Daily Routines is a series by Balance the Grind, profiling successful leaders, entrepreneurs, artists and business executives to explore their routines, habits and rituals.
When asked in a Thrive Gloval interview about the inspiration behind Indistractable (2019), Nir Eyal, who also penned Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products (2014), replied with a story about his daughter.
“I remember one moment that just propelled me to explore distraction in its entirety.
I was with my daughter one afternoon and we had this book that listed activities for daddy-daughter time. The book had one particular question that caught our eye.
The question was “If you can have any superpower, what would you choose?”
My daughter answered that question, but I was not paying any attention to her answer. I was busy with my phone and I was distracted. When I looked up from my phone, she had already left the room. She got the message that she was less important than my phone. She just left me to play outside.
That moment I realized I had to do something. I had to understand what was going on in my own mind and why I was getting so distracted. I wanted to get to bottom to understand distraction.”
In a world where attention and time is becoming increasingly scarce, a book like Indistractable: How to Control Your Attention and Choose Your Life is especially relevant, providing a framework for readers to become “indistractable,” with research-backed advice on forming habits and creating routines.
For Nir Eyal’s own daily routine, he begins the day early, waking up at 6.30-7am. He spends his mornings having breakfast with his family and exercising, before settling down to work.
He writes primarily in the morning at 9.30am, five days a week, usually at a local coffee shop or co-working with other authors at home. “Co-working next to other people is a great way to make sure you start on time and stay focused,” Eyal explained in a Writing Routines interview.
As an expert in productivity, habits and staying indistractable, Eyal employs several techniques to help him stay focused. For instance, he uses an app called Forest every time he writes, “It’s a timer that plants a virtual tree when you start a focused work session. If you pick up your phone and try and exit the app, the tree dies. It’s a little pre-commitment device that helps me stay focused.”
A good writing day is typically two hours of new words on the page. I don’t really care about output, which is something you really can’t control. My job is to spend my time the way I intended. As an author, you can’t predict when a breakthrough idea will hit you, but what you can always control is the time you put into your work.Bestselling Author Nir Eyal On And How To Be Indistractable, Why Time Management Is Pain Management, And The Six Rules Of Writing | Writing Routines
Eyal typically writes all morning before breaking for lunch with his family. After that, he’s usually done with writing and will spend the rest of the day on consulting, phone calls, emails, and more family time.
Eyal will typically settle down at 10pm on most nights, leaving his phone out the bedroom and shutting off the internet, “I’ve programmed a special timer to automatically shut off my internet connection every weeknight at 10 p.m,” he wrote in Business Insider.
Basically, I have each hour of the day set for something. It doesn’t always have to be strictly productive — I time-box social media time, for example — but it does mean I have a sense of where my time goes every day so I know if I’m distracted. It’s important to turn my values into time by making time for traction in my day.Nir Eyal Q&A | Goodreads
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