November 6, 2013
Michael Siepmann - www.linkedin.com/in/michaelsiepmann
Helping people to shape their own habits in positive ways is a key part of my broader interest in how our interactions with technology can unlock (or block) our potential to express and develop our highest abilities and best selves. My interest focuses on technology, both as a habit problem and as a potential part of a solution. I'm interested in this from a couple of angles. One is interaction design - i.e., designing technology that interacts with people in ways that help them develop helpful habits and eliminate unhelpful habits. Another is user education - i.e., empowering non-technical people to understand the advantages and possibilities of designing their own technological environment through how they choose, configure, and use existing technology.
Two stories come to mind: Flossing and meditating. With flossing, a student dentist I saw at the University of Pennsylvania, when I was a graduate student, gave me what served as helpful habit design advice. I think the key thing she said that helped me was that once I'd established the habit, it would be effortless and in fact harder not to floss than to floss. This emphasis on a temporary period of effort followed by a lifetime of effortless benefits gave me a clear "light at the end of the tunnel". With meditating, I have experimented with my own spreadsheet-based meditation log and ways of setting goals and tracking. What has worked best for me is to make my goal a daily average number of minutes that I set each quarter. A key helpful aspect of this is that it avoids discouragement if I don't manage to meditate as much as I intend for a short period. My average dips below the goal but my spreadsheet shows me exactly how many extra minutes I need to accumulate to recover.
Michael Siepmann, Ph.D., The Tech Design Psychologist™, helps organizations and individuals make their technology more supportive, so it's not only useful, easy to use (usability), and pleasing (UX), but also actively helps users flourish.