To kick off November, we’ve had the pleasure to talk to Lewis Wass about his shocking experience in changing his habits. As loyal reader you will know that we generally talk about less physical ways to tackle Email Etiquette, Time Management Training and Effective Meetings Training, but we were intrigued to learn more about the Pavlok.
In order to get rid of “bad” habits, the Pavlok, a wristband, will automatically and manually deliver a stimulus when you engage in said habit. Your brain associates the stimulus with the bad habit, creating an aversion and trains you not to engage in these habits anymore. This might sound familiar to you, if you’ve ever read about Conditioning and Pavlov’s Dog Experiment. Lewis is a Pavlok user and gives us an insight into how he has used it and how it has helped him.
Over to you, Lewis.
Occupation: Computer Technician
Company: Open Tech
Location: UK, Northamptonshire
Other job titles in life: Chilli Geek, Tech Geek & Entrepreneur
What was your motivation to purchase the Pavlok?
To map some new habits, mainly solving insomnia and removing 90% of junk food intake.
How does the Pavlok work?
It’s a wrist-band that beeps/vibrates/electrocutes you via a press on the device or on the app.
How did you use the Pavlok?
I programmed the app to wake me at 6am with an electric shock, this rapidly encourages getting up at the correct time. Regarding junk food, I followed the rule that I could eat junk food as long as I zapped myself first, this makes you conscious of your decision and then you’ve got to ask yourself if that chocolate bar is really worth being zapped for.
How quick did you see changes in your habits?
Sleep took a week or so, but the junk food took effective immediately. So many systems focus on reward after performing a good habit or avoiding a bad one, but this negative reinforcement works so much quicker, the brain seems to work harder to avoid the stick rather than get the carrot.
What were the negatives of using the Pavlok?
It’s a bit of a chunky device and the charge doesn’t last incredibly long, but I think a more refined version of this concept could be very interesting in the world of habits.
Will you continue using the Pavlok?
Yes, or a device similar to it. I might combine it with a writing goal and see if I can churn out a book in a month under the threat of being zapped.
What other productivity tips do you follow?
There are lots, but to name some key ones….
The 80/20 rule
Eat the frog
Deconstruction of tasks
Setting easy wins
Have you tried the Pavlok? How do you tackle your bad habits? We’d love to hear from you @thinkproductive