Trying to build a habit can backfire if you fall for the “habit trap.”

Photo by Sammy Williams on Unsplash

These days, when someone says they want to form a “habit,” what they really mean is that they want to make drudgery effortless.

That is, they don’t want to actually do the work, rather they want to have done it — past tense.

  • “I want to make exercise a habit,” is code for, “I hate exercising, but I want to have already worked out so I can feel and look better.”
  • “I want to make a habit of getting up…


In my work as a behavioral designer, I come across important stories on how psychology influences our behavior. Every week, I share my round-up of the most important stories at the intersection of psychology, technology, and business. I hope you enjoy them!

Timeboxing: The Most Powerful Time Management Technique You’re Probably Not Using (NirAndFar) Timeboxing is the nearest thing we have to productivity magic, yet most people don’t utilize it.

“Just Say No” Is Bad Productivity Advice [AUDIO] (Podcast) A popular piece of advice to help you be more productive is to “just say no”. …


This highly effective technique harnesses the power of “loss aversion” to help you reach your goals

Photo by bruce mars on Unsplash

Probably the only research paper I’ll ever call “delicious” is one called, “A Tale of Two Pizzas.”

In the study, researchers offered one group of people plain pizzas, plus the option to add ingredients for an additional charge. To a second group, they offered topping-loaded pizzas, with the chance to remove ingredients and pay less. Same thing, right?

Of course, not.

In yet another example of why people are weird, the study found that the second group ended up spending more money on their pies.

The reason is something called, “loss aversion.” People are more bothered by the idea of…


In my work as a behavioral designer, I come across important stories on how psychology influences our behavior. Every week, I share my round-up of the most important stories at the intersection of psychology, technology, and business. I hope you enjoy them!

Children and Technology: 3 Things Parents Need To Know (NirAndFar)
Whatever your view of tech’s impact on our children, here are three common sense rules we can all follow.

The New York Times Uses the Very Dark Patterns it Derides [AUDIO] (Podcast) ‘Dark patterns’ aren’t always malicious mind control. They’re often a symptom of disjointed company culture.

No…


A “digital detox” probably won’t fix what’s broken. Here’s what will.

Photo: 10'000 Hours/Getty Images

Not so long ago, I came to believe that I was prioritizing technology over the most important people in my life — including, most painfully, my daughter.

It hit me hard one day when the two of us were playing games from an activity book. The first activity involved naming each other’s favorite things. The next project was to build a paper airplane with one of the pages. The third was a question we both had to answer: “If you could have any superpower, what would it be?”

I wish I could tell you what my daughter said at that…


In my work as a behavioral designer, I come across important stories on how psychology influences our behavior. Every week, I share my round-up of the most important stories at the intersection of psychology, technology and business. I hope you enjoy them!

Does Venting Your Feelings Actually Help? (Greater Good) While letting your negative emotions out may feel good in the moment, science suggests it might make matters worse in the long run.

Can We Regulate Social Networks To Curb Addiction — Without Making Them Suck? [AUDIO] (Podcast) Social networks can help addicted users while leaving the rest of us…


Abstinence can often backfire. There’s a better way.

Image credit: YakobchukOlena.

Let’s say you’re on a diet. You’ve cut calories and avoided junk food like a champ. But now you’re faced with a powerful adversary: chocolate cake.

You somehow muster the strength to resist, but as you exit the kitchen, you can’t stop thinking about the chocolatey goodness you could’ve enjoyed.

You tell yourself to not think about it — but that only makes you think about it more. For some strange reason, you can’t get that stupid cake out of your head and soon you find it’s in your mouth. Yum, but also ugh!

Why is it so hard to…


In my work as a behavioral designer, I come across important stories on how psychology influences our behavior. Every week, I share my round-up of the most important stories at the intersection of psychology, technology and business. I hope you enjoy them!

The Influencers Dinner: An Interview with Jon Levy (NirAndFar) I recently sat down with author, Jon Levy, to discuss his new book, You’re Invited: the Art and Science of Cultivating Influence.

So, You Want To Become a Great Product Manager? [AUDIO] (Podcast)I recently had a chat with Jackie Bavaro about her latest book, Cracking the PM Career.

Anxiety…


I recently sat down with author, Jon Levy, to discuss his new book, You’re Invited: the Art and Science of Cultivating Influence.

To learn the value of creating meaningful connections and building trust with the people that can influence your life, click here.

Posts you may have missed:

So, You Want To Become a Great Product Manager? [Q&A with Jackie Bavaro] (Letter — May 20, 2021)


From Homer to Franzen, productive people lean on these pacts as a proven way to stick to their goals

Photo: Tim Robberts/Getty Images

Famed director Quentin Tarantino “never use[s] a typewriter or computer.” He prefers to write screenplays by hand in a notebook.

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jhumpa Lahiri writes her books with pen and paper, then types them up on a computer without internet.

Jonathan Franzen, the writer Time magazine called the “Great American Novelist,” believes “you can’t write serious fiction on a computer that’s connected to the Internet.”

These methods may seem extreme, but desperate times call for desperate measures. …

Nir Eyal

Posts may contain affiliate links to my two books, “Hooked” and “Indistractable.” Get my free 80-page guide to being Indistractable at: NirAndFar.com

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store