I watched this TED talk video on changing behaviour a few days ago, which really inspired me to take a more structured approach to developing a new positive habit. The key points of the video are that in order to affect long-term behavior change, you need to have a trigger – some habit that you already have, or an environmental queue that you can chain the new behavior from. You also need to make the new behavior as easy to do as possible. You want to associate a “micro-behavior” with your trigger – something that can easily become a habit, but that you can later expand to fully incorporate the new habit you are trying to achieve. Finally, you need to reward yourself in some way every time you do the micro-behavior.
I had heard a while ago that the ideal holiday was one in which you had a fairly bad start to it, but with a peak experience close to the end of the holiday. The rationale is that we tend to base our judgement of the holiday on the range of our trough-to-peak experiences. The larger the spread between the trough and the peak, with the peak occurring towards the end of the experience, the better we perceive the experience to be.
I’ve been reading the “Beyond Scarcity” series on FTAlphaville recently, and it’s made some very interesting points. The posts argue that the current economic environment is deflationary with regard to goods. I think that is true, and one of the reasons is because of technology. Firstly technology is constantly making everything more efficient and because of global competition this is both reducing the production costs and making goods cheaper. Secondly technology is causing structural unemployment, which means less people have money to spend and there is less money flowing around the economy. Other factors causing deflation are the tight monetary conditions, the aging population, and potentially the effects of quantitative easing.
Sometimes I think the best way to get things done is just to allocate space in the day in order to achieve them. For example; I find it hard to write blog posts. Left to my own devices, my blog would resemble a desolate wasteland. But all I need to do is allocate 10 minutes out of my day in order to write something, and I can get something written that I can upload to my blog.
This is the beauty of time-boxing, of the Pomodoro technique: It forces you to allocate a fixed section of time in which to achieve something. If you just make a space in time it’s amazing what you can do.
Not a terribly productive day today. I alternated between studying for my Open University M343 statistics exam and working on Judga Property – my latest iOS app. I also went to the gym, which is that big break in the middle of the day.
I have created the following bit of Emacs Lisp that generates my daily productivity graph and displays it in it’s very own emacs buffer. You can kill the buffer by pressing the ‘q’ key.
Today I worked out how to use Things as a Kanban system. The trick is to use the “Focus” top-level item on the sidebar properly. A lot of my tasks had built up in the “Next” folder. I moved all those tasks from “Next” into the “Someday” folder. Then I only move into the “Next” folder the stuff I’m planning to work on that day. The task I’m currently working on I move into the “Today” folder.
Not a hugely productive day today, unfortunately. Although since I have been monitoring my productivity hourly, I have been way more productive than normal, which is interesting.
This morning I was planning to write a cron job to save my daily productivity totals to a database, but I realised that I actually have all the information in my Mac OS/X calendar anyway, and can just retrieve the data there.
I coded up a script to output a chart of what my productivity looks like for the day. It is based on my Pomodoro software that logs all the time-boxes to my calendar on Mac OS/X. My program extracts all the information and constructs a nice looking chart. The idea is that I track what things are making me more productive.
You can find the script over in my GitHub repository