Nir Eyal on how to beat tech addiction: ‘We need a new skill set’

The behavioural scientist has advised tech companies on how to get people hooked – now he’s telling us how to break the habit

Follow Eyal’s guide to avoiding digital distraction

I am 10 minutes late for my interview with behavioural scientist Nir Eyal, and run into the Manhattan cafe where we’re meeting, a dishevelled and apologetic mess. Being late is never ideal, but it’s particularly embarrassing because I’m meeting Eyal to discuss his new book, Indistractable: How To Control Your Attention And Choose Your Life, a guide to staying focused in an age of constant distraction. The hope is that he will teach me, a chronic procrastinator, how to stop wasting my life scrolling through my phone, and finally write that novel. Or, at the very least, be on time for appointments.

Dressed in Tech Dad chic – a crisp button-down shirt and jeans – Eyal already has coffee and looks busy when I burst in. He dropped his daughter off at science camp this morning, he explains, which is why he picked this spot; he hopes it wasn’t inconvenient. And I shouldn’t worry about being late: “Maybe you can use it in your article, as your introduction.” Obviously, I will have time to think of a better introduction, but I thank him anyway.

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