Prioritizing sleep is a big deal in the 21st century. How do we become Indistractable when we are hooked on so many gadgets and gizmos? My guest literally wrote the books on both of these topics! These works have made a difference in my life, and it was such an incredible opportunity to get to interview such a tremendous thought leader in the world of behavioral change.
One of the biggest problems that clients at Sleep Is A Skill face is how to manage their days so that they feel that they can genuinely be OFF and relax in the evenings before sleep. In this episode, we will explore exactly how to become Indistractable so that you can honor your word to yourself to show up to be, as Nir puts it, “available” for sleep when you said you would, consistently. Additionally, when you get into that bed at the time you said, have you managed your day in such a way that you have peace of mind to be fully at ease in the activity that you are doing...sleeping!
Nir Eyal writes, consults, and teaches about the intersection of psychology, technology, and business. Nir previously taught as a Lecturer in Marketing at the Stanford Graduate School of Business and the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford.Nir co-founded and sold two tech companies since 2003 and was dubbed by The M.I.T. Technology Review as, "The Prophet of Habit-Forming Technology."
He is the author of two bestselling books, Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products and Indistractable: How to Control Your Attention and Choose Your Life.
Indistractable received critical acclaim, winning the Outstanding Works of Literature (OWL) Award as well as being named one of the Best Business and Leadership Books of the Year by Amazon and one of the Best Personal Development Books of the Year by Audible. The Globe and Mail called Indistractable, "the best business book of 2019."
In addition to blogging at NirAndFar.com, Nir's writing has been featured in The New York Times, The Harvard Business Review, Time Magazine, and Psychology Today.
Nir is also an active investor in habit-forming technologies. Some of his past investments include Eventbrite (NYSE:EB), Anchor.fm (acquired by Spotify), Kahoot! (KAHOOT-ME.OL), Refresh.io (acquired by LinkedIn), Product Hunt, Marco Polo, Presence Learning, 7 Cups, Pana, Byte Foods, FocusMate, and Shadow.
Nir attended The Stanford Graduate School of Business and Emory University.
In this episode, we discuss:
What is Distraction?
- What is the opposite of distraction?
- Most people will answer 'Focus', but that isn't quite correct.
- The answer is *Traction*
- trACTION definition = any action that pulls you towards your goals and the person you want to become.
- DIStrACTION definition = any action that pulls you away from your values, goals, and the person you want to become.
- "Anything can be traction as long as you plan for those things."
- People usually blame social media for its addictive build, but demonizing technology must stop since they are actually good platforms that can help us. "How would we get through the pandemic without social media"
- Willpower used to be thought of as something which we could run out of (aka ego depletion); however, this belief has been debunked by new Psychology studies.
- Basically, people who run out of willpower are people who *believe* willpower is a finite resource.
- People put identities on themselves all the time by using labels
- These labels are usually unfavorable: 'I have an addictive personality,’ ‘I'm a night owl,’ 'I'm not a morning person,’ 'I have a short attention span,’ etc.
- For example, I'm a night owl or I'm an insomniac are labels that can negatively affect your sleep.
Identities can either serve you or hurt you. "Whatever we tell ourselves who we are, that’s who we become. You believe that you are what you say you are."
- A study has been done to show this, which consisted of a group of people sleeping in a lab. In the first part of the study, these people were told in the morning that they had a bad night's sleep, even though, in reality, they had an excellent sleep. - These people then behaved groggily and acted like they were not well-rested (which they wrote on their surveys). The second part was the opposite, the people had a horrible sleep, but they were told that they slept well. Hearing this affected the study group's behavior; this time, they acted more energetic and felt better.
- This study shows how your beliefs about yourself affect your life.
Sources of Distraction
- It is a common belief that distraction is created by external triggers such as "pungs, dings, and notifications of any sort"
In reality, the number one source of distraction is internal triggers. Which are the uncomfortable emotional states that we seek to escape from?
- Such as boredom, loneliness, fatigue, stress, anxiety, etc.
- The actions we take to escape these negative emotions are the real roots of procrastination and distraction, so don't blame your procrastination on character flaws, there is nothing wrong with you!
- The important thing here is to create healthy tools that will lead you towards traction rather than a distraction.
Sleep, Distractions, and Identity
- Identities can sometimes serve us and sometimes hurt us. How can we use it to help us…?
- By reducing self-limiting beliefs. We can use it to become the person we want to become. Stating to yourself ‘who I am’. --- Utilizing this kind of identity for the things and activities we want to do, **which includes sleeping.**
- "Okay, I got the blackout shades, phone in another room, in bed on time, no distraction. But I woke up at 3 am every night and wouldn’t be able to fall back to sleep. “I’m not sleeping, that means tomorrow is gone, and I’m not gonna have a productive day,” Etc. Bad thoughts are triggering more anxiety." How to disarm this anxiety?
- Knowing that your task was to sleep at a specific time and have already completed your task and done your part should give relief. If you can't have a good sleep tonight, you can have a better one tomorrow.
- A mantra to go by is: **The body gets what the body needs**
- You won't usually know how you actually slept unless you get information from an external source, therefore your initial thoughts in the morning will even shape your day either positively or negatively. This shows how putting a label on your day and believing it affects your day and life.
How to Beat Distraction
- The difference between distraction and traction is forethought
- “We get in our way, that we make harder than what they are” So don’t wait for motivation.
- If you want to change a behavior, don't wait for inspiration. Make that behavior easier to do for you.
- People who seem to be indestructible don't have a lot of self-control, self-discipline, and willpower. What they have is a system and a plan. "*The antidote to impulsiveness is forethought".*
- We don't initially know what to do with the impulses that create distractions and procrastination; however, do not get distracted. We have to do the following:
- Take steps in advance and make sure that our distractions won't get the best of us.
- For example: What will you do when someone offers you cake while you're on a diet? You must plan what you will say, you must have a plan ready to not get distracted.
- Another example: You have to finish a task by tonight and your buddies invite you out, what will be your response to them? By having forethought and planning out these kinds of situations, you can avoid the distractions. Since distractions are mostly created within you, look into yourself to make things easier for you once you get the impulses to procrastinate. - Using positive labels and identities on yourself will help you to know your plan always.
Schedule maker tool: https://nirandfar.com/schedule-maker/
Summary article: https://www.nirandfar.com/skill-of-the-future/
And distraction guide: https://www.nirandfar.com/distractions/
Habits vs routines article: https://www.nirandfar.com/habits/
Indistractable Model graphic: https://www.dropbox.com/s/uip4bifw7fll6p4/How%20to%20be%20Indistractable%20%20by%20Nir%20Eyal.png?dl=0