This blog is part of our Total Life Optimisation series that explores productivity, nutrition, futurism and all other topics around effective living.
What if I told you that you are living most of your life on autopilot? Would that scare you, amaze you, surprise you? Or would you recognise what I’m talking about? Most of our lives we are working on autopilot. Most of our lives we aren’t actively thinking, we’re just doing what we’ve been doing the same moment, only a day earlier. This is the power of habits. And habits are also what makes us tick at work.
Today I will take you on a journey into the mechanics of habits, the cue-habit-reward-craving feedback loop, and explains how habits affect groups and societies in general. Let’s start with habits, what are they?
Habits are formed by four simple mechanisms. It all starts with a cue, for instance getting out of bed. What follows is a habit; eating your breakfast or brushing your teeth. And the habit ends with a reward,a full stomach and fresh minty teeth. Of course, this habit won’t be formed without a feedback loop. The feedback loop states that habits are formed by a craving, you will expect the reward before you execute the habit. In the case of eating your breakfast or brushing your teeth, you will know in advance the pleasant feeling of a full stomach and fresh minty teeth.
The same applies to your habits at work. For many, the?cue?is sitting down at your desk. The?habit?is opening your email client. And you are?rewarded?when you are able to forward/archive/reply/cc/bcc/etc the emails you have received. Even before you open your email, you know some messages are waiting. Waiting for you. And just like the?feedback loop?that is built into Facebook, you will get a shot of dopamine when you go through your inbox
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