Professor BJ Fogg runs a free 5-day course for learning to form new habits through his own method Tiny Habits (at tinyhabits.com/join). I have taken the course several times before but this week is the first where I signed up with “recipes” for Microsoft 365.
It is quite challenging, but very interesting, to try to combine neuro psychology with technology and information management. One good thing about the free course is that you get help by a real person, a tiny habits coach, to perfect your recipes (with the end goal to establish the habit).
As I write this, I’m half way through the week and it’s a good time to take a moment and reflect on the recipes’ effectiveness. And do any adjustments, if needed.
My recipes for this week are the following:
- After I start to drink my first cup of tea of the day, I will go through my feed in the Teams app
- After I come across a task to be done, I will add it to the MyDay view in the ToDo app
- After I receive the reminder from Viva Insights at 18:00, I will run my “virtual commute” in the Teams app
The first recipe I don’t have any problems with performing. It has a clear trigger and a clear behaviour. The second, too. But the third one I have some struggles with. It’s not as clear cut, and my brain struggles to grasp it and also execute on it.
Time to get advice from my dedicated habits coach for the week (that turns out to be Denis in Berlin). Denis gave me the following input:
You see, when you use a reminder at a set time we call that a context prompt. A context prompt is something in your environment that reminds you to do something. This could be a post it note, an alarm, a reminder in an app or in your calendar…
This kind of prompt can work many times. One problem that you have though is that it will probably collide with your routine from time to time.
I mean what if I get a reminder to drink a glass of water while I am at the supermarket? I can’t do it. You know what I mean?
This is why the action prompt, the anchor in our existing routine, is generally more effective. It’s because it fits better in our routine.
He’s dead right in this. It’s a fact that I haven’t been ready to wrap up my work at 18:00 these past days. So the notification from Viva Insight hasn’t triggered any behaviour in me.
I recognize this in a lot of similar situations, in fact. Notifications from the system don’t usually trigger any action in me (more than being annoyed by their disturbing me).
What should I do now? Well, according to BJ Fogg, it’s perfectly normal situation that I find myself in. But instead of giving up, I need to re-design the recipe somewhat by asking myself “What action could be more effective in triggering the wanted behaviour?”. This is actually a lot of fun. I have always liked to reflect on things, including my own behaviour. So let’s see…
After some time, I come up with the following revised version of recipe #3:
- After I decide that it is time to wrap up work for the day, I will run my “virtual commute” in the Teams app
I believe this is more realistic to achieve, and I look forward to testing it out tonight. 🙂
And the notification from Viva Insights (see below) I can actually use as a reminder for me to start planning for wrapping up my work for the day. That sounds more realistic. 👍
And if you are interested in trying it out yourself, take a view of this useful video by Stuart Ridout (productivity coach): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tr9Oet68xF8