Join Nir Eyal for an in-depth discussion in this video The skill of the century, part of Becoming Indistractable.
- Have you noticed how distracting the world has become? Have you ever sat down at your desk with a deadline looming over your head and you knew that you were going to finish all these tasks on your to-do list, and then you sit down at your desk and somehow 30 minutes, 45 minutes, maybe an hour later you're still checking email or on that Slack channel for some reason? Have you noticed that when you're with your family for some reason you're on your device as opposed to being fully present with them? Or gone out to dinner with friends and look around the table and everyone's scrolling a Facebook feed? What's happened to us? Why have we gotten so distracted? And is technology really the source of the problem, or is there something else to blame? Over the past few years, I've researched the source of distraction.
It all started when I wrote a book a few years ago called Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products. And I wrote this book for two reasons. The first reason is that I wanted to expose this hidden psychology behind how companies like Facebook and Twitter and Slack and WhatsApp, how these products keep us coming back. But I wanted to do that so that all of us, product makers, businesses, could use the same psychology to help people build healthy habits in their lives. The second reason I wrote the book is that I noticed that my own behavior was changing in ways I didn't always understand and, frankly, didn't always like.
I remember one time I was sitting with my daughter and we had some quality time together. And we had this book of different activities that daddies and daughters could do together. And one of the activities in the book was to ask each other this question. If you could have one superpower, what superpower would you want? And I remember asking my daughter this question, and I know she answered. But in the moment, I couldn't tell you what she said because I wasn't paying attention. I was distracted by my device, and I had blown this perfect daddy-daughter moment.
And it was then I decided that I had to get to the bottom of what causes us to become distracted.