Chapter 9 of Indistractable

Chapter 9, Turn Your Values Into Time

This chapter is all about knowing what you do with all of your time, and setting up appropriate limits for what you can and will do in a day. Eyal suggests that just having a to-do list without setting times for the tasks will only end in frustration as things get pushed from one day to the next. He suggests instead of what we're going to do, write down why we are choosing to do the task - which would stem from our values.

I know I failed at cleaning the guest room until I had a strong why - which was 'my parents are showing up in a month and I don't want to have to rush around cleaning before they arrive.' They won't be here for another month, but it was enough of a push to get it done already, and even in enough time to not just tidy the room, but actually be mindful about what I want to put where.

I've tried timeboxing several times, and they always seem to fail early on. My guess is that I overbook what I'm expecting to get done, or I expect that I'll suddenly not want to watch some TV or go from one hobby to the next without relaxing... ever. And that I'll fall asleep right at 10pm every night, despite having trouble falling asleep for... decades. Eyal even mentions putting "watching TV" into the schedule, so you're not depriving yourself constantly.

Ok, new plan. Timebox for only one week. Not a year or a month. Later today, I will timebox my entire schedule for the rest of the week and reevaluate for next week. I'll add in all my social activities and assume that I'll also want to watch TV and read non-blog worthy stuff - it won't be hobbies and work the whole time.

Chapter Summary:


  • You can't call it a distraction unless you know what it is distracting you from. Planning ahead is the only way to know the difference between traction and distraction.
  • Does your calendar reflect your values? To be the person you want to be, you have to make time for your values.
  • Timebox your day. The three life domains of 'you', 'relationships' and 'work' provide a framework for planning how to spend your time.
  • Reflect and refine. Revise your schedule regularly, but you must commit to it once it's set.

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