Ever hear of Nir Eyal? (Most people haven’t.)
He wrote the book, Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products. You know who has heard of him? Almost everyone at every technology, gaming, and social media company trying to get you addicted to their products.
They do it well.
Two decades ago when I started working, I was selling. Prospecting. It was just me, a phone on my desk, and a ticking clock. Now, we have email, texting, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, multiple phones, YouTube, and everything we could ever read always available on the internet on our desks and in our pockets.
Deloitte conducted a study in 2017 that revealed people checked their phones 47 times a day. People aged 18 to 24 checked 86 times per day.
We have messages coming at us all day. Even when we don’t, we check to see what we might have missed. We live a world of ever-increasing distraction. As we check in on our social media accounts, we check out of work.
Think this has no effect?
- People are distracted every 11 minutes.
- Interruptions make you 20% percent dumber.
- When people get disrupted, it takes on average 23 minutes and 15 seconds to get back on task.
- After only 20 minutes of interrupted performance, people reported significantly higher stress, frustration, workload, effort, and pressure.
Distraction is an epidemic, and it’s getting worse. Thanks, Nir.
Most of us have phone and media habits that cause us to be constantly distracted.
My advice here is simple, powerful, effective, and (emotionally) difficult to do.
Play hard to get. Be impossible to distract.
Here are three hacks to help you do just that.
3 Hacks to Become Impossible to Distract
1. Be Free from the Shackles of Alerts: Turn off the alerts on your email, messaging, texts, apps, etc. With alerts on (ding, buzz, and ring), there’s no way to avoid constant distractions. Alerts are shackles. Turn off your alerts and be free of those chains.
Close and log out of applications that might distract you. Put the distractions (like your phone) in a drawer or other room while you’re concentrating.
Do this and you give yourself a fighting chance.
2. Signal “Do Not Disturb”: Signal to others that it’s not a good time for interruptions. Close your door or put on headphones even if you’re not listening to anything. Post a sign that says, “On a deadline. Come in if it’s an emergency. If not, please check back later.”
You can even turn on your email out-of-office message. Everyone knows that a day here and a day there you won’t be around. Write a message that says, “I’m not available today and not checking email. I’ll be back on Monday. If you need help, contact my colleague Mary Jones at…”
People tend to pick up on these subtle and not-so-subtle hints. Do these and reduce distractions.
3. Be Someplace Else: If you’re in a spot in the office where people tend to interrupt you, spend some time working someplace else. If they can’t find you, they won’t distract you.
You don’t need to do these all the time (yes, keep your alerts off all the time), but practice these strategies and gift yourself the space to focus, concentrate, and get done what you want to get done.
Play hard to get and you’ll be impossible to distract.
About the author: Mike Schultz is a bestselling author of Rainmaking Conversations and Insight Selling, Director of the RAIN Group Center for Sales Research, and President of RAIN Group, a global sales training and performance improvement company. He and RAIN Group have helped hundreds of thousands of salespeople, managers, and professionals in more than 73 countries transform their sales results and unleash their sales potential. Follow Mike on Twitter or connect with him on LinkedIn.