30+ lessons on focus, avoiding distraction, and living an intentional life from the conversation between @nireyal and @shaneaparrish on @TKPPodcast

(and why you shouldn't have a to-do list)

A thread 👇
It used to be that you'd live in a small town and wouldn't see the world.

Now we're used to seeing the entire rest of the world and the things we don't have, and we constantly want something more.
The Social Dilemma documentary leaves out the entire other side of the argument, and misconstrues a lot of things.

An example is that suicide in specific groups of people have fallen dramatically, often because they find peers online.
"Nothing great enters the life of mortals without a curse."—Sophocles
Every new technology has good things and bad aspects.

The question is, how do we make use of the good?
Modern technology is not causing addiction.

They are habit-forming products, not addiction-forming products.

We use the word addiction too often, when it doesn't really apply.

The word prevents those of us who don't have an addiction—most of us—from taking responsibility.
For the vast majority of us, the things we call addictions are actually distractions.
There are lots of things in life that aren't your fault, but they're still your responsibility.
The price of having technology—all these amazing, magical tools—is that we need some personal responsibility.
The leading cause of distraction is not external triggers.

Distraction begins with internal triggers: boredom, uncertainty, fatigue, anxiety.
Time management requires pain management.
You'll always be distracted by something.

If it's not Facebook, it will be booze, or football.

Something is going to distract you unless you understand what feeling you are trying to escape.
The root cause of all human behaviour is the desire to escape discomfort.
The question of discomfort and distraction is not new.

Plato talked about it 2500 years ago.

He called it akrasia, the tendency to do things against our better interest.
From an evolutionary point of view, constant happiness would be terrible for humans.

It's okay not to be happy all the time.
The opposite of distraction is not focus, but traction: any action that pulls you towards what you said you were going to do.
Distraction is any action that pulls you away from what you plan to do, anything that is not done with intent, and anything that moves you from your values and the person you want to be.
One of the most pernicious forms of distraction is prioritizing the easy and urgent work instead of the important work.

Because we don't realize when it's happening.
Something to note: anything can be traction.

Playing video games or scrolling Facebook can be traction.

But only if you plan to spend your time doing that.
The time you plan to waste is not a waste of time.
Any distraction can be turned into traction by simply making time for it in your day.
The first step to mastering distraction is mastering your internal triggers.

First: when you feel distracted, write down the preceding emotion.

Second: explore the emotion with curiosity, not contempt. Just explore it.

Third: surf the urge.
Emotions hit us and crest, and then subside, just like surf.

Use the 10-minute rule to make it past the peak.

Tell yourself that you'll allow yourself to be distracted in 10 minutes.

Most of the time, it will pass.
The second step to mastering distraction is to make time for traction.
You can't call something a distraction unless you know what it's distracting you from.
Most people keep a list, but don't keep a schedule.

It should be the opposite.

You should put everything in a calendar.

This is called making an Implementation Intention.
Thousands of studies have shown you are more likely to do what you say you're going to do when you plan a time and place to do it.
Your calendar is your best to-do list.
The other reason not to keep a to-do list is that when you keep a list, which inevitably never gets finished, you reinforce a self-image of someone who doesn't get things done.
When you keep a calendar, the only metric of success is: did I do what I planned to do without distraction? Not if you finished something, like a to-do list.
The other benefit is that you can show this calendar to colleagues or your boss when they request you do something.

You can use it as a tool to help force them to prioritize.
To set up your calendar, ask yourself:
• How much time would the person I want to become invest in themselves?
• How much time would the person I want to become invest in relationships?
• How much time would the person I want to become spend on work?
Specifically, how much time on reflective work and reactive work?

Reflective work is time to think and work on important projects.

Reactive work is responding to emails, Slack, requests, etc.
We use the same language for money and time—spend, save, pay. So why are we so careful with money, and so careless with time?
Find ways to add friction to your sources of distraction.

For example, get a timer to turn off the wifi in your house when you want to go to bed.
Pacts where you put money on the line are helpful as a final step, and only for things where you control the external triggers.

A good example is writing a book.

Bad examples are chewing your nails or becoming a millionaire.
A key component of well-adjusted kids: sacred no-tech times.

Family dinner is a good one.

No technology in bedrooms is another.
An insomnia technique: give yourself a mantra like "the body gets what the body needs."
Two secrets for good relationships:

One, have a code word for when you want to do something nice for the other person and don't want them to argue with you.

Two, if you're arguing, ask each other how important this is to them, on a scale of 1-10.
You can listen to the original episode here!


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More from @grahamkmann

4 Feb
I've read all kinds of books on a range of topics, all focused on one thing: how to live a better life.

I've consolidated the learnings that I repeatedly find useful.

Here's a thread of 72 of them 👇
Habits are the first topic.

They form the basis of everything we do.

Good habits = good life.

Bad habits = bad life.

The best book on habits is Atomic Habits by @JamesClear. Read it.
Focus on the process, not the goal.

All habits start with a change we'd like to make.

Focusing too much on the end goal is discouraging.

Instead, focus on building the process required to get there.

Reach your process goal every day.

The results will come.
Read 79 tweets
3 Feb
Enjoyed the @creatorlabfm podcast between @bzaidi and @waitbutwhy

Here are some takeaways 👇
Working for yourself often gives macro happiness: you're satisfied with where you are in life.

It can cause micro issues though, when you have no one to report to and everything to do.
One way to tell if you truly understand something: do you feel foggy about it?

If so, it's probably an indication that you need to dig in more.
Read 16 tweets
28 Jan
Listened to a wonderful conversation between @jackbutcher @david_perell @anafabrega11 @will_mannon @rebecca_olason on becoming a creator and building a personal monopoly.

Here are 30+ takeaways 👇
The three parts to build a personal monopoly:
• Curiosity: what do you care about?
• Competence: what are you good at?
• Character: who are you?
Often curiosity manifests in combining multiple interests or fields (and competence in those fields).
Read 37 tweets
26 Jan
Really enjoyed the @creatorlabfm podcast with @ShaanVP and @bzaidi

Here are some of my favourite takeaways 👇
On working at a startup vs. a big company: there are pros and cons to each.

In big companies, you work less, get paid a lot, don't fear death everyday, and that's nice.

In a broader sense, life is what you make of it. You can enjoy life at a big company or a startup.
Startups are like infants. You shouldn’t be distracted.

Bigger companies allow you more freedom.
Read 19 tweets
19 Jan
The @farnamstreet podcast between @m2jr and @ShaneAParrish was full of lessons on leadership, mental models for startups, and building great teams.

Here are 50+ takeaways 👇
Side note: @m2jr is one of the most well-spoken podcast guests I've ever heard.
A company has products, a supply change, resources and processes and values and capabilities that give them a market position.

A startup has none of these.
Read 51 tweets
18 Jan
There are no shortcuts to success.

Only those that provide two things: value & consistency.

Today's atomic essay 👇 (thread below) Image
One of my favourite questions: Are you playing the long game? Or the short game?

(h/t @farnamstreet)
Hacks and shortcuts don’t win long-term.

The only way to succeed long-term is to provide two things: value and consistency.
Read 6 tweets

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