A Review Of Nir Eyal's book, Indistractable (& how this has increased my focus)

The thing that attracted me to Nir's Book, Indistractable, was the promise of an answer to the present challenges I face in my life.

You see, I have somewhat of an existential crises.

I recently lost my business and due to the fact that I signed surety on the business, I also lost all my major assets including my home and my vehicles. I have since applied for many jobs but without even an invitation for an interview. This may be because of my age (59) or the very poor economy of our country (40% + unemployment), but the consequences have been very stressful. My monthly expenses are lot higher now with my family of 4 living in a rented apartment on money borrowed from my credit card.

This has now lead me in the strategic direction of seeking opportunities that are not reliant on our local economy or where my age is relevant, and from what I have researched, the financial world is in great need to bloch-chain developers. I signed-up for a course and did the first module quickly, but pretty soon my productivity levels dropped as days and weeks went by with little progress. The irony was that my days still felt very busy and although I knew that I needed to sort this out urgently, as I had limited time to turn things around, I just seemed to be constrained to very slow progress.

It was a few days ago that I was introduced to this book and I devoured it quite quickly (sometimes in the back my mind wondering about the irony of the idea that perhaps this was also a distraction in itself)

I knew I had a problem with distraction, but other than a few incoherent ideas, I had little idea of how to resolve this problem.

Fairly quickly in the book, Nir made the distiction between internal and external distracations. I had never thought of it like that & I found that I had subconsciously assumed that all my distractions were external.

In fact, my most serious distrations were internal. As Nir points out, internal distrations generally result from anxiety, depression or boredom. This reminded me of Carl Jung's quote "Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate." and after some introspection, I identified my biggest obstacle was the anxiety and depression that I was suffering due to the loss of my business, my home and the guilt I felt of having put my family through this terrble situation.

 

Nir also empahasises the the need for 'me' time - in he fact recommends it as a priority, and so I have now started journaling and mediation and looking after my health and within a short period I have already noticed an improvement in my mood and along with it, my productivity.

I have also implemented a few of Nir's other tips, including setting our blocks of time for priority work and avoiding external distrations (such as other people, phone calls and emails). I manage these blocks of time with a great timer called Pomodoro (or Tomato Timer).

 

Reading Nir's book also highlighted that my distractions were also a result of me seeking comfort from an uncomfortable task via a distraction that would result in procrastination. He reminded me that progress if often accompanied by discomfort. 

 

I have also borrowed from Nir's ideas to restructure my day and use the times of the day when I am more productive for the most important tasks, rather than, for example just going through the news or answering emails. Nir uses the analogy of airlines eliminating all unecessary tasks during Take-off & Landing, to help get critical tasks done. I now have specific time slots for different categories of work, for example, projects, emails, telephone calls, online chats, which the highest priorities given to the things that will have the greatest impact on my life.

 

Nir also gives a number of other tips, including using apps, websites and personal pacts, but I have not tried any of these techniques yet.

A good adjuct to Nir's book, in this regard, would be James Clear's Atomic Habits. Nir does touch on how habits can positively of negatively affect productivity, but not to the same depth as Clear.

 

All in all I would highly recommend the book as even if you get just one principle that you can act upon, your return on investment in terms of time, money and productivity, will be multiple and compound.