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Indistractable: How to Control Your Attention and Choose Your Life - Nir Eyal


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This book is in a similar niche as two other personal productivity focused books that I've read before (Atomic Habits by James Clear and Slight Edge by Jeff Olson).


The author makes the case that our biological hardwiring is more geared towards negativity, boredom and rumination (this makes sense from an evolutionary perspective) so we seek some form of opposing compensation which can sometimes be the main cause underlying distracting habits. Distraction, according to the author, is about pain management.


The author highlights the work of a Stanford prof that underlay (& influenced) the addictive features of much of social media and modern communications: The Fogg Behavior Model. It states that MAT (Motivation, Ability, Trigger) are the three necessary ingredients to generate addiction (& as a corollary what we need to manage to counteract it). E.g. push notifications (trigger), mobile in our field of view (ability), likes/votes (motivation via dopamine etc) are standard means that social media uses to get us hooked. Disable one or more of these and your addiction will reduce considerably.


The author introduces the concept of "surfing the urge". When an urge takes hold (e.g. smoke, drink, check mobile, watch tv etc), "noticing the sensations and riding them like a wave—neither pushing them away nor acting on them—helps us cope until the feelings subside". The author suggests a 10 minute rule with this. "When you get an urge, it is fine to give in, but not immediately. Wait 10 minutes. If you still want to perform the action after ten minutes of urge surfing, you’re free to do it, but that’s rarely still the case. The liminal moment has passed, and you’re able to do the thing you really wanted to do.”


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