calendar, as well. And when you do that, you will have a time box calendar, you will have that time planned out for how you want to turn your values into time. And this is how we make time for traction.

Will Bachman 27:53
Okay, so near before this exercise, Martha asked a question. It’s probably on a lot of our minds, she writes, I’ve tried the time blocking and event inevitably don’t follow it. And then it becomes another failed to do list guilt item. So what do you suggest about oh, great, I’ve timebox everything, but then you end up blowing it off and being reactive. So how do you address that? Yeah.

Unknown Speaker 28:18
Okay, so here’s the thing. Time boxing, and what psychologists call setting an implementation attention is not the whole story. It’s been studied at nauseam 1000s of studies have showed that this is one of the most effective things you can do for personal productivity. But if you don’t do the other three steps of the distractor model doesn’t work. Okay. So if you timebox your day, but you don’t know how to control your internal triggers, it’s not going to work. If you timebox your day, and you figure out how to control your emotional triggers. But you’ve got pings and dings all over the place, all these external triggers is not going to work. And even if you do all that, if you don’t also make pacts to to make sure that you stay in the task at hand, it’s not going to work. So it’s about these four techniques in concert. The other thing is that for most people, when they say, oh, timeboxing didn’t work. What they’re really saying is that I didn’t finish the task I thought I was supposed to finish. But that’s the wrong metric. That’s the metric that people use when they use to do lists. And that’s a stupid metric. We should not track ourselves, we should not have our self worth based on how many cute little boxes we checked off. Because you know what that leads to people checking off the easy stuff, the stuff they enjoy doing. That’s what they do for us, because that’s how they reward themselves. That’s how they figure out their self worth is Look how many cute boxes I checked off. But that’s not the right metric. the right metric is not finishing. The what isn’t near the right metric is this. Did I do what I said I was going to do for as long as I said I would. That’s it. That’s it. It doesn’t matter if you say I’m going to do it for 15 minutes or 20 minutes or an hour or 90 minutes. It doesn’t matter if you’re playing video games playing with your kids or Preparing the presentation, it doesn’t matter. The only thing that matters is did I do what I said I was going to do? For as long as I said I would without distraction. It’s not about finishing the task. Why? Because studies find that people who measure themselves based on that one fact did i do what i said i was going to do without distraction. Finish more than the to do list people. Did you hear that they actually finished more than the people who measure themselves with a to do list technique. Why? You know why? Because the people who use it to do list and nothing else, they don’t use a time box counter, they they’re not they don’t read and distractible, they delay the hard stuff. Oh, I’ll get to it later. And it never happens. They’ll do the hard thing for five minutes. And they realize, oh, that’s super boring. I don’t want to do any more. Let me do something else for few minutes. Because that’s more urgent, that’s more important, they find an escape from that discomfort, right? As opposed to people who say, Look, I’m gonna work on this thing for 15 minutes and no more, no less. They become indestructible and finish more. Because guess what happens? They’re building agency. They’re building self efficacy, that hey, I can do this. No big deal. 15 minutes. Okay, next time it’s gonna be 20 minutes or 30 minutes. And so this is how they start to show themselves Hey, I am in distractible this was who I am that by the way, the word in distractible is meant to sound like indestructible. It’s an identity. Right? I’m trying to break down what most people have been told or have taught themselves because of this silly to do list method that teaches them day after day, how they’re not good enough, then you start hearing them say, Well, I’m no good at time management. I have a short attention span. I’m undiagnosed ADHD, No, probably not. There’s nothing broken about you. There’s nothing wrong with you. It’s a stupid time management technique that we keep using that is measuring the wrong

Will Bachman 31:46
metric. Okay, so now we are going to roll into the next exercise. like to ask everyone to take a minute and put in the chat. Pick either the domain of you, or the domain of relationships. And what’s one thing that you’d like to incorporate more into your life and that you will commit to putting on your calendar. So either something for yourself something that you want to do with friends or something you would don’t do with a significant other or another loved one. What will you put on your calendar after today’s session?

Unknown Speaker 32:29
And then we’ll get to Allison because she has yes nine to ask her question.

Unknown Speaker 32:36
Assuming I remember it.

Will Bachman 33:14
Okay, we’re getting a bunch flowing in. All right, Alison, let’s go to you. You’ve had your hand up.

Unknown Speaker 33:21
All right. So this actually, and I’m glad you went into the the life domains. And you know, I’m actually making notes in your book, because I’ve been, it’s been a little while. So this is a really good refresher. And I’m really happy that you are here and able to talk about this in person. The example that I gave to your first question relates to those life domains. And this is where I get stuck sometimes. And I think, you know, a lot of us on this call, you know, we have been consultants, we may still be consultants, you know, I own a small women own consulting company, I’ve got, you know, 10 different clients, and I’m always context shifting, but I’m, I’m using tools to help me and I know that, you know, going from one to the other is not as easy as it sounds. So really trying to block out and using things like toggle track. The question, the problem I get into sometimes is when the other domains creep in. And so for instance, yesterday is a really good example where I had time blocked my whole morning was blocked for self and really relationships, things with my children. I have two elementary school aged children in addition, and so doctor’s appointments, school appointment, and then I had meetings all afternoon and I what I what I found was that even though I had the morning time, blocked for the family stuff, and I wasn’t checking emails, and what afternoon was blocked for various clients meetings, but I found that I was going back and I was thinking about all the things that the doctor talked about and all the things we talked about in the school meeting. And I am a big note taker, I had copious notes, but I was getting distracted by domain number two when I was supposed to be squarely in domain number three and I was in a meeting and you know, all of a sudden Of course, you know, cocktail party effect they call by name. And I’m like, oh, you know. And luckily, I was able to kind of piece it together very quickly and answer, but I knew that I was getting distracted by, by ruminating on what had happened in the earlier blocks. So how, how, what suggestions do you have? I mean, because it’s important to you know, it’s important, it’s family stuff, but I don’t want it necessarily creeping in to the client stuff. But it’s sometimes it’s, it’s hard to kind of block those things out. So how, what are some tips that you have to kind of, I don’t know if it’s compartmentalized, or just be able to? And I don’t want to say focus, but you know, shift. Yeah, that that piece that I did schedule, but it’s still kind of creeping in in my brain.

Unknown Speaker 35:47
Right. So what you’re describing is called mind wandering. And mind wandering is a symptom of an unengaged brain. And I’ll prove it to you. If you can think of the last great movie you watched, okay, in the middle of this riveting film, there was no room for mind wandering, because you were fully engaged, right? When do we mind wander, we mind wander when we have, you know, typically, this happens a lot to people who have a very sharp mind, that’s able to think of a bunch of different things. And as soon as the real world isn’t engaging enough, they start drifting off into other areas and start problem solving in the meantime. And that’s of course, can be a very good thing your brain is using what would otherwise be wasted time. But it can be a very bad thing, if your mind wandering during something that happens to be a little boring, and you’re not paying attention to your name getting called in the middle of a meeting. Right? So number one, it’s understanding the reason your mind is mind wandering is because it’s not engaged enough. Okay, so the first tip I’m going to give you is to become more engaged in the activity that’s important to you in that moment. Okay. So whether it’s being fully present with your kids, whether it’s being fully present in a meeting, that seems to be a little boring and mundane, how can you be more fully engaged, one thing I do is to take notes, okay, to doodle, and start making connections. And, you know, forcing myself even though it’s difficult, I force myself to take notes, just like I used to do in college during a boring lecture. Because that’s how I know I won’t miss anything. That’s how I know I will be fully present. Okay, so that’s number one. Number two, is a very simple tactic, which is about reminding yourself that there will be time to worry. And this sounds very counterintuitive, what happens is, people tell themselves, Oh, if I don’t jot this down, right now, I’m going to forget it forever. But that doesn’t necessarily have to be the case. Because what you will find is if you tell yourself, hey, I’m going to put time in my day, let’s say you have this important meeting at the doctor’s office or important meeting with the with the kids teachers. And then later you say, Look, I’m gonna have to process this, but I don’t have time for right now. Because I have this important client meeting, I want you to put time in your schedule for the worrying for the thinking for the digesting. Okay. And so every time your mind starts to wander, and you say, I just need to think about this for a quick minute, or I’ll forget, you say, no, no, there’s no need to worry about this right now. In fact, I have time scheduled to worry on my calendar. And you say, well, but But are they ideas going to come to me then? One? Yes, they will. And if they don’t, that’s okay. Because that means that they were sorted through already, and your brain doesn’t have to worry about them anymore. So the putting that time in your schedule and telling yourself, okay, I can worry about this later, it’s in my skin. The problem is people don’t schedule the time to worry. So they think to themselves, if I don’t do it, if I don’t think about this, now, I’m never gonna think about it. Whereas it’s actually much more efficient to say, Okay, I’ve got an hour, a lot of times you can a good tip, as well as if you’re the kind of person who likes to talk things out, maybe you’ll schedule an hour with your partner or with your kids or somebody else to talk through these issues. Much, much more effective than thinking about it in 10 seconds spurts throughout the day. So I think that I think those two things, keep your mind engaged during a boring event by becoming more active in it. And and to finding that time to worry and putting it on your schedule.

Unknown Speaker 39:05
putting words on my schedule, that’s a new one for me. There were too much so

Will Bachman 39:13
nearly we had a question from Anna, which was about she values flexibility, which means that you know, she doesn’t necessarily want to schedule her whole day. And so you know, some people do value that spontaneity and or it’s can also be about during out the day, your energy may vary, and sometimes you feel more able to engage on a certain task than others. So what’s your advice for someone who maybe prefers to have a little bit more spontaneity and just engage on the task that they have the energy for at the moment?

Unknown Speaker 39:47
Sure. Okay, so let’s start with the form around Hey, you know, my energy changes throughout the day. I totally get that. So the idea here behind timeboxing behind in distractible is not to be a drill sergeant. It’s to be a sign Test, what does a scientist do? A scientist makes a hypothesis, runs an experiment looks at the results, and then based on those results, runs another experiment. So when you make your time Box account, you’re gonna make say, let’s say one day, one weekend day, what would a perfect weekend look like? Okay, look pretty low stakes. What would a perfect weekend look like for you keep playing that time, and see how it feels. Now don’t change those time boxes in the day. And if you do get distracted, which inevitably, you will, all you want to do is to get back to the thing you plan. So if you say, oh, my gosh, I went 20 minutes over now and in the next time block, don’t push everything down. Just get back to whatever it is you plan in advance on your calendar. Okay. Then, the next day, you can start from scratch. You can say you know what, my ideal weekend involves an hour of writing. And I put writing down at 9pm. You know what, I’m tired at 9pm. I will watch TV at 9pm. Okay, well, let me try what happens if I put my writing first thing in the morning, you can do that. Just don’t do it in the day. Don’t use the excuse of I don’t feel like it to escape doing what you say you’re going to do. Okay, the number one reason we don’t accomplish our goals. What’s the number one reason people don’t accomplish their goals? The number one reason we don’t accomplish our goals is because we quit. We quit, why do we quit, we quit because we don’t feel like doing it. I don’t feel like going to the gym, I don’t feel like working on my book. I don’t feel like spending time with my kids right now and rather do something else. It’s feelings. So we have to learn how to deal with those feelings. First and foremost, back to those internal triggers. So that’s number one, you can be flexible with your schedule from day to day, just don’t change your schedule in the day plan for tomorrow to be something else so that you can find where your highest energy is or where it’s most enjoyable. Okay, now, the second point around, but but I need to be flexible, right? I don’t wanna be the kind of person who’s rigid all day long and says exactly every 15 minutes where I’m gonna go. That’s not part of the rule. Okay, so what do we do instead? We plan spontaneity, planned spontaneity this guy’s lost his head was he talking about it sounds like an oxymoron. Let me tell you how to plan spontaneity. Every weekend, I spend time with my daughter, okay, I have a big three hour block of time where I’m with my daughter. Now, I have no idea what we’re going to do with that time. Sometimes we go to the park, sometimes we go get ice cream. Sometimes we go to the library. Who knows? We don’t know we’re going to do it is spontaneous. But I planned for that time to be spontaneous. Why? What’s the point? Because I know now what I will not be doing. When I plan time with my daughter. I’m not checking social media, I’m not on the phone call for work, I’m not looking at work emails, that time is only devoted to someone I love very much. And if you don’t do that, whether that thing you’re going to devote time to is a big project you’ve been putting off or someone who needs your time and attention and love or whatever it is that you’ve been delaying, maybe it’s physical exercise, I don’t know, whatever it is that you find you’re you wouldn’t have come today, if there’s something that you don’t find, is keeping you from living to your full potential, whatever that thing is, devote time to it fully so that there’s no once you know, this is what I’m going to do with my time. The spontaneity can come later, right, the time to be available. Let’s say you you work with a bunch of colleagues and you know, hey, my door needs to be open, great, it does. But during certain times of the day, because if you say my day is open, my door is open 24 hours, you will have no time to think you know what’s gonna happen, you’re gonna run real fast in the wrong direction. And you’ve got to carve out that time for that reflective work. Again, if you don’t plan your day, somebody’s gonna plan it for you. So I think those are my two tips. One, you can always revise that schedule for the future. Don’t do it in the day. For the future, you can always revise that schedule to make it easier to follow. And then to you can plan spontaneity, but don’t make your whole day spontaneous. Save that for when you retire. Right. That’s what retirement is for.

Will Bachman 43:52
Fantastic. Want to get into the part for about Pax. And we’ll skip over external triggers, just given the time. And I think some of the external trigger advice may be more intuitive to a lot of folks about you know, just turning off the dings and the rings and so forth. But the Pax might is is a little bit more outside the scope of what we normally think about. So in my own experience, I’ll just share one example here before you, you kind of give us the tips around it, which is I’ve done now publish something like 500 podcast episodes, and almost every single one of them. Right before I went to record the episode with the guest, I had something that I would probably rather be doing at the moment, right, something more urgent at the moment. And I’m like, Man, I wish I didn’t have this scheduled right now because I really have to get this out to a client or whatever. But always after that hour of recording it. I always feel just absolutely awesome. You know that time to engage. So it’s almost one form of a pact right? It’s getting something on the calendar that I can’t skip, but I know in advance is by planning that I’ll be happy I did. But almost usually that morning and like, Oh man, I wish I didn’t have that hour blocked off. So that’s one way that I’ve incorporated it. Yeah. Tell us about packs, different versions of the different kinds and how we can incorporate those to make ourselves more in distractible.

Unknown Speaker 45:17
Yeah, this is that’s a fantastic example. That’s an example of a social pack that you made with another person. And by having that interview on your schedule, even though you didn’t don’t want to do it, when the time came, the fact that you have that social obligation made it happen. And so packs work in a few different ways. There are a few different types of packs. One type of pack we have is an effort pack, so that when we put some bit of effort in between ourselves, and the distraction that makes us less likely to get distracted, another is a price packed when there’s some kind of monetary disincentive to getting distracted. And another a third one is when when you have an identity packed. So when you call yourself a certain thing that makes you more likely to follow through. This comes from the psychology of religion, of course, someone calls themselves a member of a particular faith. If you think about, you know, a devout Muslim doesn’t debate Oh, you know, am I going to have that ham sandwich for breakfast, because a devout Muslim doesn’t eat pork, right? So having that identity and of course, that’s why the book is called indestructible, you can use that identity to become the kind of person you want to become to become indestructible say, No, this is who I am, this is what I do, and how I behave in the world. So these paths can be very, very powerful. And it comes from the this this principle, that if we really, if we decide in advance this is called the Ulysses pact, if you remember the story of Ulysses the audit, in The Odyssey, written by Homer 2500 years ago, proving by the way that distraction is not a new problem. This isn’t something that, you know, was only invented because the internet, we have been distracted for at least the past 2500 years. And in this story in The Odyssey, Ulysses has to pass by the island of the sirens, sirens are these magical creatures that sing this mythical song, and every sailor who hears the siren song crashes his ship onto the shore of the sirens, Island and dies. Now Ulysses knows this is going to happen. So he makes a pact, he tells his crew to bind him to the mast of the ship. And he says, no matter what I do, no matter what I say, don’t let me go. And it works because of this pact because he made this, this commitment. Even when temptation arose, even when he wanted to get distracted in the moment. He couldn’t, he made that commitment, he made that pact. And so we can use these packs for ourselves. I think I want everyone you don’t have to write this down, but or at least not in the chat, maybe write it down for yourself. I want you to think about what is that thing in your life? Okay, what is that this thing or that thing in your life? That you know, that if you put in the time and the attention you could accomplish? What’s that dream that you’ve been deferring? Because of distraction? Is it finally getting in shape? Is it spending quality time with someone you really love? Is it finally getting that degree? Is it writing that book, you’ve always said you were whatever it is, what’s the thing you know, if you just put in the time you have the physical and mental wherewithal, but you don’t put in the time? What is that thing you know, you could be better at if you put in the time. Now, I want you to ask yourself, If I had a gun pointed to my head, could I do it? Of course you could. Let me give you an example. I’ve been you’re part of the reason it took me five years to write in distractible is because I kept getting distracted. I needed this book more than anybody. I wrote it for me, I needed to learn these techniques. But after four years of doing this research into the psychology of distraction, I had to face facts that it was time to actually put the words on the page and write the damn thing. But it was hard work. I was bubbled up with all these emotions that were telling me oh, what if nobody likes it? What if it doesn’t do well? What if? What if, what if, what if what if? And so I kept procrastinating until I read about this technique around making a pre commitment. And I went to my friend Mark. And I said, Mark, okay, this is painful for me to do. But

Unknown Speaker 49:11
if I don’t finish my manuscript by January 1, I am going to pay you $10,000 I shook the man’s hand. And I promised him that I would give him $10,000 $10,000. If I didn’t finish my manuscript now, do you think I paid more than $10,000? Do you think I’ve finished my manuscript, of course, I finished my manuscript. I’m not going to pay them in 10,000 hours, I’m going to finish the damn thing. And so when you think back to what I was asking you earlier, what’s the thing that you’re not doing because of distraction because you don’t have the time attention to do it. If the stakes were high enough, look me in the eye and tell me you wouldn’t do it. Of course you would. Well, make mistakes, but make them lapse. Okay, you first have to master those internal triggers. You first have to make time for traction. You first have to hack back those external triggers. You have to learn those skills. And once you learn those skills, you are qualified now to make those packs to make that in the case of my bet with Mark, that’s called a price pact. And if I didn’t do the thing I was gonna do I was gonna have to pay him $10,000. Now people say, Oh, that’s so scary. I don’t know, if I want to do it, oh, I’m going to bind myself up. What if I lose the $10,000, of course, you’re not gonna lose the $10,000, you’re going to do what you say you’re gonna do. And here’s the thing, think about how people pay 1000s of dollars to Weight Watchers to help them lose weight, or they hire writing coaches and editors and fitness trainers and all this stuff that people pay money that’s out the window, they’ll never get that money back. When you make a pact, you get your money back, and you achieve your goal. This is one of the most effective techniques we know it’s actually the most successful smoking cessation study in history. Okay? The most successful smoking cessation is they say, oh, nicotine, it’s so addictive. It’s like heroin bullshit. All you got to do, it turns out, is pay people to not smoke. And if they make that bet with themselves, it doesn’t even take that much money took $850 It was the most successful smoking cessation study in history doesn’t work for every human being, of course, but it was way more effective than nicotine patches and courses and all the stuff that people do to quit smoking. Putting money on the line turned out to be incredibly effective. And if it works with something as addictive as nicotine, it can actually work the same exact way for any goal that you see to accomplish. But again, big word of warning, you have to do it. After you’ve learned these other techniques, just like the the woman earlier who asked about well, timeboxing didn’t work for me, because it has to be used in concert. So if you just make a pact, and so I’m going to make a bet like near did, it’s not going to work, you have to use those other techniques as well.

Will Bachman 51:40
Yeah. Now, in August, we used one that that idea near from your book, with an event that we did, where we scheduled time where people who wanted to do business development, but kept putting it off, we said, Alright, everybody join at 12 noon, and we did a zoom event where we just came in, we went on mute, and everybody sent out their emails or calls for an hour. And people told us that they got more business development done in that one hour than they had done in the last three months, right? Because we absolutely. So we will probably be doing we will be doing one of those again, but you don’t have to wait for the Umbrex event. If you want to do let’s say business development, scheduled time with another member of the community and booktype get on a zoom together, go on mute. And just use that time to bang out emails. We had people say, go ahead.

Unknown Speaker 52:33
I just put in in the chat a website that if it feels uncomfortable, or you have trouble finding someone who you want to do this with, there’s actually a website called focus me and I love the company so much I invested in the company. All it does is match people together who want to get stuff done. And so you’re making a pact with another person. This is especially effective if you’re the kind of person like I am, who has trouble getting started, right? First thing in the morning is oh, I need to first finish this blog post or whatever it is I need to do. You know, then I say, Okay, I’m gonna start at 8am. But then it becomes a 10, a 15, a 2013. And I still haven’t started the task that I thought was gonna start eight, well, if you have another person waiting for you, you’re gonna start, right. So that’s what focus man is all about. It’s a service, I think it cost five bucks a month, you sign up, you pick a time when you say, Okay, I’m gonna get to work and you you’re matched with this random person that also has the same goal in mind. And if you don’t show up, you’re gonna get a bad review. So you better show up. Because you don’t let that other person down. And it’s incredibly effective.

Will Bachman 53:30
Alright, so we have a few minutes left. So if you have a question, go ahead and raise your hand. And we’ll have a few more few questions. A few minutes for questions for now.

Yeah. Anyone have a question? Near Go ahead.

Unknown Speaker 53:49
Oh, I’ll just I’ll type in here just in case all cash I missed a type their email address here. I mean, my blog post Hold on one second, this is what happens when you try multitask. So there we go near If you go to near Florida COMM And I’ll actually give you If you go to, there’s actually an 80 page workbook that we couldn’t fit into the final edition of the book. It’s completely contract complimentary that you can just download it there. And if you have a question that I didn’t get to answer, if you go to near and, there is a contact form there. And if you want to ask me a question offline, please feel free.

Will Bachman 54:27
And I highly recommend signing up for New Year’s newsletter. Always great stuff every week. Jim, I think Jim had a question.

Unknown Speaker 54:36
Yeah, my question was about commitment to keeping time blocks and what you intended to do once you’ve set them versus reorganizing things. Throughout the day or week i I sometimes find myself doing what I call swapping time blocks. And I don’t think I don’t think I’m any more or less or I don’t know if I’m more or less likely to get the thing done if I’ve moved it. I’m just wondering if it’s creating a bad habit from your perspective.

Unknown Speaker 54:59
Yeah, so So there is this tricky phenomenon called psychological reactance. And psychological reactance says that when we are told what to do, we naturally rebel. Okay, we’ve all felt this if you’re, if you’ve ever had a boss that micromanage you, if you remember when you were a kid, and your mom told you to put on a coat, and he said, Don’t tell me what to do. That’s reactance. Now, we’ve all felt that. Here’s the crazy part about the human mind, the human brain will elicit reactance, even when we are telling ourselves what to do. How crazy is that? So and that’s what’s happening, right? So many times when people say, Oh, it feels too rigid, I don’t want to tell myself, you know, these tiny boxes that feels so weird. That’s what’s happening. Right? One, it’s the fact that the pain of having to do the thing you’ve been delaying that you really don’t feel like doing. Okay, that’s internal triggers. There’s lots of methods to deal with that, that I talked about in the book. It’s also this sense of psychological reactance of oh, this is this is I’m being told what to do, even if it’s me, that’s telling myself what to do. Of course, it’s ridiculous, right? I if I have my goals, now, then then I want to follow through later, they’re still my goals. But one way to disarm that psychological reactance, and this gets to what you’re doing, is to give yourself options. Okay? So this is more of an advanced technique to become indestructible. One thing when when if people say, Hey, I’m having trouble sticking with a time box calendar, I feel like I, I want to cheat on my time box calendar, and what I advise them to do is to give yourself options, okay? To say, look, there’s three tasks that all take the same amount of time, okay, 30 minutes, an hour, whatever, they’re all the same. So give yourself a choice. Okay, I can do A, B, or C, but they all take, I’m gonna do each of those for one hour, let’s say, okay, so then you’re kind of disarming that psychological reactance. By giving yourself options by giving yourself a choice. For example, I was working with a woman who was really having a tough time exercising, okay? And she felt like, oh, so rigid, I don’t really doing it. So I said, Well, what if you had an option? Right? You had What are you know, she was only going to the gym and beating herself up and doing the stuff she hated? Well, what if one of those three options is taking a walk? Okay, that’s physical activity. As well as another option is a gym as well as another option is I don’t know playing tennis or whatever the case might be by giving yourself options as long as the same period of time and you’re not measuring yourself by outcome, but rather, your ability to do what you said you were going to do without distraction. That’s fine with me. And it should work for you as well.

Unknown Speaker 57:29
Great, thank you. Sure thing.

Will Bachman 57:32
We time boxed this event. For one hour and near. It was so generous to join us. Eight 8pm to 9pm, Singapore time. This has been awesome, Nick, thank you so much. So everyone, we will send out the recording and those links near and in Nir, thank you so much for joining us today. This

Unknown Speaker 57:56
has been really fantastic. My pleasure. I feel bad for the folks who didn’t get to ask their question I put in my email address. It’s just near at near first name at first name last And if I didn’t get your question, there’s my personal email address. Happy to take your question offline as well.

Will Bachman 58:11
Thank you everyone for joining.

Unknown Speaker 58:13

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International bestselling author, former Stanford lecturer, and behavioral design expert, Nir Eyal, joined Umbrex Presents to discuss his bestselling book Indistractable: How to Control Your Attention and Choose Your Life.

September 23, 2022
08:00 AM
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