So my second blog... and a lot has happened in the space of six days since my first one. I was taken aback by the support and feedback from my presentation on Nudging Values @TMSouthWales. The title very much embodies what I am most passionate about in education; nudging and values! During my presentation I explained that we are all 'choice architects'. A key question around this, is whether the environment in which we make our choices has been designed to enable us to make the best choices for our selves and others?
Think about the choices that you make. A lot of them, in fact the majority of them are made without conscious thought. You will choose to do many things because of your automated decision making processes. I am sure you have all experienced getting to your destination and then wondering how on earth you got there! In the time you walked, drove, took the train etc... how many decisions did you make consciously? It can be quite scary when you think about it, but it is completely normal. Our brain has to work on the basis of paying less attention to our routine decision making processes so it can pay more attention to the things that matter - like a person saying "hello" to you as you're walking, or a car pulling out in front when they really should have stayed put! This is where nudges come in. They work on our subconscious, automated level and when successfully applied, enable us to make better choices for ourself and those around us.
Given that our subconscious operates for the majority of our life, successful nudges can have a dramatic and lasting impact. Hence my interest and passion in this area! Before diving into the world of social media and blogging I always thought, 'how on earth does anyone have the time to do this?' I really didn't get it. There are only so many hours in the day. I remember my former Headteacher saying to staff in her opening speech that "we would never be asked to work more than 168 hours a week!" Half the staff were shocked and half understood the joke. It did highlight to me that we do have a finite amount of time. I know it sounds obvious, but I had never really thought of it like that before. Fergus O'Connell's book The Power of Doing Less doesn't come up with a magic solution to give us more time; it just focuses on us thinking about what we could do less of. That's what I did...
I have always considered myself a competent time manager. Yet, I always seem to have things to do. So I guess I am not as good as I thought!? The image at the top of this piece isn't random. Nor is it a metaphor for the uphill struggle that is... [insert what ever you like]. It's a game, an app on my phone - Hill Climb 2. I'm not going to let you know how much time I spent playing it (I'm not confident enough yet - this is only my second post!). In reality, per day, it wasn't a hugely significant amount of time. Five minutes here, five there. It did however eat out of my 168 hours. So, I like nudging. Cue the challenge. How could I design my architecture so I could make better choices for me and those around me?
Well, the first step was to identify something that I really didn't need to be doing. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy relaxing and I certainly don't want to advocate reducing wind-down time! But this on reflection was just wasting my time. I wasn't getting anything out of it, nor was anyone else. At least with a film you get to experience a plot line, the development of character an ending etc... This game however (rationally) was a complete waste of my time. I spent over a day just doing wheelies in a 2D sports car. I spent over a day in the air! That's two days! Two whole days!!! I realised that I needed to design the architecture of my environment so I could make better choices. I really don't think I'm being deluded by saying that I wasn't addicted - but I certainly played this game far too much. Enter the choice architect. I redesigned the lay-out of my phone to put the Hill Climb app into a folder. I haven't deleted it. I also haven't played it for a number of days. I have simply moved it from being on the first screen I see to a folder on a screen that requires some swiping to access my visual field. I have nudged myself and am happier for it. I have more time to do things that are both relaxing and of value. For me, that's the ticket. I now have more time to learn and more time to share. Time to play connect four with my son.
Six questions for you:
1) What things could you do less of?
2) By doing less of it, how would it benefit you?
3) By doing less of it, how would it benefit others?
4) How are you going to design the environment to do less of the thing identified?
5) Do you need any help in creating this new architecture?
6) Should I tell him that I have already won?
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