Your Goal: Check email
Trigger: “hrmmm, I wonder if I have new email.”
1) Walk to your desktop computer
2) Click on the AOL desktop icon and login
3) *pshhkkkrrrkakingkakingtshchchchchch* *click* Ugh, mom picked up the phone
4) again… *pshhkkkrrrkakingkakingtshchchchchch* wait…
5) “You’ve got mail!” (maybe)
Trigger: *ding!* (Gmail notifier alert)
1) Grab laptop
2) Launch browser
Trigger: *buuuzzzz* (pocket vibrations)
1) Reach into pocket, pull out phone
2) Unlock phone
2013? (Apple “watch”)
Trigger: *buuuzzz* (wrist tickle)
1) Twist wrist 90 degrees into field of view
2013? (Google Glass)
Trigger: Email appears within vision
As you can see, the time and effort from trigger to action is decreasing. In fact, it’s not just decreasing but integrating.
Ability is one of the strongest components of habit formation, as described by BJ Fogg's Behavior Model:
This is good but also scary.
As ability increases, so does the likelihood of action (the “activation threshold”) while motivation remains constant. In effect, the “motivation bar” is lowered, encouraging humans to take more action on things we’re less motivated to do. While this can be a good thing (e.g. exercising, eating healthy, calling mom), it also has the power to encourage bad behaviors and habits.
- How often do you check email per day (often) unnecessarily?
- How much time do you spend chasing (mostly pointless) red Facebook notifications?
- How much money have you shamelessly poured into Rage of Bahamut?