I'm Nir Eyal, the author of Hooked and Indistractable. I've spent the past half-decade trying to cure my problems with distraction. AMA!
I’m Nir Eyal. Confession: I used to struggle with distraction. I’d tell myself to tackle a project, then hours later, I'd find I'd done anything but. I’d promise to avoid my phone, then give in to the glow of the screen. I wanted to know why I was so easily distracted, and why so many of us are. And more importantly, I wanted to change these habits.
It took five years of research and experimentation, but I think I’ve cracked the code on why we get distracted and what we can do about it. It turns out science can tell us a lot about how to increase our focus and deal with distraction, and that science helped me change my work and life. Today, I can get things done and spend more meaningful time with my family and friends—and I don't feel guilty all the time because I didn't do something I said I would.
Today, I call myself "indistractable"—a label that was hard for me to earn, and one that I made the title of a book that documented this journey. To be fair, there is some irony here. Before tackling my distraction problems, I wrote a book called Hooked—a guide to building “habit-forming products.” I know it can seem contradictory, but my experience as an industry insider was part of what helped me "un-hook” myself from distraction—without having to do some crazy digital detox or give up technology for a month. There's hope for people who love their devices but don’t want them to run their lives.
I’m excited to answer your questions, and hopefully this can help others who struggle with distraction. I’ve done a few other things in my career including teaching at Stanford as well as founding and investing in start-ups. I'm also a proud father of an 11-year-old, I live in New York, and I'm a barefoot runner. I’d be happy to answer questions about any and all of that as well.
So please, ask me anything!
Edit: Hey everyone, I have to step away for an hour, but I’ll be back to answer more questions!
Edit: Back now, diving in! Keep the questions coming!
Edit: Reddit, thanks for all the great questions, comments, and back-and-forth. I really appreciate it, and if you keep leaving questions, I will do my best to answer them. Thank you!