Indistractable Chapter 13

Chapter 13, Ask the Critical Question

This chapter discusses the importance of deciding what external triggers are useful or not when considering work and interruption. It follows the morning of a freelance marketing consultant who had a great idea, but lost it when she was interrupted by a tweet notification and text, then once she had picked up the phone, she noticed more distracting notifications that pulled her further away from what she expected to get done during the morning.

Eyal then shares some information from BJ Fogg of Tiny Habits. The Fogg Behavior Model shows that for a Behavior to begin, there must be Motivation, Ability and a Trigger. If a person with the motivation and ability to tackle a behavior doesn't get a trigger, the behavior never starts. External triggers can be helpful or not at all, depending on the habit you're intending to build or continue. My smartphone use has gotten out of hand, so much so that I will hallucinate that blinking LED light for notifications on my phone in my peripheral vision just to find out I put my phone upside down, and there was no way it had a notification for me to attend to. I've been using Android 10's new Focus mode - I turn it on at work, and it blocks notification and access to all apps except for work email and phone calls. I've also started using the Wellness app's Wind Down feature which turns on Do Not Disturb and sets the phone screen to grayscale. Since so few notifications from my phone are urgent and important, I'm also putting my phone out of my field of view for most of the time. I expect all these things will help!

Chapter Summary:


  • External triggers often lead to distraction. Cues in our environment like the pings, dings and rings from devices, as well as interruptions from other people, frequently take us off track.
  • External triggers aren't always harmful. If an external trigger leads us to traction, it serves us.
  • We must ask ourselves: Is this trigger serving me, or am I serving it? Then we can hack back the external triggers that don't serve us.

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