October 13

13 Oct 23: How to be indistractable


‘Seeking to spark the most potential within you per word of any online newsletter’

1 thought

Legit question.

When was the last time you could concentrate on something you were doing for 30 minutes, without being interrupted?

No notifications, no pings, nothing.

Just a solid block of 30 minutes in deep, focused work.

You might struggle to remember.

Me too.

The chief culprit?


We mostly know about distraction today.

But I recently heard a talk by Nir Eyal, the bestselling author of Hooked and Indistractable, live and put together by the Saturday Book Club (a great book club if you’re in Singapore!) that put a different spin on this.

We often think that the opposite of distraction is focus. Focus to do the work. Focus to be in the zone, and tune out the rest of the world.

It’s not.

In the words of Nir Eyal, it’s traction. Traction to do the work that you want to do.

Those are the actions you take that moves you towards your goals.

Focus is passive, action is well, active. Focus tends to look like a state of mind, whilst traction tends to be more about actions we take to move us towards where we want to be.

Because we blame distraction and look for focus, we may come to the point where we are focused on the wrong actions.

We could be efficient, without being effective.

It’s the classic speed vs velocity problem. You can be running very fast, but without direction.

Nir’s solution?

Actually know what you need to do before you try to optimise anything else.

Because this is a tough question.

What are the actions you take that will drive business value?

Is it more home visits? More counselling sessions? More reports?

Because if we look at what we are distracted by, we might just think our KPIs look like:

  1. More messages answered
  2. More emails replied

Nothing against those – but to what extent do they drive outcomes?

1 talk

The time you PLAN to waste is not a waste of time.

Nir Eyal, the author of Indistractable and Hooked

1 tip

Nir shared an interesting research. Actually pings and dings only comprise 10% of the triggers that distract us.

90% is internal.

How do you learn to deal with the internal triggers that prompt us to shift away from the painful work, and to the easier work of reacting to the input of messages and email?

One way is to be aware of those triggers that are pulling you away. Then Nir suggests that you be curious about the sensations that are coming over you when you feel the urge to switch from the task you’re focused on hand. For example:

  1. The furious urge to press Ctrl-Tab
  2. The tension in your shoulder
  3. The gritting of your teeth

After that, close your eyes and repeat to yourself a simple mantra,

This is what it feels like to be better.

Ultimately, for us to do better work, first requires us to be aware of what actually takes us away from the work.


Live Young, Live Well – Work Your Love

Think others might benefit? I’m counting on you. Forward this on.



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