Health, Focus, Goals: 3 Questions with Nir Eyal

Hi Nir! Thanks for joining us today. People use the phrase “good health” all the time. What does this phrase mean to you?

Good health” to me means freedom. Freedom is the ability to do the work I want to do, spend time with people I want to be with, and go where I want to go, unencumbered by the limitations of an unhealthy body.

With so many distractions in modern life, how do you stay focused on priorities? nir

As technology becomes more pervasive and persuasive, managing distractions and staying focused on the things that really matter is an increasingly important topic. To help me keep technology in its place and keep it from encroaching into areas of my life where doesn’t belong, I’ve ironically had to turn to new technologies.

I first started by understanding my own technology habits. I used the four phases of my Hook Model, which is at the core of habit-forming technology, to help me understand why I was doing certain behaviors. Then I sought to break the hooks I didn’t want.

For example, in an article I wrote titled “The Strange Sex Habits of Silicon Valley,” I detailed how I banished technology from my bedroom by using a timer to turn off the Internet every night at 10 o’clock. Another example is how I write. I use a program called Freedom to shut off my Internet for a given period of time while I concentrate. I think we are all going to have to become more aware of how we manage digital distractions.

If you could give one tip to people wanting to achieve their goals, what would it be?

I am of course bias because it’s a subject of my book, but I obviously believe habits are extremely important. When we make certain behaviors part of our day-to-day routines and we do them with little or no thought, they can actually help us do quite a lot. Small habits can amount to tremendous benefits over time. They can truly help us become the people we wish to be and, over time, slowly facilitate the impact we wish to have on the world. My one tip of advice would be to acquire an understanding of how to gain control over bad habits while learning how to create beneficial routines.


 

Nir Eyal writes about the intersection of psychology, technology and business at NirAndFar.com. He is the author of Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products. For more insights into how products change behavior, join his free newsletter and receive the first chapter of his book.

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