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August 26, 2019

Using Effort Pacts with the Indistractable Nir Eyal

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The reasoning behind today’s tip is so simple and logical, but the results are compelling.  It’s about making effort pacts. Basically, if there is a negative behavior or routine you want to limit in your life, you just need to make it a little more difficult to do or add small consequences to the behavior. Something that requires more effort. Then, you make a pact to that consequence of how you will reprimand your negative behavior in advance. This topic is covered by Nir Eyal in his new book, Indistractable, and he has a great but trivial example that shows it in action.

So, the small discomfort of killing a virtual tree was just enough of a reminder, and provides that little bit of mental effort that helps Nir reduce taking action on a negative behavior. Another example Mir has used is he has his wifi router timed to shut down at 10 pm. Therefore, if he really wants to browse the internet after 10, he has to go through the work of plugging it back in and setting it up, which just isn't worth his while.

Incorporate an effort pact for that behavior that you want to limit, and get ready to get results.

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