- Keep it productive
In today’s world, we value time and want to make the best use of it in whatever we do. Using technology has changed our behaviour in the way we interact with the world. What used to take a day to get done few decades ago, happens in the matter of few seconds today. In a way, we like to get the maximum out a day. Sometimes that happens so at a cost of our own health. People who have erratic working schedules usually get carried away with their work and people in such jobs stay in them because they are self-driven and motivated to succeed in their line of work. Since there are very few patterns for them to fall back on, they do things keeping their work at the centre of their life and in the process hamper their health.
They value their success and measure it by the amount of work done in order to get closer to their goals. This is specially relevant to remote workers where time is not the best concept for calculating productivity whereas the amount of work done is. Productivity is an intangible quality which is subjective to everyone and works differently in different types of jobs. For both an employee and an employer, productivity is an utmost desired quality. There are many traits that affect productivity but one of the most overlooked and underrated one is sleep deprivation.
What if this could be solved by products that are unobtrusive but yet effective, not visible but yet present when needed. One inputs the level of productivity you felt on a day and the level of productivity you desire for the following day. Thereafter one sets an alarm for the next morning. This is repeated for several days for the machine to learn your habit. After the machine completes learning about your habit, you repeat the same process but now the machine wakes you when it thinks that your sleep has matched your desired productivity level which often is after the time you set the alarm for. However, sometimes, it also wakes you up at the intended alarm time but displays lower productivity level for that day than you had desired. Doing this over a few weeks induces some desired changes in one’s habit and now one matches their expected productivity level and the role of the machine gets dissolved to a mere clock.
We rely on technology for an unthinkable amount of time of our lives and use them on an everyday basis to fulfill our tasks and make our lives easier and convenient. However, technology has become such an intrinsic part of our lives that they seem to know our habits better than we know them ourselves. Social media websites are good examples which thrive on curated algorithms that is trained to deliver what we like based on our activities.
What if we reversed the process, what if technology trained us. The people who fed Pavlov's dogs wore lab coats. Pavlov noticed that the dogs began to drool whenever they saw lab coats, even if there was no food in sight. Pavlov wondered why the dogs salivated at lab coats, and not just at food. He ran a study in which he rang a bell every time he fed the dogs. Pretty soon, just ringing a bell made the dogs salivate. Pavlov said the dogs were demonstrating classical conditioning. He summed it up like this: there's a neutral stimulus (the bell), which by itself will not produce a response, like salivation. There's also a non-neutral or unconditioned stimulus (the food), which will produce an unconditioned response (salivation). But if you present the neutral stimulus and the unconditioned stimulus together, eventually the dog will learn to associate the two. After a while, the neutral stimulus by itself will produce the same response as the unconditioned stimulus, like the dogs drooling when they heard the bell. This is called a conditioned response.
B.F. Skinner showed how positive reinforcement worked by placing a hungry rat in his Skinner box. The box contained a lever on the side, and as the rat moved about the box, it would accidentally knock the lever. Immediately it did so a food pellet would drop into a container next to the lever. The rats quickly learned to go straight to the lever after a few times of being put in the box. The consequence of receiving food if they pressed the lever ensured that they would repeat the action again and again. Positive reinforcement strengthens a behavior by providing a consequence an individual finds rewarding.
Using the same theory a person can condition themselves to sleep. For instance, white noise gets played over few days when you feel naturally sleepy and music starts getting played earlier by few minutes after few days. There comes a time when music starts playing and one starts feeling sleepy because now the mind associates music to one’s sleep.