Changing Habits And Learning Tech
Why Changing Habits So Hard?
As human beings we are largely an amalgamation of the habits (ie, stimulus-response behaviour) we have compounded across our lifetimes.
In general this is great: it saves us a lot of mental energy, and we can behave as we have previously done without giving it much thought.
However, as circumstance and desired outcomes change, we find that previous behaviours no longer serve us that well (and some never did). We want to change habits but we find it really difficult to see it through. These changes can be anything from cutting down on sugar and starting regular exercise, to swopping pen and paper for Cosapien to minute meetings and manage tasks. To make matters worse environmental cues reinforce existing behaviours, hindering us from changing habits.
Unless we are really great meditators, it is difficult for us to interrupt the stimulus-response behaviour of habits, or even be aware of it.
Luckily there are techniques for changing habits. The leading authorities are:
- “The Power of Habit” by Duhig
- “Switch” by the Heath brothers
- “The 8-Step Process for Leading Change” by Kotter
Key pieces in the above include:
- Set clear internal motivations towards the new behaviour. If we have a clear understanding of why we want to change, we can use that in our internal dialogue to help motivate us.
- Frame the behaviour to be changed, as a positive outcome that is well defined and measurable. E.g., instead of, “I don’t want to be fat”, we can frame it as, “I want to walk 1-km every morning.” Amorphous outcomes can easily overwhelm us. Whereas, well defined and measurable habits cost less mental energy when considered, and give us a clearly sense of victory when accomplished.
- Recognise the stimuli that lead to the old habit, and rewire them to trigger the new habit. The stimuli could be time of day, stress, a certain room. etc. Once, you are aware of what this stimulus is, you can use it to explicitly trigger the desired habit.
- Make sure that the reward of both the new and old habits are similar. This way, instead of fighting the reward centers in your brain, you are co-opting them to help you reinforce the desired habit.
Sometimes the above requires experimentation to find out what all the pieces are. Keep experimenting till you find something that works for you in changing habits.
Tell friends, family and colleagues about your new habits. Most people find the social pressure helps them keep up the change.
Why Is It Difficult To Switch From A Manual Process To Technology?
Whether you’ve recently get a new smart device, need to learn a new software program, or want to transition from minuting your meetings with pen and paper to Cosapien, read on.
The reason for switching to using a technology needs to be clear in your mind.
Eg, it is time to switch to Cosapien if
- You are frustrated with using spreadsheets or pen paper to try and keep track of tasks.
- Attendees arrive at meetings, with previous tasks not completed.
- Attendees make excuse for tasks not done, like “That is not what agreed” or “I didn’t have time to read the minutes”.
- All the minutes are not kept in one searchable, easy to find, location
- Tasks are being completed, but the quality are not up to scratch.
- You don’t have an overview of what you need to do (across all the projects).
- You don’t have an overview of what others need to do for you (across all the projects).
Changing Habits Is Challenging
Changing from manual to tech-based processes requires discipline. Why’s that?
Well, with manual processes we could allow ourselves some variation, and even some latitude in whether we followed them at all. And, when we start using tech, these deviations become impossible to miss.
A lot of the time, people in an organizations do whatever they feel like. They all pay lip services to a methodology, but everyone did just the components that suited them, and in ways that suited them.
But when everyone is forced to follow the same process through, the company as a whole functions much more effectively. That is, if the process was well designed. If the whole company does not function better, then it is a great indication that the process needs to be reworked.
Badly Designed Tech
Badly designed tech makes it more work to use tech than it would’ve been to do it manually.
Signs of bad tech:
- Inflexibility: what you need to do is not actually possible in the system, and to make it work the complexity of what needs to be done explodes into multiple tasks.
- Requiring unnecessary information (instead of what is pertinent to do the work). Which adds unnecessary extra work load.
- Slow system response times. This is frustrating, and robs people of their drive at work.
Systemic automation can create higher group and individual efficiency, when designed to complement the human mind. If you’re looking for tech that has been purpose-engineered for process efficiency, and that supports you in changing habits request an invite to Cosapien.