Mastering the art of becoming “indistractable”

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With more organizations adopting hybrid work models (and schools doing something similar with blended learning), it’s more crucial than ever to become “indistractable.” That’s the term coined by Nir Eyal, a Wall Street Journal bestselling author and speaker, to describe the distraction-free state of focus everyone should strive to achieve. Read on to see Nir’s Prezi Video series explaining how to avoid distractions, as well as videos on how to apply his model to your work and personal lives. 

The four-step process to becoming indistractable 

Take control of your internal triggers

While many people like to blame external factors (such as phone and desktop notifications) for their distraction, the truth is that most distractions start from within. The first step to becoming indistractable is to understand how and why we get distracted in the first place. 

Nir points to the fact that “time management” is actually “pain management” — we try to escape the discomfort from the tasks we have to do, which results in us turning to external distractions. Watch Nir’s first video to learn how to identify and manage these internal triggers: 

Make time for traction 

Once you’ve mastered those internal triggers, you can start finding ways to be productive with your time. However, it’s a common misconception that the opposite of distraction should be outcome-focused. Nir explains that to-do lists are traps because there will always be more to do — that neverending list will only drive us to eventually seek out distractions.

Instead, we should be focusing on controlling the inputs and driving “traction.” Ask yourself what the distractions in your life are actually distracting you from, and channel your time and focus towards the truly valuable things in your life. Find out more in part two: 

Hack back external triggers

As mentioned earlier, external triggers often get blamed as the source of distraction, but they’re not always harmful. Nir clarifies that the key thing is to figure out whether these external triggers are serving you or if it’s the other way around. In Nir’s third Prezi video, you’ll learn how to be mindful when it comes to external triggers like your office floor plan, emails, group chats, meetings, computer desktops, smartphones, and more.

Use pacts to prevent distractions

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Once you’ve mastered the first three parts of Nir’s indistractable model, he suggests using pacts as the final “firewall” in preventing distraction. The first pact is an effort pact, wherein you make unwanted behaviors more difficult to do, such as using an app to limit the amount of time you’re spending on technology. 

You can also try using a price pact, where you add a cost to getting distracted. This can come in the form of a financial reward or punishment for achieving (or not achieving) your goals. Finally, he suggests an identity pact, where you define yourself in a certain way to shape your actions. Learn more about these pacts in his video:

Applying the indistractable model to all aspects of your life 

Your workplace 

People spend so much time working, so it’s no surprise that your workplace environment can have significant impacts on your mental health. Workplaces with high expectations and low control can lead to symptoms of depression and anxiety, and this comes back to the sentiment that time management is pain management. Having a company culture in place that values open discussions, for example, can lead to better morale and fewer distractions. Learn more in Nir’s Prezi video: 

Your children 

Easily distracted adults were once easily distracted children, and Nir stresses the importance of developing indistractable habits in kids. It’s easy to point the finger at technology as the primary source of distraction, but that’s just a convenient excuse. Kids need to learn how to make time for what’s important for them, and parents should avoid becoming external triggers themselves. Find out more in Nir’s video: 

Your relationships 

Distraction isn’t only harmful to your work productivity, but to the health of your relationships as well. Being distracted in social situations can keep us from being fully present, and Nir recommends blocking the spread of unhealthy behaviors, such as checking your phone. In the final video of his indistractable series, he shares some tips to apply his model to your personal relationships: 

When you’re working from home, you’re the only one who can control your productivity and focus. Use Nir’s video series to improve the way you manage your time and become truly indistractable. Want even more tips? Check out other Prezi videos in our Video Gallery. 

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