Friday, February 04, 2022

Your attention is an asset that needs to be allocated well


Even as you attain FIRE, you will still have 24 hours a day. If you are unable to manage your time, you will spend the rest of your life drowning in Netflix series and computer games which will never end. This makes Indistractable by Nir Eyal relevant self-help for folks who don't really need self-help books anymore. Ultimately, your attention is your most valued asset and needs to be allocated with a lot more care than maybe even your financial capital.

I will share three ideas that can make an immediate impact on your lives.

a) Timeboxing your day

The first idea is to timebox your day and allocate your hours to perform specific tasks. Because we get interrupted quite easily, allocating your time to a specific appointment or job, would not only make you more efficient, it can also make time for tasks that involve rest and relaxation.  The author even has templates, but I think Google Calendar should suffice.

b) Turn off desktop/tablet/mobile notifications

 I was beating myself up for not figuring this out earlier. Notifications can be a time drain we don't appreciate how annoying they can be until we realise that your life is being run by them. You can get more stuff done if you disable notifications on your desktop, but this should extend to messages and Whatsapp on your mobile phone. I'd also like to point out that if you need to be notified of the price level of your investments, you're not investing right.

c) Use Pocket or Instapaper to read an article later

I actually don't use this hack because I read RSS Feeds with Feedly so I'm ahead of the curve. But sometimes a friend sends me an article to read and I should have a system to push it offline so that I can read an article in batch. This is probably a worthy investment of money to get an app to do this. 

To wrap up all the tips and tricks in the book, the author proposes a fairly effective idea to make these interventions stick. One way is to create a personal identity and see yourself as someone who is 'indistractable'. 

But I think crafting your identity this way lacks ambition.

I think if we can accept that crafting an identity can make positive and permanent changes in our lives, I would prefer to see myself as an "expert in asset allocation". We are not just good at putting our money into different securities to earn a good return, we are also really good at allocating our time. If you extend this idea that financial capital is just the tip of an ice-berg and there are other forms of capital like social and cultural capital, then this expands the power of your new identity quite dramatically and you can think of some tips beyond just reading this book.




  1. Basically it's Marie Kondo-ing your time & life force.

    If you have a network of healthy relationships then it's pretty easy.

    If you're a loner establishing a daily routine will be a good start.

  2. Yep, put your handphone out of sight when working.