Monday, October 21, 2019

Review: Indistractable

Indistractable is an exploration of the reasons why we get distracted and strategies we can use to avoid the distraction. Based on research on motivation and compulsion, the information in the book is similar the things I learned in Drive and The Power of Habit, but from a different angle: being mindful of habits and motivators that take our focus away from important things. Or put another way, the things same inner mechanisms that motivate us, and encourage productive behavior can also have the opposite effect. The key, Eyal tells us, is to focus on the triggers.

I like that the book starts out by saying that technology is not the problem, even as we often place blame on the accessibility and draw of electronic devices. This resonates with me, as I can recall times when, as a child, the newspaper or radio was a way for a parent to ignore me, and now as a parent, when my child was able to ignore those around him while doing “good” tasks” like reading. The historical record bears this out as well, as the book quotes an article bemoaning the impact of the Gramophone on the ability of children to focus. There will always be distractions, and while strict rules about avoiding them can help, it’s more sustainable to solve the core reasons for why you are distracted.

As is appropriate for a book on the subject, the chapters are short, and thus easier to feel like you are making progress as you learn to manage your distractions. The book is both inspiring and actionable. After working through the framework there are sections dedicated to how you manage distractions in your various life domains, including work, relationships, and children. The section on making Indistractable children is particularly worth while (though will be more valuable if you read the earlier sections).

If you are an employee, manager, parent, or any combination, you are likely to find value in this book.

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