Today I am going to talk about this question of distractions. As you have likely seen over the past several years, it seems like we are constantly distracted these days. We sit down to do that big project and yet we find ourselves checking e-mail or slack. Why are we so distracted? Is technology really at fault here, or is there something deeper going on?

The Hooked Model For Super Focus

A few years ago, I popularized this model called the “hooked model”. It was a design pattern built into product experiences that are designed to get people to form super focus habits with a product. The idea is that every hook starts with a trigger. We have two types of triggers- external and internal. The external trigger is some kind of ping, ding, or ring in our environment that prompts us to action. 

After the trigger, we normally take an action that is done in anticipation of a reward. The next step is the reward phase. In the reward phase, not only does the user get what they came for-  there is this anticipatory response to what they might receive next time they engage with the product. This is called a variable reward or intermittent reinforcement and is based on the work of B.F. Skinner.  

After this variable reward part of the hooked model, we enter the last step- the investment phase. The investment phase is where the user puts something into the product in anticipation of some kind of future benefit, it’s not about immediate reward. It’s about some kind of future reward. There are two parts to this phase. 

  1. Storing of value in the product- which makes it better with continual use.
  2. Lowering the cost of investment- which makes it easier to use the next time. 

The Inspiration Behind “Indistractable.”

After writing my new book “Indistractable.”, I noticed that my behavior changed in ways that I didn’t like. I remember I was sitting with my daughter, Jasmine, and we had this book of daddy and daughter activities. One of the questions in the book was if you could have any superpowers, what superpower would you want?

I wish I could tell you what she said. Sadly, I can’t tell you what she said because I was busy poking around on my phone. In fact, I didn’t hear her response. Unfortunately, I’ve blown this perfect daddy-daughter moment. When I looked away from my phone, she’d left the room. Consequently, she played with something else and understood that whatever was on my phone was more important than she was. 

I felt horrible, and if I’m honest with you that wasn’t the only time it happened. I didn’t understand why. So, that’s why I embarked on this quest to figure out why do we get distracted. This way, if you asked me what superpower I would want today I would tell you I would want super focus and the superpower to become indistractable.

Click here for part 2

Click here for part 3

About the speaker
Nir Eyal Bestselling Author Member

Nir Eyal is a bestselling author whose first book - Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products - focused on teaching design behavior in Silicon Valley product teams. His next book - Indistractable: How to Control Your Attention and Choose Your Life - provides a guidebook for getting the best of technology without letting it get the best of us. Prior to publishing these titles, Nir served as CEO at AdNectar and Sunshine Business Development. In addition, Nir lectured at Stanford's Graduate School of Business and Institute of Design. Nir holds an MBA from Stanford University and currently lives in NYC.

About the host
Tim Holley Etsy, VP of Product
Provide your rating for this post
If you liked this post, please use the buttons to the left to share it with a friend or post it on social media. Thank you!

Leave a Reply

Read more

Bestselling Author, Nir Eyal, on Managing Workplace Distractions

Nir Eyal on behavioral design psychology and how this concept outlined and defined how healthy interactions with products should look like.

Managing Workplace Distractions: Hacks to Become Indistractable.

Nir Eyal talks about environmental hacks to fight against distractions and the big four strategies designed to keep you indistractable.

Managing Workplace Distractions: Understanding Distraction and Internal Triggers

Nir Eyal on internal triggers that lead to distractions and why one should identify the root causes for discomfort to become indistractable.

Working Through Distractions With Super Focus: The Relationship Between Traction and Distraction

Bestselling Author Nir Eyal discusses what distraction really means in practicality, and how the opposite of distraction is traction.

Working Through Distractions With Super Focus: Using Tools and Pacts To Your Advantage

Bestselling Author Nir Eyal discusses how to work through distractions by using tools and pacts to keep you focused while you're working.

/ Register for Free

Don’t be left behind in your career. Join a growing community of over 500K Product professionals committed to building great products. Register for FREE today and get access to :

  • All eBooks
  • All Infographics
  • Product Award resources
  • Search for other members

Coming soon for members only: personalized content, engagement, and networking.