Illustration by Olivier Bonhomme.

What if you don’t have as much control over your attention as you think? In this mini-episode, I explain how understanding what your brain is doing on “auto-pilot” is the key to unlocking your focus. And breaking your smartphone addiction.

* Note for listeners: Starting with this show, every third episode of Hurry Slowly will now be a “mini-episode,” a short 5 to 10-minute show that provides a lighter counterpoint to the full-length interviews. If you’re new to the show, I suggest starting here.

Key takeaways from this episode:

  • A nuanced understanding of the two different types of attention you deploy on a daily basis
  • How your smartphone is optimized for “brain drain” and why that compromises your creativity and other cognitive functions
  • Why your attention will be enhanced if you begin to decouple certain activities from your smartphone


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Favorite Quotes

“Hundreds of daily activities that used to be performed in separate locations, with different gestures, and through a range of intra-personal interactions have now all been collapsed into the smartphone. There has literally never been a device that is so relevant to executing our goals so much of the time. And because of this, our brains have been trained to allot a substantive portion of our ‘automatic attention’ to our smartphones.”


A quick list of the ideas, episodes, and studies mentioned:

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