The 2nd Nir Eyal Hypothesis: When We Understand our Triggers and Plan Our Time, We Can Become Indistractible

Nir Eyal’s new book, Indistractible, launches this week. In this episode of the Product Science Podcast, we talk about how to put behavior science to work for you so that you can build practices and habits that help you avoid distraction and get things done. Nir is also the author of the bestselling book, Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products and writes, consults, and teaches about the intersection of psychology, technology, and business.

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Resources

Questions We Explore in This Episode

Why don’t we do what we say we’re going to do? What does Nir mean when he talks about personal integrity? What’s the downside of products built with the Hooked model? Why don’t cold turkey tactics work for technology-based distractions? Why is the problem bigger than just our devices?

What can we learn about technology habits from cultural norms around smoking in the 80s? How does society create norms around new habits? Why is it unhelpful to talk about how technology is melting or hijacking your brain? What is learned helplessness? If external triggers aren’t the number one source of distraction, then what is?

What is traction, and how is it the opposite of distraction? How do you make time for traction? How can you use forethought to counter impulsiveness? What are the four steps you can take to prevent distraction? How do you identify discomfort and take action?

How can you adapt patterns that lead to distraction in order to remain focused? How can you use acceptance and commitment therapy to help? How do you identify the feeling you felt before you got distracted? What is surfing the urge and how can it help? Why does just saying no backfire?

How can you address distraction within your corporate culture? How did Boston Consulting Group turn the corner on an always-on culture? How do you provide employees with psychological safety? How can you be careful to safeguard your culture, and what are the risks in high-growth companies?

Quotes From This Episode

Time management is pain management, meaning every time we get distracted, we are distracting ourselves for the purposes of emotional pacification. If we don't face that fact, then we will always get distracted by something. - Nir Eyal Click To Tweet It doesn't matter how powerful these algorithms are and how good Facebook is, and how many data scientists they hire. If we plan ahead we are always more powerful than the tech companies in that regard. - Nir Eyal Click To Tweet When we can't change the source of discomfort, we have to channel so it leads us towards traction as opposed to distraction. Here there are 3 big tactics: reimagine the trigger, reimagine the task, or reimagine our temperament. - Nir Eyal Click To Tweet When we tell people technology is hijacking their brain it makes it more likely that that will be the case. It's called learned helplessness. When you believe something has control over you you stop trying. - Nir Eyal Click To Tweet

Transcription

Holly Hester-Reilly: Hi and welcome to The Product Science podcast, where we’re helping startup founders and product leaders build high growth products, teams and companies through real conversations with people who have tried it, and aren’t afraid to share lessons learned from their failures along the way. I’m your host, Holly Hester-Reilly, founder and CEO of H2R Product Science. Welcome back to The Product Science Podcast. I’m excited to share a conversation with Nir Eyal today. We’re going to be talking about his newest book, Indistractable. I’ve read it already and been practicing some of the things from it for a bit now, and I’m super excited to talk about it. So Nir, welcome.
Nir Eyal: Thank you so much. I can’t wait to hear what you’ve implemented in your life from the book.
Holly: Yeah, we can dive into that, but before I tell you what I’ve implemented, if in case any of our listeners don’t know what Indistractable is, why don’t we start with that?
Nir: Sure. So the idea behind Indistractable is that becoming Indistractable means you become the kind of person who strives to do what they say they’re going to do. It’s about living with personal integrity. What I find is that most of us, we would never dream of lying to our friends, to our family. We would never want to be called a liar. That’s a really hurtful insult, and yet we lie to ourselves all the time. We say we’re going to do one thing and we don’t, right? We sit down at our desk and we say we’re definitely going to do that project we’ve been procrastinating, but it gets moved to the next day. We say we’re going to eat right, we say we’re going to exercise. We say we’re going to spend time with the important people in our lives, and somehow we don’t. So the big question behind this book was why don’t we do what we say we are going to do, and can we use the deeper psychology behind distraction to help us live out our values, so that we can become the kind of people that we know we can be.
Holly: Yes, I love that. How did you end up deciding that this was going to be your next body of work? How did you land on this topic?
Nir: Yeah, so this was about five years ago after I had finished my first book, Hooked. It was already out there in the market. Hooked is really about how to build habit-forming products. It’s about how to use the psychology and behavioral design to build the kind of products and services that people really want to use, as opposed to products they feel like they have to use. It’s done a lot of good in the world. I’m very, very proud of Hooked and what it’s done over the past five years. I get emails daily from folks who are using the Hook model to help people form exercise habits. Habits around saving money, and habits around making education more engaging. All of these wonderful products and services that have been built using the Hook model. Unfortunately, there’s also a downside. The downside today, it wasn’t the case when I started writing the book five years, when I wrote Hooked over five years ago.
Nir: We certainly see today that there’s a greater awareness out there that the downside of products that are built to be so sticky, so engaging is that sometimes we overdo it. I experienced this myself. I was sitting with my daughter one afternoon, and we had this beautiful day planned to be together all afternoon. We had this book of activities that daddies and daughters could do together. While we were looking through this book, one of the questions I still remembered verbatim was if you could have any super power, what super power would you want? I wish I could tell you what she said, but I can’t because in that moment when she was answering this question, I was on my phone. Something had captured my attention, and I was focusing on some stupid email, or who knows what on my phone as opposed to being fully present with someone I love very much. The next thing I knew, I looked up from my phone and she left.
Nir: She had exited the room, because she got the message that whatever was on my phone was more important than she was. I felt awful about this, and if I’m really honest with you, it didn’t just happen once. It happened many other times. Not only with her, but it happened to me while I was trying to do my work. When I was trying to do a task that was particularly hard, no matter how important it was, somehow I would get distracted and I’d said, “Okay, I’m going to work on this project right after I check email. Right after I just Google something real quick.” I found myself constantly getting distracted, and not being able to do what it was I said I was going to do. So this became a very personal mission for me. I wanted to figure out how could I acquire the superpower of becoming in Indistractable. That’s a superpower I would most want. I mean, imagine how powerful we could be if everything we said we would do we actually did, right?
Nir: I mean, what could we accomplish in the world if we just followed through on everything we wanted to actually do with our time. So that started this five year journey to learn the deeper psychology of distraction. Along the way, there was a lot of fits and starts. The reason the book took me so long was because I did a lot of research into what most books out there tell you to do, which is get rid of the technology. I read every book on this topic thinking, “Well, I’ll just find the answers so that I don’t have to write the book. I’ll just use the answer that they tell me and it’ll work.” Well, it didn’t work because one, we need these technologies. At least I certainly do, right? A lot of these books are written by professors who don’t even have social media accounts, which is nice, but I need my social media account because as an author these days, that’s how I reach my audience. I love these tools, they’re wonderful.
Nir: There are so many people in my life that I cannot stay in touch with were it not for these tools, so I don’t want to get rid of them. I think they’re wonderful. What I wanted to figure out is, is there a way for us to get the best out of these tools without letting them get the best of us? Furthermore, when I did these experiments, I did the digital detox and I did the 30-day plan. I did all this stuff. What I found is that the same reason that these 30-day plans don’t work is for the same reason fad diets don’t work. I used to be clinically obese, and I remember I used to do these fad diets. The 30-day, no fast food for 30 days. Of course, you know what happens on day 31, we come back with a vengeance.
Holly: Did you make it to day 31? That’s impressive.
Nir: Yeah, I did. I did, but then of course just like when I was on a fad diet and said no junk food, I used to eat more than ever on day 31, because it was this [inaudible] fix to a longterm problem. So that’s when I realized that there really wasn’t a good book out there on how to control our attention and choose our life, and so that’s why I decided to write it. I went back to the fundamental research around human motivation, around what distraction really is and found that the answer is much more nuanced than I think a lot of people let on. The problem has something to do with our phones, but not everything to do with our devices. The fact is if Zuckerberg said tomorrow, “You know what? I’m turning off Facebook. Okay, Facebook is going dark. I’ve had enough.” Do we really think people are going to go back to reading Shakespeare and Chaucer in their free time?
Nir: Of course not. That’s not going to happen. We’re going to go back to exactly the same things we’ve always done to distract ourselves. Gossip and the news, and soap operas and whatever else we use to distract ourselves from reality. What I discovered was that not only is distraction not a new problem, literally Socrates and Aristotle talked about this 2,500 years ago about what a distracting place the world is these days, 2,500 years ago. What is new is not the problem of distraction. What’s new are that we haven’t adopted the skills to manage distraction and still get the best out of these tools, and so that’s really why I wrote this book. It was a toolkit for me that I could use to become Indistractable. I have to say that in this process over these five years, it’s profoundly changed my life. I’ve never considered myself to be a person who has a lot of self control and self discipline. That’s why I wrote this book, right?
Nir: If you are a person who never struggles with distraction, this might not be the book for you, but that was definitely a problem that I had, is that I would constantly push off half of my to-do-list from today, till tomorrow, to the next day, to the next day without understanding why. Now I understand why, and I can do something about it. Thankfully I’m in better physical health than I’ve ever been, I spend more quality time with my family. I’m more productive at work, because I utilize these four big tactics for becoming indistractable.
Holly: That’s amazing. I love that you shared from the very beginning about the experience with your daughter, because I think who among us hasn’t accidentally, whether accidental or not, but who among us hasn’t had a moment where we realize that a person we cared about was feeling lonely while we were on our phones. We’ve all done that, right? I know I’ve certainly been on the other side as well, and I’m sure everybody has where someone that you care about, that you’ve made time to spend with seems like they’re on their phone the whole time and you’re thinking, “Gosh, am I not that important? What’s going on here?”
Nir: Yeah, it feels horrible and we don’t want to do that to anyone, and we don’t want anyone to do that to us. Yet we’re in this transitory period where these tools are so great. They’ve done so much for us in so many ways, but of course there are downsides, right? Sophocles said 2,500 years ago, nothing vast enters the life of mortals without a curse. So we’re learning. Something as vast as the internet, of course, it’s going to have some curses and we’re now coming to grip to some of the downsides. The nice thing is that I’m not a tech-apologist, obviously. I think there’s a lot of bad things that have come out of the technological revolution we’ve seen over the past 10, 15 years. However, I’m also not a techno-pessimist. I think that what we need is nuance, and we need to understand that there’s a lot of good these tools can do for us if we understand the proper place for them in our life.
Nir: We’re in this guinea pig generation almost, or this tech hangover. We’re like kids experimenting with booze for the first time and we’re waking up, we have these terrible hangovers and our initial reaction to having a hangover is that’s it. I’m never going to drink again. I never want to use social media again. It’s terrible. We should regulate them. We should make them go away, but that’s not reality, right? We can learn how to use things responsibly in a way that brings us enjoyment, enhances our life and doesn’t necessarily get the best of us.
Holly: Yeah, I love that analogy of having a tech hangover. Sometimes I think, I remember one time I was talking about parenting with somebody, and my kids are … My oldest is now five and a half. So still very young, young enough that we’ve made some of our own, we’ve run some of our own experiments, shall we say on technology uses in children. One time I said to somebody, “Well, I’m really glad that my daughter is only five and a half and not 15, because I think by the time that she’s 15, we’ll have learned a lot of things that we haven’t figured out yet.” This friend was really surprised that I had that optimism, because this person just thought like everything was going to crap, you know? I was like, “We had to figure out how to be safe with cars. We had to figure out how to be safe with telephones.” Like all the new technologies, they have a learning curve.
Nir: That’s right. I think that’s exactly right. One of the stories I tell in the book is my memory growing up in the 1980s. I was born in the 70s, but I grew up, some of my first memories were in the 1980s. I remember that my parents had ashtrays all over the house. Now my dad had stopped smoking years before. My mom never smoked, and yet back then in the mid 1980s, you were just expected to let people light up in your home. This was back when smoking rates were at about 60% of the U.S. adult population. Today they’re at about 16 and falling. Today if someone came over to my house and lit up a cigarette, I mean can you imagine? I don’t have any problem if somebody wants to smoke. That’s fine, but in your living room? Absolutely not. How did that change? It wasn’t regulation, and there’s never been a law that says that people can’t smoke in private residences. What changed is our norms, right?
Nir: It became rude to not ask somebody, “Hey, do you mind if I smoke here? Or do you mind if I go outside to smoke?” That became a new cultural norm, and we see this actually happening today. When I first started teaching at Stanford, and this was 2012, I remember my students, there would always be a good chunk of students in my class on their phones. It was just what they did, and today that’s really changed that among young people I see much less of that. Even in the boardroom, still it’s interesting when I go, I give these big expensive design reviews when I do my consulting work and have 20 people in a room. It’s usually the highest paid person in the room that hasn’t gotten the message, that it’s really rude to check your device in the middle of a meeting. Now that’s changing. Thankfully we are adopting what Paul Graham called social antibodies, right?
Nir: Society learns to protect itself from harmful behaviors with these norms, with these rules. I think we see that evolution happening today with our technology just as it did hopefully, just as it did with cigarettes a few decades ago.
Holly: Yeah, that’s a really good story. I haven’t really been in college classrooms in a while, and so it’s interesting to hear how you see that evolving already.
Nir: By the way, real quick. It’s interesting to see what these same students do around their parents versus their peers. It’s a completely different story. Even with teenagers. I have an 11 year old and it’s amazing like around each other, kids won’t use their phones as much. They want to be together, they want to enjoy each other’s company, but as soon as their parents show up, well this is the perfect escape from having to listen to mom and dad. They dive into their phones, into their screen.
Holly: Well, I’m glad to hear that your daughter and her friends don’t only use them when they’re together. I definitely, I’ve had a couple times. I live in New York too and there’ve been a couple of times where I went out to a place where … Gosh, I’m going to sound so old, where young people were gathering and saw them just on their phones. It was like, this is so bizarre. One place I was at was Do, you know the place where they sell cookie dough that’s pasteurized and what not so it’s safe to eat. It was like everybody there, and I think some of them were there with their family instead of their friends. It was like everybody there had gone in to buy cookie dough for this treat together, and then just took pictures of themselves eating their cookie dough and didn’t talk. Strange.
Nir: It still is a problem. Don’t get me wrong, but I think it’s changing for the better. I think people are getting the message that there is a cost, there is a price to be paid. Now what I don’t like is this idea that it’s melting your brain, that it’s hijacking your brain, that it’s addictive and there’s nothing you can do about it. The algorithms are somehow controlling you. That’s not supported by the scientific evidence, and it’s not helpful because when we tell people this message that I think has been reverberated in the media, because it makes frankly a really good story. Ironically, traditional media makes money the same exact way Facebook does, they monetize clicks, right? They monetize your eyeballs, they are attention merchants just like the companies they criticize, and they know that those kind of startling headlines attract a lot of attention, but it’s so dangerous I think, to tell people this message that technology is hijacking your brain. It’s not true.
Nir: It’s just not true, but in fact, it’s dangerous because it teaches people learned helplessness. So when we tell people that technology is hijacking their brain, that it’s addictive, it makes it more likely that that will be the case. That in fact, people stop trying. It’s called learned helplessness. When you believe that something has control over you, that you have less agency, you stop trying. Now some people, of course, a little asterisk here, of course, some people are protected, right? There are protected class of people. So children clearly, they don’t have the right faculties to make these kinds of judgments for themselves. They deserve special protection. People who are pathologically addicted, right? We know that about one to 5% of the population has these addictions to different substances, but of course, it doesn’t mean everyone gets addicted. Do some people get addicted to social media? Absolutely.
Nir: Do some people get addicted to alcohol? Of course, but not everyone. Many of us drink, we’re not all alcoholic. People who have sex, not all of them are sex addicts. Clearly some people get addicted, but not everyone. I think there’s this dangerous message going around that well, there’s nothing we can do. The kids are just all addicted. There’s nothing we can do, because I am addicted. That’s a message I really want to counteract. I want to give people the agency that it is their right to have more control over these distractions. It’s of course not just digital distractions. I mean, I talk about in the book how the distractions that we think are the most pernicious are not actually the most common. When people think about distractions, they think about the pings, dings, rings, and things on their phone or their computer. Turns out that really the number one source of distraction are not these external triggers. It’s in fact the internal triggers.
Nir: It’s when we feel some kind of uncomfortable emotional state, and that’s something I didn’t see in these other productivity books, or these books about how to manage distraction. If we don’t understand that time management is pain management, meaning every time we get distracted, we are distracting ourselves for the purposes of emotional pacification. If we don’t face that fact, then we will always get distracted by something. Whether it’s the television, whether it’s the news, whether it’s anything can distract you if it takes you off track. The solution has to start with mastering what we call these internal triggers.
Holly: That’s really powerful. Yeah, I definitely experience and know people who experienced that. The distractions are, you find yourself getting distracted more when you’re uncomfortable with something you’re doing, and you don’t really want to face it. So tell me more about the internal triggers, and the ways to master that.
Nir: Sure. Yeah, so let’s start with just an overview of this model of becoming indistractable. There are only four steps, which was actually the hardest part about writing this book, was that there’s so much information out there, so much wonderful research that the hardest part was actually not deciding what to put in. It was what to keep out. So I really distilled it down for the reader. I’m writing a book about distraction and I knew people would get distracted, so I started out with a book that was 350 pages long. Then my wife read it and said, “Are you crazy? Nobody’s going to read a 350 page book on distractions.” So I cut it down, and I boiled it down to just the four key steps to becoming indistractable. The first one is to master these internal triggers, but in order to really understand how do we avoid distraction, let’s make sure we define the term, so we understand what we’re talking about.
Nir: To understand what distraction is, we have to understand what it is not. So the opposite of distraction is not focus. The opposite of distraction is traction. Both words come from the same Latin root, trahere, which means to pull. Both words end in the same five letters, A-C-T-I-O-N, that spells action. So traction is any action that pulls you towards what you want to do with intent. The opposite of traction is distraction. Any action you do that pulls you away from what you want to do with intent. So that’s a really important point. You can’t call something a distraction unless you know what it distracted you from. The second step after we’ve mastered the internal triggers, the second step is to make time for traction. That means we have to plan out our day, and we can talk about those strategies as well. The third step is to hack back the external triggers. We know that what pulls us towards either traction or distraction, what prompts us are either these internal triggers or external triggers.
Nir: So internal triggers we have to start within, we have to figure out strategies to cope with this discomfort, but we can also do all kinds of things to hack back the external triggers that lead us to traction or distraction. Now the external triggers are the usual suspects. The pings, dings, rings, all of these things in our environment that prompt us either to traction or distraction. What many folks don’t realize is that these external triggers go well beyond just our devices. Open floor plan office, huge source of distraction. Of course, email, group chat, meetings. Oh my God, what a huge distraction meetings can be for the average knowledge worker. So there are all these environments in our life that we have to hack back these external triggers. Then finally, the fourth step is that we can prevent distraction with pacts. So the antidote for impulsiveness is forethought.
Nir: It doesn’t matter how powerful these algorithms are and how good Facebook is, and how many data scientists they hire. If we plan ahead, if we take steps today to prevent getting distracted tomorrow, that’s our superpower and we are always more powerful than the tech companies in that regard. We simply need to plan ahead. The vast majority of people complain about distraction and they don’t do anything about it, and they keep getting distracted as I used to get distracted day after day, after day like an idiot. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing, expecting different results. It’s inaccurately attributed to Einstein. He didn’t say it, but it’s a great quote anyway. So at least now with these four steps, you can understand why you get distracted. Now you can do something about it. You can ask yourself okay, am I not able to master my internal triggers? Did I not make time for traction? Did I not hack back the external triggers, or can I use a pre-commitment to prevent the distraction?
Nir: So that’s the four big parts of the strategy, right? So tactics are what you do. Strategy is why you do it. That’s the strategy, these four key parts, and then now we can dive into the nuts and bolts, like the tactics of how you do those four key steps.
Holly: Awesome. So tell me about that first one. The internal triggers.
Nir: Yeah. So how do we master these internal triggers? We have two choices. We can either fix the source of the problem, the thing that’s causing us the discomfort, or we can learn tactics to cope with it. We want to start with that first tactic, right? So if something is causing you emotional discomfort, that’s causing you to seek escape, at the end of the day, time management is pain management. So the first step is to stop the bleeding, right? What’s causing you this discomfort? Is it work you hate? Is it a work environment you can’t stand? Is it something going on in your life that’s unresolved? That has to be the first place that we start if we can fix the source of the problem. So there’s a whole section in the book about workplace culture, and how it turns out what my research indicates here and what I’ve become very convinced of is that distraction at work is a symptom of cultural dysfunction.
Nir: That if you work in an environment where people are constantly tethered, constantly expected to be responsive, you will find that that is just the canary in the coal mine. That these office environments that have that type of culture, that perpetuates constant connectivity. What you find is that there is all kinds of other problems that these companies have, and I highlight two companies. One Boston Consulting Group that I used to work at. Actually it was my first job out of college that has since reformed from a place that had very high employee turnover, a miserable workplace culture. I can tell you firsthand how difficult it was, to a place that’s now one of the best companies to work at in America according to employees themselves. They rate company as a fantastic place to work. They’ve really changed the company by creating this different culture, and of course now they can give people the kind of time they need for focused work, where they can actually become indistractable, and do their best work.
Nir: The other company profile is Slack, which is a really interesting case study in a company that people blame for making a product that gets them constantly distracted. You would think if technology is the source of the problem, well, nobody uses Slack more than Slack. So these should be the most distracted people on earth, and they’re not. At 6:30, the office is cleared out. If you use Slack on nights and weekends, you’re chastised. Like you’re not supposed to be on Slack on nights and weekends, and we can talk about what makes for that great company culture. There are three traits, but the bigger picture here is if you can fix the source of the problem, like as is in the case of workplace culture, that should be your first step. But the fact is, part of being human is that we have all of these uncomfortable feelings. That’s just part of being an adult. We have these uncomfortable sensations. It’s part of our hard-wiring as human beings, we constantly want for more.
Nir: So when we can’t change the source of that discomfort, we have to channel it in a more healthful direction so that it leads us towards traction as opposed to distraction. Here there are three big tactics. We can reimagine the trigger, we can reimagine the task, and we can reimagine our temperament. In each one of those three buckets, there’s all kinds of techniques we can use. Re-imagining the trigger is about dealing with that discomfort in a more healthy manner. When you feel bored, when you feel lonesome, when you feel uncertain, when you feel fatigued doing your work, whatever it might be. Whatever circumstances you might get distracted, when you feel that sensation, how do you cope with it? For many of us, what we’ve done is we’ve created this habitual pattern of every time I feel a sensation, I pick up my phone, I Google something, I check email and do whatever to get out of that uncomfortable sensation.
Nir: Where it’s so pernicious by the way, is that we trick ourselves. I used to do this all the time. I’d sit down at my desk and say, “Okay, now I’m going to write. Now I’m going to do that big project. Now I’m going to work those slides, whatever it might be right after I check email.” Email feels worky, right? That feels like something productive, doesn’t it? No, it’s not. If that’s not what you plan to do with your time, it is just as much of a distraction as playing video games. So it’s really about understanding what do I turn to for that psychological relief. Then there was all kinds of tactics. I site research from Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, and I provide many very practical tools that we can use to write out those sensations in a healthier manner that allow us to get back to the task at hand, so that we don’t get distracted. That’s the big [inaudible 00:27:21], reimagine the trigger, re-imagine the task and reimagine your temperament.
Holly: One of the things you said there caught my attention. What is Acceptance and Commitment Therapy?
Nir: Acceptance and Commitment Therapy is decades old research and a methodology that is oftentimes used by clinicians to help people change their behavior, which is really about understanding the triggers in your life. Understanding how oftentimes we trick ourselves into getting worked up over a certain sensation, and then that leads us to some pretty unhealthy behaviors. One of the techniques that I borrow from Acceptance and Commitment Therapy is this idea of when you feel one of these uncomfortable emotional states, what most people do, what I used to do is to criticize. We tell ourselves, “You see, there you go getting distracted again. You see, there’s something wrong with you. You can’t focus, you can’t concentrate. There’s something wrong with us.” I mean, if we talked to our friends the way we talk to ourselves, we wouldn’t have any friends. At least I used to be very self critical of myself, and it’s really not helpful.
Nir: Instead, what we want to do, instead of chastising ourselves, what we want to do is not to criticize, it’s to get curious. So one of the techniques that we can use is when we find ourselves about to get distracted, we want to talk to ourselves the way a third person might. We would say, “Okay, there Nir goes about to reach for his cell phone.” So that helps us catch ourselves for just a second, and now what we want to do is to just write down that sensation. Like what is that feeling that you felt right before you got distracted? Is it boredom, uncertainty, fatigue, loneliness? What is it that prompted you to seek escape with that distraction? You would be amazed how simply writing it down, and in the book I actually give you a distraction tracker to help you do this. Then what we want to do is to use a technique called surfing the urge.
Nir: Surfing the urge requires us to simply get curious about that sensation for just a few minutes, and this is called the 10 minute rule. If I’m about to give in to some kind of temptation, I say I can give into that temptation in 10 minutes. Okay, it’s not about, no, it’s not about abstinence. It’s about in 10 minutes. I use this technique by the way, just as effectively for helping me stay on task with a big project at work as I use it to help me not give in to eating a piece of chocolate cake when I know I don’t want it, or I know I’m trying not to eat it because it’s unhealthy for me. So the 10 minute rule says that you simply are present with that sensation for just 10 minutes. In 10 minutes, you can give in. You can have that distraction, you can give into it, but for that 10 minutes you have two choices. You can either sit with that sensation, feel whatever it is, get curious about that sensation or get back to work on the task you were doing.
Nir: You would be amazed how just letting 10 minutes go by without self criticism, but instead with curiosity, you can ride that urge. It’s called surfing the urge, and it crests and then subsides like a wave, right? So you’re riding a wave like a surfer on a surf board. By the end of those 10 minutes, you’d be amazed. 99% of the time, that urge is gone and you’re back at work.
Holly: I really liked the visual too of surfing the urge. So I think I know, but tell me a little bit about why is the advice to surf the urge instead of just say no.
Nir: Yeah, yeah. The just say no technique as children of the 80s remember from Nancy Reagan, really does backfire and it backfires because of what’s called rumination. Rumination is this tendency that we have to keep chewing on on an issue, or a thought or a feeling to the point where by constantly turning over this idea of you can’t, you can’t, you can’t in your head, it actually creates so much tension. It creates this internal trigger, this negative valence state that the only solution can be relief of that desire, of that craving with the thing we’re trying to avoid. So what happens is this is part of why some people get hooked to behaviors that they don’t even like. Cigarettes are pretty disgusting, right? The taste of a cigarette is awful, and when smokers are asked to just focus on that sensation, they realize they don’t even like it.
Nir: Of course, nicotine plays some role, but what also plays a very significant role is this rumination around I shouldn’t, I shouldn’t, I shouldn’t, I shouldn’t. I shouldn’t. I shouldn’t. Okay, fine. It’s almost like pulling back a rubber band. The more you tell yourself no, no, no, no, no, when you finally release that rubber band because you can’t take it anymore, the rubber band doesn’t just stop where it started. Your desire doesn’t go back to where it started. No, no, no. It feels good actually to relieve that tension, because remember all behavior is the desire to escape discomfort. So if now you’ve created an association with a product, whether it’s a cigarette, whether it’s Facebook, whether it’s whatever, and you’ve built up so much tension from telling yourself don’t do it, that doing it feels so good for the sake of the fact that it relieves the pain, the psychological tension of telling yourself no.
Nir: That’s a huge insight, that in fact, when we deny ourselves these things without a tactic to cope with the discomfort in a healthier manner, that’s when it can backfire. I’m not saying we shouldn’t abstain. Of course, we should abstain from things that don’t serve us. It’s how we abstain, and this just say no policy and it’s just so easy, just stop doing it without a tactic to cope with the emotional reasons why we do these things tends to backfire.
Holly: How do you see this happening in the workplace? What are some of the ways that people experience these internal triggers, and what are the things that they have to surf the urge on in their work?
Nir: Yeah. So work is a very interesting problem because as I was writing this book, I realized that I could give folks all kinds of advice for what to do personally, right? How they can become indistractable on their own. The fact is, you can try these four tactics. You can implement them in your life and become indistractable for the time you control, but if you work in a workplace environment that insists on interrupting you, insists on getting you to do stuff you don’t want to do with your time, then what do you do then? So the example of if you use these tactics and your boss insist on calling you on Friday night 8:00 PM, well that’s taking you away from being with your family or relaxing, or doing something for yourself. That’s something that’s outside of you. That’s not something you can necessarily control. So there’s a few things you can do.
Nir: One is to ask yourself whether working in that type of environment is consistent with your values. To be very clear, I’m not here to tell you what your values should be. If you want to work at a tech startup that’s working like crazy and people are working 60 hours a week, or you want to work on Wall Street and that just requires 70 hour week commitments, well then that’s fine as long as you know what you’re getting into, right? If you’re allergic to pollen, you probably shouldn’t be a forest ranger. If it’s really something that is not consistent with your values, I would ask yourself if that’s really what you want to sign up for, but if you are aware of what you getting into and then there’s a bait and switch, that’s where I think there’s a problem. I think that’s a much more common dilemma where the basic trade-off for employers to employees is I give you money, and you give me time.
Nir: Now what happens in many work environments is that employees going in, go in thinking, “Okay, this will be a 40 hour week time job and then I can have my nights and weekends to myself.” What often turns out to be the case is that there are these expectations that will always be on, that will always be connected. So that’s where we have to talk about this larger issue. We know that there is a confluence of two factors in the workplace that not only is correlated, but actually has been shown to cause anxiety and depression disorder. The coexistence of these two factors are as follows. Number one, environments that have high expectations coupled with number two, low control. So a work environment where people have very high expectations, and yet very little agency to meet those expectations, these are the work environments that are literally driving us crazy, right?
Nir: They are literally driving us crazy because what people do in those circumstances, which is very emotionally taxing, very psychologically taxing to have high expectations and low control, they search for control in any way they can. So what do people do when they lack agency, when they lack control, they desperately seek it. How do they get it? By sending more emails, by calling more superfluous meetings, by hanging out on group chat all day wasting people’s time, because that’s how they assert control and agency when they have none. So it turns out that those are the type of work environments that perpetuate this sick company culture, which creates distraction. It makes people turn to these distractions in order to grasp for agency, because that’s what we do here. The company culture is, that’s how you excel, that’s how you get better at your job is to constantly be connected. Of course, that doesn’t mean you’re actually doing better at your job. What companies have found is actually quite the opposite.
Nir: At Boston Consulting Group where I used to work, my first job out of college. It was a terrible always on culture, and this was back in the day of Blackberries. I remember we were constantly tethered to our devices. Why? Because we’re in the service business. We have an international workforce, we constantly need to be ready whenever, we were always on call. They had a very high churn rate, and they didn’t even know why. People left the company because they were burning out because of high expectations, low control, but they of course didn’t tell management that. They couldn’t tell management that, but that was the real source. So the company made this amazing transformation. A researcher by the name of Leslie Perlow, decided to go to Boston Consulting Group and she pose a challenge for them. She said, “What would it take to give everyone on one case team, one predictable night off per week?”
Nir: They said, “No, no, no, we can’t do that. We’re in the client services business. We need to always be on call, we’re internationally distributed. That can’t happen here.” She said, “You know what, how about this? This is Boston Consulting Group. You guys serve the top 50 companies in America. What if one of your clients asked you to solve this problem. Could you do it?” Okay, well fine. So they figured it out. They got together, they got together in a room and they talked about how to give everyone PTO, predictable time off. They found that actually the solutions weren’t that hard. They were pretty mundane stuff. Covering for each other, planning ahead. It’s not the tactics that are important. It turned out that what really changed things from this one case team, eight people started this project, was that they had a meeting to discuss their problems. That’s the first and second criteria of companies that have a healthy company culture is that number one, they provide employees with psychological safety.
Nir: Psychological safety means you can talk about your problems without fear of retribution, without fear of being fired. So you can raise your hand and say, “Hey, you know what? This always on stuff, this is really tough for me. How can we work around this? How can we solve this problem without fear of being shown the door?” The second thing, the second trait is that not only do employees feel psychological safety, they’re given a venue to talk about these problems. So at BCG, what they discovered was when employees could talk about this one problem of how to give everyone one predictable night off per week, it opened up a can of worms. There were all kinds of other things that they weren’t talking about. So if you work at a company where people can’t talk about this one problem, they’re also not telling you about all kinds of other problems, because they’re scared. They’re not telling you about the crappy customer service. They’re not telling you about how the product isn’t working as it should.
Nir: They’re not telling you about God knows what, that they’re keeping secrets, because they don’t feel psychological safety, and they don’t have a venue for it. So number one is provides psychological safety. Number two is have a venue to discuss problems. Number three is that employees need to see leadership exemplify what it means to be indistractable. Culture flows downhill, that if upper management is constantly connected, is constantly on their devices, which by the way they all also hate. If they show folks that that’s what’s required here to excel, well then everybody follows suit, but it doesn’t have to be that way, but it has to start with upper management as well. So for example, at Slack, this company that you would expect uses this product that everybody says is so distracting and yet they don’t have this problem, why don’t they have this problem? Well, one are the reasons is if you walk into Slack company headquarters, you will see in bright pink letters painted on the company walls. It says work hard and go home.
Nir: Not something you would expect to see at a publicly traded Silicon Valley startup, and that’s exactly what it says. From the CEO on down, everybody at the company exemplifies this principle that we need time to disconnect. We need time to focus, to be with our families, to do things for ourselves. So that’s part of the company ethos, and everybody in the company abides by that including of course company management. So those are the three traits of a healthy company culture. Number one, psychological safety. Number two, a venue to talk about your problems. Number three, that leadership exemplifies what it means to be indistractable.
Holly: That’s awesome. I loved the story from Boston Consulting Group. I think when I read it in the book too with more detail, I really liked that because I think a lot of people that I talk to in high growth product management, they’re in these really high pressure situations. If they haven’t been in that before at that level or in that pace of growth, they might not realize as the symptoms begin to show that their culture is not remaining healthy even if it once was. Sometimes then they wake up one day and realize, oh my goodness, we don’t have those three things that you just spoke about. We don’t actually have psychological safety here, or we don’t have a forum, or leadership isn’t putting forth the right message. A lot of times I talk to people feel stuck, because they don’t know how to go back towards that.
Nir: Yeah, that’s the risk I have to say of writing about specific companies. For all I know these company cultures can change. I mean Jim Collins had this problem with his book, Good to Great, that many of the companies they talked about in his book a few years later weren’t so good and certainly weren’t all that great anymore. Many of them went out of business. So who knows what might happen with Slack and Boston Consulting Group, but certainly at the time of writing, they were the kind of companies that are consistently rated as some of the best places in America to work. I talked to many employees at both those companies. Having worked at one of those companies, I’d even seen some of the transformation. So yes, it certainly can change. A culture is definitely a fluid thing based on company leadership, based on changes in norms, based on which people come and go within the enterprise.
Nir: I really do think it’s something that all of us can change, even if you’re not on top. If you’re the boss, it’s relatively easy. You can implement this stuff. So pick up a copy of the book, it’ll tell you exactly what to do. Even if you’re not, you can start small. This team at the Boston Consulting Group was eight people. It was an eight people team, and that eight person team changed the entire organization. Now everybody does what’s called predictable time off.
Holly: Predictable time off. Yeah, I’m a big believer in that too. That’s a lot of what I do is work with teams that sometimes I’m working with leadership, and sometimes I’m working in the middle. If I’m working in the middle and I say let’s try and make it work in this pod, in this group, in this little area and then spread it outwards.
Nir: Yeah, yeah, exactly. That’s a great place to start, and what I’ve seen happen all too often is that people say, “Yeah, you know what? Distraction really is a problem. We don’t have time to do the real work that we have to do.” At the end of the day, let’s define what all of us as knowledge workers do. Knowledge workers, the output as knowledge workers is creating novel solutions to hard problems. Whether that’s the design, whether that’s the product, whether that’s the code, whether that’s the marketing. That’s really in a nutshell what we do. We come to novel solutions to our problems. The easy problems are obvious, you can Google the solutions to easy problems, but the fact is we need time to think. We need time to focus in order to solve these difficult problems. So what a lot of folks do is they have the realization that this is important, that they need time in their day to focus and concentrate to do their best work. Then they say, “Well, how do we get more of it?” Well, what are other companies doing?
Nir: I heard this one company where they email Fridays, and no meeting Wednesdays. Then let’s do that, and that never works. The reason it doesn’t work is because that’s the superficial bandaid. You don’t know what that company did to come up with that solution, and what they did to come up with that solution if it works is sit down, talk about the problem. Like members of a family, get out the dirty laundry, talk about what’s really going on and come up with the solution customized to your organization. Most importantly, give people the feeling of buy-in, of agency and control to fix some of these problems, because without it, it’s just another dictate that company management says, “Okay, now we’re all going to not check email on Friday.” Of course, that just makes the problem worse. You’re reducing control and agency, not increasing it.
Holly: Yeah, and it comes back to that learned helplessness. I think the first time I went into a bigger enterprise after my time in startups, I was really surprised by the amount of that that I saw. It can fester and it doesn’t mean that all big organizations have it or that no small ones do, but I see it as a symptom of a culture when they get to that state. I really love what you said there about realizing that you need to make time, and I think that’s something that’s really important for our listeners. So I was wondering if you could speak a little bit more about that.
Nir: Sure, absolutely. So this has to do with the second step of making time for traction, and this is a really important one. This is a life changer type of revelation for me at least. What we know is that two thirds of Americans don’t keep a calendar, and even the third who do, don’t keep it properly.
Holly: Wow.
Nir: Yeah. Pretty stunning, right?
Holly: That was really stunning to me.
Nir: I remember when I was writing this book and I was interviewing all kinds of folks who were struggling with distraction, and I interviewed a friend of mine who was just really struggling. She told me about how her boss wants this and her kids want that, and the news said this and Donald Trump that, and oh my gosh, there’s just so much distraction. She can’t get anything done in her day. I said, “Wow, that’s really tough. I empathize with you here. Can I see what it is that you planned to do today? What did you get distracted from exactly?” So she took out her calendar and she opened the app on her phone, and the calendar was blank. There wasn’t anything on it. It was white space, and so that is not doable anymore. We can’t keep that. The fact is you can’t call something a distraction unless you know what it distracted you from.
Nir: If you don’t plan your day, somebody else will. So if what you have in your daily plan, in your calendar, not in your to-do-list. Your to-do-list is your list of output. The input to make the output is your time, and so you have to account for that time. Your day needs to be scheduled down to the minute. Now, it doesn’t mean that when you fall off track or you go a little bit over a little bit under that doesn’t mean you beat yourself up. No, it means you have a template that you can look at so that for every minute of the day, you can tell the difference between what is traction and what is distraction. Traction is what you plan to do. Distraction is anything that is not what you plan to do with your time. I actually made a free tool that anyone can access, I’ll give you a link for the show notes, that makes it super easy to do. It takes about 30 minutes.
Nir: The idea is that we want to turn our values into time based on three domains, three life domains. Time that we need to take care of ourselves, the you domain. Time to take care of our relationships, to make sure that we’re investing enough time in our domestic relationships, time with our kids or spouse, with our friends. There’s an epidemic of loneliness in this country, because people are not making regular time to be with their friends. It’s terrible. We need to make regular occasions for our friends. Then finally, in the workplace. So if things like checking email is important to you, don’t do it whenever you feel like. Do it during a certain time in your day, because you know what, you’re going to do without it. You’re going to just bounce in and out of it all day, and that can be a pernicious source of distraction. So whether it’s time to concentrate, time to make sales calls, time to do whatever is important for you and your job, that time has to be scheduled in your calendar.
Nir: Then we want to synchronize that schedule. One of the things that I see happen so often in organizations is that managers will just lob over tasks to their teams without any consideration of how much time they have available to do those tasks. So simply having just the sync up meeting, whether it’s a daily stand up, whether it’s a weekly standup, whatever it might be, or “Hey, here’s my calendar. This is how I plan to spend my time doing these tasks. If you give me more tasks, they’re not going to fit on the calendar so what should we take off?” It literally takes 10 15 minutes, and it’s amazing what it can do for our productivity when we get synchronized not only with our colleagues, our bosses, at home. Oh my gosh, I mean one of my big revelations in writing this book was how much crap my wife did in our household that she didn’t deserve to do.
Nir: It turns out this is a huge problem in a heterosexual relationships, that women disproportionately take on a tremendous amount of household admin. Sorry guys, this is a fact. I was very culpable in all this that I didn’t realize how many admin tasks she did. So I always thought, “Well, she’ll just tell me if she wants me to do something,” but of course telling me to do something is itself work. Is itself effortful, so how do we solve the problem? We synchronize our calendars. So once a week it’s in my calendar to sit down with Julie for 15 minutes, and we just look over our schedules for the week. We have on our schedule all of these domestic responsibilities so that not only do I know what needs to get done, I also know when they need to get done by, and now she have to worry about it. I know what I need to do, she knows what she needs to do and it’s on our calendars. Not just on our to-do-list, also on our calendars to get those things done. So this really changed my life.
Holly: That’s awesome. I think one of the most amazing things about that is as a person … So myself, I began planning out my time at a fairly young age I suppose, because I was a competitive athlete and I planned my training schedule. So every summer I would decide, I would sit down with my mom and look at the list of available training options, and make a plan for what I wanted my schedule to be for the summer. Then I would put it on a spreadsheet and print it out, and have it in a binder and can start off my summer training with this in front of me. Like okay, it’s Monday, I’m going here, then I’m going to go there and then I’m going to go there, and I’m going to follow this plan. I didn’t know that that wasn’t what most pre teenagers did, but apparently it’s not.
Nir: No, it’s not. It’s not what not only teens don’t generally do that, even adults [inaudible] even does do it. That’s incredible. So when I was doing the research for this book, almost without fail I don’t think I met a single C-level executive that didn’t already do this. They walk around, C-level executives will walk around their entire day. Typically, it’s a printed sheet of paper, but many of them do it on their online calendars, with an agenda for exactly where they’re supposed to be for every minute of the day. So we have to ask ourselves is it correlation or causation, but either way, I think this is no longer a luxury. It sounds oh no, I need white space to think. I need white space to be creative. Great, plan that white space too. If you need time to daydream, wonderful. Put that in your calendar as well, because you know what’s going to happen.
Nir: If you just think you’re going to have time to think or meditate, or pray or whatever it is you want to do with your time. If you don’t make time for it, you know what you’re going to do. You’re going to check email, you’re going to check your phone, you’re going to look at Facebook or Instagram. We’ve got to make time for even those activities.
Holly: Yeah. So having come from growing up with that, I was always surprised when I started to meet people who didn’t do that sort of thing. So it sounds funny to me to hear somebody say, “It changed my life to use a calendar,” but then I’ve got people very close to me in my own life who have resisted that, and for which this makes a big difference. I think even for those of us who have been using calendars and planning time and planning both structured and unstructured, I found so this is one of the places where I took things from your book that I’ve been practicing, because I got even more intentional about okay I feel really scattered if I’m jumping from A2B to C2B to A all day long. So what if I do A all morning, and B all afternoon, and C the next day? Then I also started doing the email advice that you had. So having the tags, and that one has been really nice. So I’ve been keeping inbox zero since around when I read your book, that I finally got myself back to that.
Holly: It’s something I always liked to do, but missed often. So now I’m back on that, and it’s really nice. I just use a tag and say, “Okay, I read this and it needs an action, but not today.” So I’m going to put it into action this week bucket, or action this month is something I use and then I’ve got the-
Nir: I love it. You made my day that this worked for you. I mean this is, I want to just fill in everyone else, so that everyone knows how to use this technique. The idea here, this has to do with hacking back external triggers, the third step. I talk about these eight different environments where external triggers can distract us, and one of the most common complaints is email, right? The bane of all of our existence, we’re constantly tethered to email. Well, it turns out where we waste the most time on email is not the checking, it’s not even the replying, but in terms of wasted time, the most time we waste is not the checking or the replying, it’s the rechecking. So it’s this routine of you open the email, you read it, you put it away. A few minutes later, what did that email say? Let me open it back up. It turns out that the average person opens and closes and opens and closes several times a day per email, and that’s a gigantic waste of time.
Nir: Instead, what we want to do is every time we get an email, we only want to touch it twice. The first time we can do one of three things. We either chuck it, we archive it or delete it, or we mark it based on the most important piece of information from a time management perspective, which is when does this need a reply? So you have two choices. Either you label it with today or this week, and then you have time on your time box calendar to only reply to the urgent emails, only the ones that need to be replied to today. So you make an hour, an hour and a half, two hours, however much time it takes you with this much smaller subset of emails that need a reply today, that are actually urgent. Then the rest, the stuff that can wait, you let it wait because what most people do, they either give up and they just have this constant stream of overflowing email, and they’ll get to it when they get to it.
Nir: I can’t stand these people, because these are the kind of people that you need to email six times, because the only way they’ll respond to you is if you’re at the top of their inbox. These people miss opportunities all the time and they say, “Well I’m still doing fine,” but you don’t understand how much better you could do if you were on top of these messages, how many opportunities you miss out on, or people are just spending a gargantuan amount of time shifting through all of these different emails, because they’re not prioritized based on when they need a reply. So once a week, you have a big old block, right? For me, I call it message Mondays, where I have a big four hour block of time that I go through all of those messages that can wait a week. What this does is there’s a few benefits. One, if we want to get less email, we have to send less email in a given period of time. If I were to process my emails just as I got them, even when they can wait, I will get more emails that week.
Nir: Whereas if I slow it down, if an email doesn’t need to reply to today, can wait a week’s time when I’m going to get to it on my message Mondays, well then two things happen. Many times the email doesn’t even need a reply, because people have figured out their own problems. They’ve figured out something for themselves, or it’s been crushed under the weight of some other priority and now it takes the back seat. So many times I don’t even need to reply to those emails that have been sitting there and marinating for a little bit of time, and I always make sure I can now reply to those emails that are actually urgent. So my email inbox is about only a third of the emails I get every day actually need a reply today. The rest I replied to at some time later in the week.
Holly: Yeah, that’s been working for me too. Definitely it’s one of those things too where it just affects your day to day level of anxiety, that if you open your inbox and instead of being like, “Look at all those things I’m supposed to get to.” You’re like, “This is the list for today. Here we go.”
Nir: Right, and as opposed to having to go through each and every one, which one is urgent? Which one need a reply? Which one … Today needs to reply to today, this week can wait for a while.
Holly: Yeah, exactly. The other thing that I have been practicing from your book, which I think also is in the hack back section is I downloaded some of the apps that have to do with staying focused, and not using your phone when you don’t want to. So in particular, what I do is I’ll sometimes if I’m say spending time with my kids, which I value very deeply but sometimes find challenging. Sometimes I would find myself seeking off some time on my phone to do something that’s easier than figuring out how to do the hard work of parenting. Now sometimes I’ll open up the app on plant a little bush, and set a goal for this is how long I’m going to make sure that I don’t touch the phone at all, and I’m going to just focus on the kids.
Nir: Love it, love it. So this is actually technique number four, the fourth step the prevent distraction with pact. So what you’ve done is implement what’s called an effort pact, and effort pact just puts a bit of friction in between us and a task we don’t want to do. So in your case, you don’t want to get distracted by checking email, or some work thing while you’re with your kids. So you use this great piece of software Forest, which is a free app that it’s just a little timer essentially. You just say okay, I’m going to do 45 minutes of focused work time, or 45 minutes of play with my kids, or whatever amount of time you want for whatever task you want to do. If you pick up that phone, the little virtual tree dies.
Nir: It’s just a stupid little virtual tree, and yet it’s amazing what an impact that has on keeping us on task. It’s just an example of a little pre-commitment, a little promise we made to ourselves. I use it every day that I write. It’s incredibly helpful, and there are all kinds of other tools and techniques that we can use to pre commit to a task.
Holly: Yeah, so that one’s been helpful. I like that, because it’s just that little extra bit of friction and you can customize the message. So I have it say things like live your values, and things like that. It’s like you pick it up and you’re like, no wait Holly, you did not actually want to play on the phone right now. Put it away.
Nir: Right, exactly. It’s amazing how impactful it can be, right? That’s really the message of this book is I want to empower people to understand that there’s so much more that we can do than we understand. We just haven’t learned these techniques yet, because the technology is so new relatively speaking. There’s nothing that Zuckerberg can do to turn your phone back on when you’ve turned off the notifications, right? There’s nothing he can do once you’re using this Forest app. So just by understanding these simple tools and how we can use them, we can gain a lot of traction and avoid a lot of distraction.
Holly: Yeah. Well, I think we’re about out of time. Are there any final sounding messages you want to share?
Nir: No, just to reiterate that we are more powerful than we think we are. That if we believe that we are powerless, of course it becomes true. So the message I really want to leave folks with that the antidote to impulsiveness is forethought. That by planning ahead, this is how we make sure that we do what we say we’re going to do, and how we become indistractable.
Holly: Awesome. Where can people find you if they want to follow more?
Nir: Yeah, so my website is nirandfar.com, but Nir is spelled like my first name. So that’s N-I-R andfar.com, nirandfar.com and my book is Indistractable: How to Control Your Attention and Choose Your Life. You can get all kinds of tools and resources, there’s an 80 page complimentary workbook that I couldn’t fit in the book, but you can get for free at indistractible.com and that’s spelled I-N the word distract, A-B-L-E. So indistractable.com.
Holly: Awesome. All right, well thank you so much for your time today, NIR. It was wonderful to talk through this with you, and I hope our listeners try some of the things in the book.
Nir: Absolutely. Thank you so much, Holly.
Holly: The Product Science Podcast is brought to you by H2R Product Science. We teach startup founders and products leaders how to use the product science methods to discover the strongest product opportunities, and lay the foundations for high-growth products, teams, and businesses. Learn more at h2rproductsscience.com. Enjoying this episode? Don’t forget to subscribe, so you don’t miss next week’s episode. I also encourage you to visit us at productsciencepodcast.com to sign up for more information and resources from me and our guests. If you love the show, a rating and a review would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.