One of the key principles explored in the Neuroscience modules was Hebb’s Law:
“neurons that fire together, wire together”
and its corollary
“neurons that wire together, fire together”
If neurons are active, the brain will make a connection. And when one of these neurons is active again in the future, it will trigger the other neurons in the cluster. The association may be between things. If you see a famous person driving a specific model of car, the next time you see that type of car, you are likely to recall the famous person. Or an association may involve an emotion; feeling sad when seeing someone who resembles a lost loved one.
Jack Cheng sees another type of connection: between things and behaviours:
“Every object emits a habit field. When we sit down at the desk in our office to work, we shape its habit field into a productive one. When we sit down in a lounge chair to watch our favorite TV program, we nudge the chair’s habit field toward relaxation and consumption. The more we repeat the same activity around an object, the stronger its habit field gets. And the stronger its habit field gets, the easier it is for us to effortlessly fall into that mode of behavior the next time we’re around the object.”
“Let’s go back to your office desk. Say for example, every time you sat down in front of it, instead of doing your work, you checked e-mail, clicked on Twitter links and played Facebook games. Even if you have the most powerful processor, work-ready desk, and posture-supporting task chair, these items will absorb your behaviors and over time, their habit fields will shift in an unproductive direction.
Thanks to the computer’s ability to multitask, sometimes these habit fields actually become oriented around the act of switching programs! If you’re conditioned to alternate between different modes of working every few seconds, it’s no wonder you have a tough time staying focused on one thing.”
He suggests having clearly defined tools and spaces and keep work and leisure activities separate to
“fortify respective habit fields”
What can you do to create strong, productivity-enhancing habit fields?