Review and Summary: Indistractable

Indistractable Book Cover

Author: Nir Eyal

Publication date: 11 September 2022

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC

Number of pages: 336 pages

We can all strive to do what we say we will do, we all have the power to be indistractable.

Nir eyal, author of indistractable.

Our gadgets, families, friends, and work colleagues demand our attention, even interrupt us at the most inconvenient time. We let them ‘take away’ our attention and focus—the ones that should be under our control as this is the key to improve human creativity. In Indistractable, Nir Eyal provides behavioural recommendation to maximise technologies and have a healthy relationship with families and friends without letting them grab our own attention.

I found surprising insights from this book that haven’t been publicly told as the root causes and answers to human’s issues towards distraction.

Insight #1: We falsely blame the wrong cause.

Every time distraction topic comes up, we all tend to accuse our phone, television, social media, and any other objects that actually only a probable cause of our distraction. Then, what are the real culprits?

There are three psychological factors that lead us to distraction: our boredom, negativity bias, rumination, and hedonic adaptation. Those make us not easy to be satisfied and lead to distraction. Thus, we have to make a peace with discomfort to tackle distraction.

We will always find a path to distract ourselves, except we acknowledge and understand the main reason of our distraction.

Insight #2: Do a 10-minute rule.

Have you ever want to check your social media by saying to yourself “I just want to check it for a second” while you are working then end up getting off-track? Well, we’ve been there, done that. Then, this 10-minute rule probably the best tip that you can do.

Wait for 10 minutes. If you still want to do that, then do it. But if you are not, then skip it and stay focus on what you’re doing.

Insight #3: Labelling ourselves matters.

What we say to ourselves is significantly affecting us. Label ourselves as someone who is not easily distracted, then we will have a high self-control. Do it the other way around, then we become distractable.

Insight #4: How to effectively use group chat?

  • Use it like a sauna. Just stay for a while, then get out. It is not healthy staying inside too much.
  • Plan it. Make a daily schedule to check on the group chats.
  • Be picky. Select the group chat with good topics, people, and conversations.
  • Slow down conversations. Don’t let us and the group chat members write anything that pass our mind.

Insight #5: How to have a fullfilling meeting?

We all are so tired of having tons of meeting in a day without anyone paying enough attention. Nir Eyal offers two solution for this case:

  • set a clear agenda for every meeting
  • provide brief and written solution prior to the meeting
  • less (or even no) screen, the better

Insight #6: How to hack back our smartphones?

  • Remove the apps that don’t support our values and not needed.
  • Replace when and where to use the apps that we really love. Stick with the set schedule.
  • Rearrange the apps and decluttered them so they are rearranged based on our priority and needs.
  • Reclaim it by setting our notifications.

Insight #7: How to deal with online articles?

This is a common issue among researchers: having great quantities of open tabs containing unread paper (that sometimes remains unread).

For this problem, Nir Eyal mentions an app that I haven’t known before which is called Pocket. This app is able to take the text from the web page of the article that we would like to read, then stores it to the app on our phone without advertisement and unnecessary content.

If I know how you spend your time, then I know what might become of you.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, a German Philosopher

Insight #8: Multitasking is not entirely bad.

We have been read and learn that human is not build for multitasking. It is also written in a book titled Hyperfocus by Chris Bailey. However, Nir Eyal reveals that a lot of studies tell us that multitasking in a proper way is actually let us do more with less effort. How to do it?

We have to understand that our brain can do something that scientists called crossmodal attention where we can process information from multiple sensory inputs. By doing that, we can do one thing in autopilot while we can mind about the others.

This is the best strategy to do things in term called temptation bundling where we can affect our behavior to do things we know we have to do by doing the thing that we love. For example, we could listen to our favorite song only while we are exercising.

Insight #9: Smartphone is not the main reason of kids become distracted or depressed.

Smartphone as potential distraction on kids’ mental health has been a common issue in parenting. It is a myth, just like how parents condemn sugar and other technologies as the reason of poor developed kids’ brains.

In Science Daily, Dr Christopher Ferguson states that there is insignificant relationship between depression and screen time. Only abysmal amount of time spend online that could be linked to depression. Then, how come kids become so addictive to gadgets?

Human being needs three elements to grow well: autonomy, competence, and relatedness. If the child lacks exposure from those elements, then they would looking for fulfilment from gadgets and being online.

Understanding the reason of technology addiction is the initial step to help kids build resilience. Another step is to set the limits of tech use together with the child.

Social norms are changing, but whether or not they change for the better is up to us.

Nir eyal, author of indistractable.

Insight #10: Build social antibodies to block the spread of unhealthy behaviours

We are living a socially contagious environment. What we do or what people around us do influence our habit. Social antibodies are collective methods to build a protection from bad behaviours by labelling them as taboo and block the spread.


I will conclude the review with a sentence written by Nir Eyal on this book “Distractions still happen, but now I know what to do about them so they don’t keep happening”.

Read-alikes Book List

If you like Indistractable, then you might be interested to read:

Stolen Focus by Johann Hari by BjornsbookLabs

Hyperfocus by Chris Bailey

1 Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *