I recently finished Charles Duhigg’s book, The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business, where he shares a framework to help understand how we develop or better yet can change our habits. His message about changing, controlling or altering our habits is to first notice the cues (the things that trigger our habits) and the rewards (the real reason we keep doing something or what we get from the habit). The next step is to identify the routine. The essence of Duhigg’s idea is to keep the cue and reward the same and to change the routine.
I’ve been thinking about when I spend time on this course or maybe better how I’ve added time in my day for this course. Last week I joined the etmchat on twitter and actually participated. Yes it was moving at light speed but I jumped in and contributed to the conversation. Every Wednesday I take my kids to their karate lesson and I sit and watch for an hour. Sometime I would do a Sudoku on my phone or read the paper if I remember to bring it. This week I used the hour to fit in the twitter chat. I realize there is lots of times when I am help captive like during the kids lessons (dance, music, karate, hockey etc) several time a week or when I am waiting for a meeting to start ( like school council once a month). I used the wait time as a new cue to work on etmooc. The reward is the rush of excitement from new learning and being able to engage with new ideas.
I learned too that I can be lazy in the evening. I turn on the TV after supper to relax and watch for an hour fully intending to do some school work or reading after a break. What usually happens is I get lazy and never turn off the TV and the evening slips away with none of my goals realized. I’ve tried to adjust my habit by watching TV with the ipad in hand. Now with the TV on, I start scanning etmooc blogs, then I end up exploring and downloading new apps and before long I’m in full learning mode and I don’t even know what is on TV.
I think my answer to my PLT’s questions about finding time is I’ve created some new habits. I’ve used some of the old cues, changed the routine and the result or reward is added time for new learning.