Nir Eyal writes, consults, and teaches about the intersection of psychology, technology, and business. The M.I.T. Technology Review dubbed Nir, “The Prophet of Habit-Forming Technology.” So, how do you take control of your attention?
Nir founded two tech companies in 2003 and has taught at the Stanford Graduate School of Business and the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford. He is the author of the bestselling book, Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products and Indistractable: How to Control Your Attention and Choose Your Life.
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Nir is also an active investor in habit-forming technologies. Some of his past investments include Eventbrite (NYSE: EB), Refresh.io (acquired by LinkedIn), Worklife (acquired by Cisco), Product Hunt, Marco Polo, Presence Learning, 7 Cups, Pana, Kahoot!, Byte Foods, FocusMate, and Anchor.fm (acquired by Spotify).
Nir attended The Stanford Graduate School of Business and Emory University.
How to Control your Attention?
The term “attention mastery” refers to the ability to manage one’s attention. Attention is a valuable commodity. We only have a limited amount of resources. We must learn to efficiently use and allocate our attention in order to get the most out of life.
As a result, mastering your concentration powers necessitates becoming the supreme commander of your mind’s armed forces, budgeting your resources, knowing your divisions’ strengths and weaknesses, and placing a particular unit at the battlefront at certain times while moving it to the rear for rest at other times.
Make sure your goals are crystal-clear
When a man lacks guiding principles, his attention drifts aimlessly to whatever the world tells him is significant, which is usually detrimental to living a truly flourishing life. Knowing your basic beliefs and having a plan for your goals generates focusing lenses that help you focus on what matters most while weeding out the unnecessary and distracting.
Plan out your day
While we commonly associate planning with time management, it is actually attention management at its core. Every time you sit down to plan your day, you’re effectively deciding on what you’ll focus on that day. You end up having control and focusing your attention on whatever unforeseen diversions arise and making a run for it if you don’t plan ahead of time.
Remove any potential sources of distraction
Noises in our daily lives – television, smartphone pings, wailing kids – create a more “violent” grab for our involuntary attention; if you’re driving down the road, you’re much more likely to reflexively turn to look at a flashing billboard than you are at a stately oak.
Trying to focus on the task at hand while ignoring these appeals for your involuntary attention exhausts your voluntary attention, leaving you feeling scattered, irritated, and distracted.
Take it slow
Your focus narrows when you thought, read, or study your environment slowly. You’ll spend less time pondering and analyzing specific words and sentences inside a major work of literature and more time focusing on and investigating elements in your environment that capture your involuntary attention.
Maintain a positive attitude
Positive emotions cause us to pay more attention. We’re more likely to see new connections and opportunities when we’re optimistic because we’re relaxed. This is one of the reasons why it’s critical for leaders to keep a positive attitude; a sense of realistic optimism is critical in developing and maintaining a strategic big-picture vision.
Mindfulness and meditation are a must
Meditating or engaging in mindfulness activities can help to increase well-being, mental fitness, and focus. Our brain becomes calmer and our entire body relaxes during the meditation process. We concentrate on our breathing throughout the process to avoid being sidetracked by our thoughts. We may learn to use our breath to bring our focus back to a task so that it can be completed properly even if we are interrupted with practice.
Get more rest
Your sleep is influenced by a variety of variables. One of the most prevalent is reading on an electronic device. Such as a computer, phone, or tablet just before night, or viewing a favorite movie on a LED TV. According to studies, such gadgets emit light that is closer to the blue end of the spectrum. Such light stimulates the retina of your eye and inhibits the production of melatonin. Which promotes sleep anticipation in the brain. To reduce blue light, use a filter or “blue light” glasses, or avoid using any electronic devices before night.
Avoid exertion late in the day, stay hydrated throughout the day, using journaling or breathing techniques to calm the mind. As well as developing a predictable bedtime ritual and schedule are all ways to improve sleep.
Stopping multitasking is related to removing distractions. When you multitask, you aren’t truly performing multiple things at once. You’re simply switching your voluntary focus from one task to the next. Every time you flip your attention, a small portion of your voluntary attention’s finite fuel depletes. Don’t be shocked if your brain feels frazzled and you don’t have the attention juice to get through an assignment in the afternoon. Especially if you spend your mornings juggling your focus between your Twitter feed, RSS feeds, email, and the work you’re actually supposed to be doing.
Taking a complete break from technology
Take a complete break from your electronics for a day or longer to “fast” from them. There is no access to a computer, smartphone, or television. I just feel more concentrated after a day or two without checking my computer or phone. For a double dose of attention rejuvenation, I usually combine my tech fasts with stepping out into nature.
You must be a wise supreme commander who understands how to effectively employ his forces if you want to win the war on distraction and construct an empire of personal progress. Sometimes you want to devote one type of attention to the frontlines, and other times you want to devote another to rest. You may make the most of your important attention by expertly moving your resources and properly deploying your troops.
And, Voila! That is how you control your attention! I hope you learned a lot from this article because I did too! Also, don’t forget to share this list with your friends and colleagues!