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.

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

Go Deeper

RESET, a cosmic tune-up for your workday. RESET is a new course from Hurry Slowly host Jocelyn K. Glei that shows you how to take a “heart-centered” approach to productivity that’s intentional, energizing, and inspiring. Watch the 30-second trailer at

Get Jocelyn’s brainwaves in your inbox. If you like Hurry Slowly, you’ll love this twice-monthly email highlighting new ideas about how to be more creative, productive, and resilient. Sign up at

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.”


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

Call to Action

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