In times when procrastination has become a trend word, and when balancing remote or hybrid work with our personal lives is an everyday juggle, learning to stay focused is the biggest asset to have. And that’s precisely what “Indistractable: How to Control Your Attention and Choose Your Life” is about. It guides you in choosing where to put your attention and how to gain the power of avoiding distraction. Sounds impossible? Keep reading!

What I liked about this book is that it makes the reader self-aware about what they value the most. Whether it’s a good work-life balance, spending more time with your family, or doing activities that you like. It’s in your interest to make sure that you are making yourself indistractable from devices or work that perhaps is not important at that time.

The book has similarities to another book, Atomic Habits by James Clear. It gives the reader a sense of self-awareness that is free from distraction and can enable you to become more fulfilled with the time you have.

Why should I read Indistractable by Nir Eyal?

Nir Eyal comes back after the success of his book “Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products” with another highly valuable tool to help us juggle the number of distractions that technology can give us. In his previous book, the author introduces us to a massive problem that society is living with: the number of benefits that we get from technology and what’s behind the brands and platforms that already dominate the know-how in keeping us hooked; for example, Google.

So now, in this book, we take everything we learned from it and apply it to everything in life. Putting the spotlight on how much we get distracted by everyday technology, but also by everything else, as the problem here is not the tech but our easiness to lose focus.

So now let me ask you, can you imagine what you could achieve if you learned to control distractions? Genuinely, can you imagine completing all the important things you need to achieve in less time? It may sound not possible because you keep getting caught up watching the latest trend on TikTok too many times a day or scrolling on Instagram too much.

And that’s what the book teaches us. About how we can avoid such distractions that are keeping us from living the life we want to, and focus on things that are more valuable and important and that matter the most to us without getting distracted. Can you not agree that it would be a whole different day, a whole different workday, and a whole different life at the end of the day? I don’t know about you, but that’s something I can definitely use.

And that’s the beauty behind “Indistractable”. You get this big entrepreneur telling you how he took 5 years to write this book because he kept procrastinating with everything.

That way, through its pages, the book keeps presenting many relatable everyday scenarios that allow you to feel represented but also believe that you can achieve becoming indistractable, too. It’s for everyone and in any kind of scenario. Of course, this doesn’t necessarily mean achieving it as a piece of cake, but at least it’s a fun and relatable challenge to take on.

So, how do we become indistractable?

Eyal presents us with a massively important concept: the most precious asset we have is time. And starting from here is the root to understand what we want to get from getting into this self-work.

To do so, let me first highlight two key concepts we see in this book. One is the contradiction of Pseudo-work, and the other, is that anything can be a traction, too. I’ll get into both in more detail now.

What’s a pseudo-work?

According to the author, we are confronted with a personal conflict when we work doing Pseudo-work. That means, for example, when we answer emails, re-organize our Trello boards, our desktop folders. Or whatever other tasks that clearly have their benefits but are keeping us away from what we had to do in the first place.

When you look at it from the outside, you want to say that it’s not really a distraction because, well, it’s work. So, how can it be wrong, right? Well, sort of. The thing here is that you’re doing something you have to do anyways, something that is helping your productivity and tasks. So, from this perspective, yes, you are not doing something wrong.

But, and here is the mind-blowing bit, do you know why you do it at that specific time? Because when you only look at what you did, it’s ok. The problem is not the task itself. The problem is that you did it when you were about to do something else because a part of you felt like, at that moment, reading your emails seemed more comfortable than, for example, making that presentation for tomorrow. You see what I mean?

And here is when Eyal brings in our internal triggers, which are, in simple terms, a feeling we want to get away from, for example, boredom. What do you do when you feel bored? You change course; you might even take out the trash again because that seemed lighter or more fun than creating that presentation – to stay on the same example.

To explain this a bit more, I’ll bring up a super useful sentence that the author gave in an interview discussing the book. “Internal triggers are these uncomfortable emotional states that we try to escape from. And that’s the root cause of all distractions”. So, what this framing-worthy quote is giving us, is a first glimpse of identifying the trigger first and acknowledging it as what it is. “Indistractable: How to Control Your Attention and Choose Your Life” then guides us on how to stop seeing these Pseudo-work tasks as “acceptable” distractions, using them as an excuse that ‘is fine because it is work’. When what we are really facing is Pseudo-work, which is still a distraction that comes as a response to internal triggers. So, let’s better focus on that!

Everything can be a “traction”

And this brings us to the second concept I found fascinating and would love to address in this review. In times of procrastination, the same way that anything seems to be a possible subject of distraction, anything can also be a traction.

What does it mean? Well, remember that time when you sat down at your desk to work on an important whatever, but a notification on your phone interrupted your focus. Then, later, as you attempt to get back to work, someone taps you on the shoulder to tell you something. Here you get distracted by very random and different distractions.

“We need to take responsibility for understanding how and why we get distracted.”

“We need to take responsibility for understanding how and why we get distracted.”

So, can you imagine if you could also use something as random and different to keep yourself on track? That’s precisely what Eyal proposes in this book. That you can find your own motivators to keep you going, to stay on track, and this can be a goal in the end. But it can also be something made up or a system that only works for you but that happens to bring more value to your tasks in a way that you won’t want to move away from them.

Distractions are nothing new. It is not the best plan to blame technology surrounding us for our inability to do the work. Instead, we need to take responsibility for understanding how and why we get distracted. One of the main causes of distraction is our discomfort. For example, when we are bored, we reach for our smartphones. Whenever we are sad or stressed, we often turn to the bad habit of eating unhealthy food, like ice-cream.. Or we jump onto social media and spend hours scrolling because we feel lonely. We must confront our discomfort and find a better way to deal with these habits.

“The most precious asset we have is time. And starting from here is the root to understand what we want to get from getting into this self-work.”

“The most precious asset we have is time. And starting from here is the root to understand what we want to get from getting into this self-work.”

Throughout the book, Eyal gives us several everyday scenarios so we can really comprehend that finding something that keeps us in traction is easier than we think. He uses his expertise in the psychology of habits to constantly present an approach we can all gain something from.

II can particularly mention what he calls the Price Pacts. Within the book, he gives us this concept which, in simple terms, means adding a monetary loss value to “losing track” or getting distracted. Now, it’s important that this goes beyond believing that, for example, if we don’t finish this random project, we might get fired. Because chances are we won’t fall for that – anyone who lives with this fear as a motivator shouldn’t work on such a scenario. Price Pacts will only work when you can disregard such external triggers to honour the value you assigned to completing that task. But, if we bring the monetary value element closer to us, to our reality, and to what is important to us, then it’s easier to achieve than we think. And this can be applied to every single task we have during the day, including doing our hour of yoga, meditation, journal writing, or making a PowerPoint presentation.

And how about you? What would you set as a value to stay indistractable?