That we are all distracted by so many things—smart phones, e-mail, co-workers—is a known factor.
I don’t know anyone who doesn’t complain about:
- cell phones in meetings,
- employees on cell phones,
- cell phones interrupting meals,
- continuous, unending e-mails,
- and now, other distractions like the endless “group texts” that take place on Slack.
Of course, we blame the technology. Because that’s the easy and most apparent thing to do.
What if the “problem” isn’t the technology, but something that lies within us?
With an amazing array of research, Nir Eyal makes the case in Indistractable that the problem is within. It’s about who we are.
He makes this assertion: “… the drive to relieve discomfort is the root cause of all our behavior, while everything else is a proximate cause.”
We have to dig into ourselves to understand root causes, otherwise we only focus on the proximate causes, such as social media, cell phones, or television, none of which are the root cause of our distraction.
From that point, Nir Eyal offers solutions. Practical, doable, bullet point solutions.
Each chapter in the book ends with a “Remember This” box that summarizes the take-aways from the chapter and, more importantly, the action points.
If you dismiss this as touchy-feely, well, that’s too bad.
There are many who suggest set times for being unplugged, like using cell phone buckets at the dinner table, a technology detox. Not bad suggestions, but definitely not addressing the root causes of distraction in our culture.
In addition to the book, there is a related website with a bunch of tools and even an online course to guide one into an “indistractable” lifestyle.
Check out Nir’s video for a brief overview of what it means to be indistractable:
Time is precious and we need to learn to use it well. It goes without saying that you really can’t make up for lost time. Dealing with distractions is a huge step toward redeeming our time and not continually living with that feeling that you’re squandering the non-renewable resource of time. Reading this book and understanding the concept of being indistractable is a way to begin getting a handle on this, and it’s going to require getting to know yourself better.