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Book Freak #59: How to Control Your Attention

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Scrivener is an application (Mac, Windows, and iOS) that helps writers complete longform writing proj
 

Book Freak

June 25 · Issue #59 · View online
Short pieces of advice from books

Scrivener is an application (Mac, Windows, and iOS) that helps writers complete longform writing projects. I’ve been using its powerful organization, research, and writing tools for years to write books and magazine articles. It’s the most well-designed software application I’ve ever used, and the tutorial videos and support are excellent. At $49 it’s a bargain. If you’re serious about writing, you should give Scrivener a try! – Mark

Nir Eyal lectured at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business and Institute of Design. He writes, consults, and teaches about the intersection of psychology, technology, and business. Here are four pieces of advice from his book, Indistractable: How to Control Your Attention and Choose Your Life.


Be kind to yourself
“An individual’s level of self-compassion had a greater effect on whether they would develop anxiety and depression than all the usual things that tend to screw up people’s lives, like traumatic life events, a family history of mental illness, low social status, or a lack of social support.”
Work hard and go home
“If you were to walk around Slack’s company headquarters in San Francisco, you’d notice a peculiar slogan on the hallway walls. White letters on a bright pink background blare, ‘Work hard and go home.'”
Forget rewards and focus on the task
“Instead of running away from our pain or using rewards like prizes and treats to help motivate us, the idea is to pay such close attention that you find new challenges you didn’t see before. Those new challenges provide the novelty to engage our attention and maintain focus when tempted by distraction.”
Prevent superfluous meetings
“The primary objective of most meetings should be to gain consensus around a decision, not to create an echo chamber for the meeting organizer’s own thoughts. One of the easiest ways to prevent superfluous meetings is to require two things of anyone who calls one. First, meeting organizers must circulate an agenda of what problem will be discussed. No agenda, no meeting. Second, they must give their best shot at a solution in the form of a brief, written digest. The digest need not be more than a page or two discussing the problem, their reasoning, and their recommendation.”
Book Freak is published by Cool Tools Lab, a small company of three people. We run the Cool Tools website, a podcast, a video review YouTube channel, and a couple other newsletters, including Gareth’s Tips, Tools, and Shop Tales, What’s in my bag? and Recomendo. I hope you’ll check them out. You can support our work by becoming a patron via Patreon.
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