Articles by Nir Eyal
This weird research-backed, goals-setting hack actually works
Over the past four years, I’ve discovered many incredible ways to hack my habits, set better goals, and improve my life.
The real reason Apple and Google want you to use your phone less
If tech is “hijacking your brain” with their “irresistible” products, as some tech critics claim, why are these companies now acting against their own interests? Perhaps the tech giants have had a change of heart or have been persuaded by public pressure to change their ways? Hardly.
Research reveals how to take a better break during work
Research suggests there are good ways and not-so-good ways to spend our break time. While some breaks can leave us refreshed and reenergized, others tend to leave us depleted and drained.
Social media has the ‘exact same negative effect on depression’ as eating potatoes
It feels impossible to tell if the technology our kids use should be celebrated or feared. How alarmed should we be? Is this a crisis or a fear frenzy? I wanted to understand what the studies really tell us about the effect personal technology is having on our children.
People don’t want something truly new, they want the familiar done differently
The lesson of the California Roll is simple — people don’t want something truly new, they want the familiar done differently. Interestingly, this lesson applies just as much to the spread of innovation as it does to tastes in food.
How to manage distraction and become ‘indistractable’
In this talk, Nir Eyal describes a new model for managing distraction. Psychologists tell us that the number one determinant of whether someone changes their behavior is their belief in their own power to do so. We all have the power to manage distraction. We can all become "indistractable."
The peak-end rule: Why you make terrible life choices
The peak-end rule serves a key evolutionary purpose – it helps us avoid devoting more brain capacity to memories we don’t need. Knowing about this cognitive quirk helps us use it to our advantage.
The way you think about willpower is hurting you
Studies suggest that we’ve been thinking about willpower all wrong and that the theory of ego depletion isn’t true. Even worse, holding on to the idea that willpower is a limited resource can actually be bad for you, making you more likely to lose control and act against your better judgment.
What do you do when someone ‘steals’ your amazing idea?
In life, there are plenty of crayons to color with. The wise child happily finds new ways to create something original.
How to achieve your goals by creating an enemy
If used correctly, scapegoating can be a powerful tool for resisting temptation and sticking to hard goals. It can also be dangerous and backfire if used incorrectly. Here's how creating an enemy can help.
Conquer distractions with this simple chart
In this Golden Age of distractions, what does it take to focus? Instead of blaming our puny attention spans, we should dig deeper to understand how certain products affect us.
Three steps to get up to speed on any subject quickly
You have just a few days to learn everything there is to know about a subject you know nothing about. Now what?
Distinction bias: Why you make terrible life choices
Research on brain function and the science behind distinction bias can help explain why we often make terrible life choices.
Your ability to focus has probably peaked: Here’s how to stay sharp
Removing distraction is important to maintain our focus, but we also need to boost our capability to concentrate on one task at a time.
When distraction is a good thing
Digital distractions — social media, video games, puzzles, television shows, podcasts, and sports — can build strength, skills, knowledge, and self-efficacy or serve as temporary escape from an uncomfortable reality. Figuring out which it is can help you be more productive.
Can’t kick a bad habit? You’re probably doing it wrong
By slowly ratcheting up what you don’t do, you invest in a new identity through your record of successfully dropping bad habits from your life. Over time, it adds up to a whole new you.
How to regain focus at work by slaying the messaging monster
Tips and tricks for increasing your productivity by decreasing your messaging obsession.
Confirmation bias: Why you make terrible life choices
'Learning and understanding how confirmation bias works gives you the opportunity to compensate for its downsides and make more rational decisions.'
Happiness hack: One ritual that made me much happier
For maximum happiness, friendships need to be maintained by actually physical proximity, not social media.
5 ways to take a work break — and none include your phone
The next time you need to take a break at work, choose an activity that is restorative so you feel refreshed and more prepared to tackle the rest of your day. Here are the top nine.