Bestselling Author Nir Eyal on Working Through Distractions With Super Focus (Part 3)

Nurses Tackle Distraction In The Workplace

There comes a point in which all this communicating becomes destructive towards our work output. Part of the reason for that is because we are constantly interrupted by external triggers. One example can be found in hospitals. In hospitals, there was a huge problem of patients dying due to incorrect medication being administered. 

The problem behind all of this was that the nurses were being distracted 5-10 times during a medication round. Surprisingly, the solution to this problem was much more simple than people thought. The nurses wore a plastic vest –  this vest told other workers to not disturb the nurse because they are delivering medicine.

Let People Know That You Are Busy Working

How can we apply this to our life as product managers? What would happen if we started telling our colleagues that we are indistractable at the moment. Sure, It’s an explicit message. However, we need our focused work time. 

First, I’ll address our devices. We know that our devices are constantly pinging us. However, it turns out that they’re built with tools to keep those distractions at bay. Here are a few things you can do:

  • On your desktop make a folder labeled everything and put everything in it so you can search for stuff later.
  • Change the notification settings on your phone to mute those external triggers while at work.
  • Put your phone on do not disturb mode.

As A Last Resort, Try Making A Pact

Finally, try to prevent distractions with pacts. By making a pact, you’re essentially declaring advance steps that you’ll take today to prevent getting distracted in the future. A key principle I want to leave you with is that the antidote to impulsiveness is forethought. If you aren’t taking steps in advance of course they’re gonna get you. So how can we apply this principle? 

  • We can use tech to block tech (Forest, Self-Control, ect)
  • Find a focus friend

However, let me warn you. You have to be careful. This technique of using pre-commitment must be used last. A lot of people dive into it first and it most often backfires. First, we have to make sure that we we master internal triggers. The idea here is that the antidote to internal triggers is self compassion. In fact, studies find that people who are more self compassionate are much more likely to accomplish their long term goals. We all have the power to get the best out of these tools without letting them get the best of us.

Click here for part 1

Click here for part 2

About the Speaker
Nir Eyal
Bestselling Author
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.

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