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Mobile Mastery ebook - Nokia - #SmarterEveryday
 

Mobile Mastery ebook - Nokia - #SmarterEveryday

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Mobile - being connected everywhere to everything and everyone - is the fact of modern life. It defines how we live, how we work, how we communicate and how the world runs. It is the tool we reach for ...

Mobile - being connected everywhere to everything and everyone - is the fact of modern life. It defines how we live, how we work, how we communicate and how the world runs. It is the tool we reach for first when we are faced with challenges big and small in our everyday lives.

But despite the rapid pace with which we’ve adopted it, we’re still learning the best and most effective ways to use mobile technology, how to make the most of the opportunities and how to avoid the pitfalls.

That is what mobile mastery is about – gaining the skills and knowledge we need to work with technology in a productive, efficient and beneficial way.

For more #SmarterEveryday content follow us @NokiaAtWork

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    Mobile Mastery ebook - Nokia - #SmarterEveryday Mobile Mastery ebook - Nokia - #SmarterEveryday Document Transcript

    • #smartereveryday @nokiaatwork
    • 2 Introduction 4 Digital literacy 6 Elements of mastery 8 Mindful 10 Flow 12 Understanding how your mind works 13 Metacognition 16 Attention and hyper-attention 18 Is the internet changing how our minds work? 20 How to be more mindful 24 Purposeful 25 The right tool for the job 26 Effortless, not comfortable 28 The process is the purpose 30 Stacks and flows 32 Connection fatigue and internet addiction 34 How to be purposeful 36 Playful 38 The benefits of being playful 42 The Slow Web 44 How to be playful 45 Critical thinking 46 Masterful tools 51 Conclusion: becoming masterful 52 Reading list Contents.
    • IntroductionMobile Mastery 1 Cathy N Davidson, Now You See It: How The Brain Science Of Attention Will Transform The Way We Live, Work and Learn Mobile - being connected everywhere to everything and everyone - is the fact of modern life. It defines how we live, how we work, how we communicate and how the world runs. It is the tool we reach for first when we are faced with challenges big and small in our everyday lives. In a very short period of time, it has gone from being the stuff of science fiction to something we all have in our pockets. Many of us have adopted it so quickly and wholeheartedly that we find it hard to remember what life was like before. But despite the rapid pace with which we’ve adopted it, we’re still learning the best and most effective ways to use mobile technology, how to make the most of the opportunities and how to avoid the pitfalls. In Now You See It, her widely respected work on the impact of technology and neuroscience on education and business, Cathy Davidson writes: “Right now, we’re in a transitional moment. We are both adopting new information technologies all the time and being alarmed by them, even wondering if they are causing us harm, exceeding our human capacities…Basically, the internet is still in its adolescence and so are we as users. We’ve grown up fast, but we still have much to learn. There’s a lot of room for improvement. We are experiencing growing pains. Because we learn to pay attention differently depending on the world we see, when the world changes, there is a lot we’re suddenly seeing for the first time and even more we suspect we’re missing. So that’s a key question: How can we focus on what we do best without missing new opportunities to do better?1 ” Introduction. Do you have mastery over your mobile devices, or does it feel more like they have mastery over you? Who jumps fastest when the other calls? You or your device? 2
    • IntroductionMobile Mastery In our last book in this series - Design Your Day - we offered ideas for structuring your day to get the best use of your time and energy. With Mobile Mastery we’ll explore: •  The elements of mobile mastery. •  How to avoid the pitfalls of mobile technology. •  How to make the most of and spot new opportunities offered by mobile technology. Introduction3 The answer to Davidson’s question could be what we are calling mobile mastery. To achieve great things in any field, we expect to have mastery over the tools of that trade, to grow our skills and knowledge of how to use them. When we see a master at work we are awed by the economy and confidence of their actions - their effortlessness speaks of huge effort in the past to hone those skills. Now, however, their effort is focused on outcome, on perfect execution of the task in hand. If you were writing a plan, somewhere between the context and the tactics would be a strategy: a direction, a way of proceeding, accompanied by some goals and measures that will show whether the plan is succeeding or not. We want this book to be a guide to writing your own personal strategy for mobile, your own route to mastery of mobile hyper-connected living and working, starting with theory and moving on to the practice.
    • Why design your day? Right now, there isn’t any best practice. The old rules and structures of working life have been overturned by technology. Working tools are no longer tied to a particular place. Pervasive connections, cloud storage and flexible devices mean that we are no longer dependent on a particular locale to have access to the people, information and tools we need to do our jobs. Our phones allow us to tap into our documents, our colleagues, clients and suppliers wherever we are in the world. For many, our devices are our new offices, ones we can throw in a bag and take with us wherever we go. Even place-based concepts like “home working” or “mobile working” don’t really capture the shift that’s going on. Place is no longer a vital component of information work. If we work anywhere, we work in the flow: the flow of information, people and communication. Flow also describes the way that many aspire to work - fluidly, adapting to changing circumstances, but still with a focused direction. It is fundamentally different to the industrial-era approach that has defined so much working theory until recently. Shifts like this cause dissonance, tension and confusion. Many people take comfort in familiar, traditional structures, because they are tried and tested. They minimise risk. Other people are naturally risk-averse, and for them, this is an uncomfortable time. The old structures of work are breaking down, and new ones will take time to develop. People cling to the old certainties even as they become inefficient and damaging. Working in the old office paradigm, tied to a desk and a standard daily routine leaves employees less efficient, less passionate and, in aggregate, that leaves companies less competitive. Many people take comfort in familiar, traditional structures, because they are tried and tested. They minimise risk. Other people are naturally risk-averse, and for them, this is an uncomfortable time. The old structures of work are breaking down, and new ones will take time to develop. People cling to the old certainties even While many of us associate it with Buddhism and spirituality, mindfulness is also frequently used therapeutically by psychologists. Dr Jon Kabbat-Zinn, who helped to introduce the concept of mindfulness to the western world in the 1970s, describes it as:Digital literacy is the ability to find, summarise, evaluate and create information using digital technology, and it is becoming as vital as literacy itself in our digital age. It is growing as a subject: many governments around the world are investing in developing digital literacy in their citizens, and a number of places of education, including the UK’s Open University, offer courses in it. Howard Rheingold, a critic, writer, teacher and leading authority on modern communication, argues in his book Net Smart that the future of digital culture depends on how well we learn to use digital media now. He writes: “For individuals, the issue of where digital culture may be heading is personal as well as philosophical: knowing how to make use of online tools without being overloaded with too much information is, like it or not, an essential ingredient to personal success in the twenty-first century. Just as learning to drive an automobile (or at least learning how to survive as a pedestrian) was crucial for citizens of the early twentieth century, learning how to deploy attention in relation to available media is key today for success in education, business, and social life. Similarly, those who understand the fundamentals of digital participation, online collaboration, informational credibility testing, and network awareness will be able to exert more control over their own fates than those who lack this lore.”2 Digital literacy. 2 Howard Rheingold, Net Smart: How To Thrive Online.
    • Why design your day? While many of us associate it with Buddhism and spirituality, mindfulness is also frequently used therapeutically by psychologists. Dr Jon Kabbat-Zinn, who helped to introduce the concept of mindfulness to the western world in the 1970s, describes it as:Rheingold identifies five key literacies for the internet age: 1. Attention The ability to stay focused (and focus on the right thing) and not let our devices dictate what we pay attention to. 2. Crap detection Critical thinking and knowing how to spot and filter out poor quality information when you’re reading and researching online. 3. Participation Taking part in the community the internet gives you access to, in a way that benefits you and the rest of that community. 4. Collaboration Participating in and adding value to virtual communities, collective intelligence and knowledge networks. 5. Network smarts Understanding how social networks work, and how you can use them in a beneficial way.3 Mobile mastery could be seen as a kind of advanced digital literacy for the digital natives and long-settled digital immigrants4 among us, to use the terminology of Marc Prensky, a leading author on education and learning. It goes beyond just learning how to use these tools, into thinking deeply about how they can best be used in your life and work. 3 Howard Rheingold, Net Smart: How To Thrive Online. 4 Marc Prensky, Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants, http://nokia.ly/15rZSuj
    • Mobile Mastery 6 Introduction. Elements of mastery. We have identified three key traits that are the hallmarks of mobile mastery: 1. Mindful Gaining self-awareness, coming to better understand how your mind works and using this knowledge to enhance your performance and avoid behaviours that decrease your efficiency. 2. Purposeful Focusing on the desired outcome of whatever you’re doing and making sure you bring the right tools to bear to achieve it. It also means approaching technology with a specific task in mind. 3. Playful Exploring the possibilities of existing tools, apps and devices, and experimenting with new ones. Playfulness balances mindfulness and purposefulness with a light- hearted approach to learning. Making the choice to develop each of these three elements of mastery in your use of technology will allow you to get more from the digital world, as well as from your life and work in general. We will examine each of the three elements of mastery in detail in the following chapters, giving you an overall picture of how you can make your use of technology masterful. As part of the Smarter Everyday programme we have been looking at thinking from leading experts on how to be more effective in our everyday lives. (See our Designing Your Day ebook for more - http://nokia.ly/DYDebook)
    • Purposeful MINDFULPlayful Mastery
    • Mindful. If you want to make your use of mobile technology masterful, mindfulness is a good place to start.
    • “Paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally.”5 In this context, mindfulness is an open state in which you actively pay attention and observe what you’re doing there and then and how it’s making you feel. It’s a valuable state to be in when you’re working, because it’s related to ‘flow’ - the state of focus, motivation and immersion that you might think of as being ‘in the zone’. Flow is threatened on a daily basis by mobile technology and 24-7 connectivity. The phone or tablet in your hand gives you endless possibilities for distraction; rather than simply being in the present moment, your device tempts you with obvious distractions like social networks, YouTube, or websites that lead you link after link down the rabbit hole, and more insidious distractions, like the compulsion to check your email repeatedly throughout the day. However, distraction is not the only threat you need to defend yourself against; stress is another consequence of a lack of mindfulness, and a major roadblock to achieving mastery. Dividing your attention or procrastinating can leave you feeling anxious; each new email, notification, phone call, is another thing to do, keeping you from focusing on the most important tasks. Some talk of people ‘transmitting’ their feelings - stress spreads, happiness is infectious. If you are unaware of how you are feeling you are probably oblivious to how you are making the rest of your team feel as well. Being more mindful of your mental state in general, of what mental state the work you need to do requires, and how technology can support or hinder this will have a marked impact on your productivity and your levels of stress. In this section, we’ll explore: • The principles behind how your mind works. • Your different working modes (and how to use them). •  How to achieve mindfulness. 5 Jon Kabat-Zinn, Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation for Everyday life. While many of us associate it with Buddhism and spirituality, mindfulness is also frequently used therapeutically by psychologists. Dr Jon Kabbat-Zinn, who helped to introduce the concept of mindfulness to the western world in the 1970s, describes it as: 9Mobile Mastery Mindful
    • Why design your day? Right now, there isn’t any best practice. The old rules and structures of working life have been overturned by technology. Working tools are no longer tied to a particular place. Pervasive connections, cloud storage and flexible devices mean that we are no longer dependent on a particular locale to have access to the people, information and tools we need to do our jobs. Our phones allow us to tap into our documents, our colleagues, clients and suppliers wherever we are in the world. For many, our devices are our new offices, ones we can throw in a bag and take with us wherever we go. Even place-based concepts like “home working” or “mobile working” don’t really capture the shift that’s going on. Place is no longer a vital component of information work. If we work anywhere, we work in the flow: the flow of information, people and communication. Flow also describes the way that many aspire to work - fluidly, adapting to changing circumstances, but still with a focused direction. It is fundamentally different to the industrial-era approach that has defined so much working theory until recently. Shifts like this cause dissonance, tension and confusion. Many people take comfort in familiar, traditional structures, because they are tried and tested. They minimise risk. Other people are naturally risk-averse, and for them, this is an uncomfortable time. The old structures of work are breaking down, and new ones will take time to develop. People cling to the old certainties even as they become inefficient and damaging. Working in the old office paradigm, tied to a desk and a standard daily routine leaves employees less efficient, less passionate and, in aggregate, that leaves companies less competitive. Many people take comfort in familiar, traditional structures, because they are tried and tested. They minimise risk. Other people are naturally risk-averse, and for them, this is an uncomfortable time. The old structures of work are breaking down, and new ones will take time to develop. People cling to the old certainties even While many of us associate it with Buddhism and spirituality, mindfulness is also frequently used therapeutically by psychologists. Dr Jon Kabbat-Zinn, who helped to introduce the concept of mindfulness to the western world in the 1970s, describes it as:Flow is the mental state where you are fully immersed in your work, feeling energised, focused and completely engaged in what you’re doing. Flow and mindfulness have a lot in common: mindfulness is about ‘being in the moment’ which is a similar state to the immersion of flow. For many of us, reaching flow is the primary goal in our working day, because it’s when we get our best work done, and leaves us with a sense of satisfaction and achievement that motivates us to push further on and exceed our own expectations. Unfortunately, flow can easily be interrupted by apathy, boredom, anxiety, and of course, those ever-looming distractions. Taking steps to be more mindful and reduce distractions can help increase the likelihood of reaching flow and staying there. Mihály Csíkszentmihályi and Jeanne Nakamura, key figures in flow theory, suggest that you need three things to achieve a flow state: 1. Clarity A clear idea of the goals, structure and direction of your task. 2. Feedback Easily-understood and immediate feedback so you can negotiate any changing demands and adjust your performance to maintain the flow state. 3. Balance A balance between the challenges of the task and your skills; you need to feel confident that you are capable of the task at hand.6 Throughout the rest of this chapter we’ll explore how mindfulness can help you reach and maintain a flow state. We’ll be talking more about how flow works in a team context in the next book in this series, Teams That Flow . Flow. 6 Mihály Csíkszentmihályi and Jeanne Nakamura, ‘Flow’, Handbook of Competence and Motivation
    • Why design your day? While many of us associate it with Buddhism and spirituality, mindfulness is also frequently used therapeutically by psychologists. Dr Jon Kabbat-Zinn, who helped to introduce the concept of mindfulness to the western world in the 1970s, describes it as:
    • 12 Understanding how your mind works. Mindful Being mindful is about paying attention to what you’re doing in the present moment, and understanding it. If you’re a knowledge worker aiming for mindfulness in your work, this means examining and appraising your thought processes, so understanding more about how your mind works can be a useful stepping stone to getting there. When you know more about the underlying psychology and neuroscience, you will find it easier to observe your behaviour, and also to know whether you are using the right tool from your mental ‘toolkit’ or not. (We’ll discuss this point further in the ‘Purposeful’ section of this book.) Mobile Mastery
    • 13Mobile Mastery Mindful Literally, metacognition means ‘thinking about thinking’. It exhibits itself as having an understanding of and control over your mental approach. Examples of metacognition might be planning how you will approach a task or evaluating your progress towards completing it. Metacognition is closely related to mindfulness, but it’s not quite the same thing. While mindfulness is a state of being, or an awareness, metacognition is better thought of as a set of tools for making changes to your own thinking. Two key areas of metacognition are knowledge/awareness and regulation: Metacognition. 1. Metacognitive knowledge/ awareness What you know about how you think and how others think. There are three different types of metacognitive awareness: •  Declarative knowledge Knowing about yourself, how you work and learn, and about the things that have an impact on your performance. •  Procedural knowledge Knowing about doing things and having the ability to choose the right strategies and processes. • Conditional knowledge Knowing when and why to deploy your declarative and procedural knowledge.7 2. Metacognitive regulation Your ability to regulate your cognitive processes. It relates to four skills in particular: •  Planning Choosing the right cognitive strategies and allocating the right mental resources to a task. •  Monitoring Being aware of your performance. •  Evaluating Appraising the quality of the outcome of your task and the efficiency with which you performed it. •  Resisting distraction Being aware of and able to ignore distractions.8 7 JH Flavell, “Metacognition and cognitive monitoring. A new area of cognitive-development inquiry”. American Psychologist, 34. 8 Gregory Schraw, “Promoting general metacognitive awareness”. Instructional Science, 26.
    • In a paper for cognitive research group the Development Testing Service, Dr. Theo L.Dawson writes that: “Adults whose metacognitive skills are well developed are better problem- solvers, decision makers and critical thinkers, are more able and more motivated to learn, and are more likely to be able to regulate their emotions (even in difficult situations), handle complexity, and cope with conflict. “Although metacognitive skills, once they are well-learned, can become habits of mind that are applied in a wide variety of contexts, it is important for even the most advanced adult learners to “flex their cognitive muscles” by consciously applying appropriate metacognitive skills to new knowledge and in new situations.” 9 So then, not only are metacognitive skills vital for knowledge workers, they are also something that you can grow and develop. It is in developing your metacognitive skills that mindfulness can be helpful. Mindfulness helps to create a receptive state of mind for learning and new experiences, and can also increase the likelihood that you will select the right metacognitive skills for the task at hand.10 Metacognition is in itself a kind of mastery - mastery over your own mind and skills. Technology is increasingly becoming an extension of our brains, so it makes sense to extend metacognition to your use of mobile tech. 14Mobile Mastery Mindful 9 Dr. Theo L. Dawson, ‘Metacogniton and learning in adulthood’, LECTICA, http://nokia.ly/12NCkSd 10 EL Garland, ‘The meaning of mindfulness: A second-order cybernetics of stress, metacognition, and coping’, Complementary Health Practice Review.
    • 15Mobile Mastery Mindful •  Identify ‘what you know’ and ‘what you don’t know’ At the beginning of any research activity make conscious decisions about knowledge.’ As you research the topic, verify, clarify and expand, or replace each initial statement with more accurate information. • Talk about thinking During planning and problem-solving situations, think aloud. Labelling thinking processes is important for recognition of thinking skills. •  Keep a thinking journal Another means of developing metacognition is through the use of a journal or learning log. This is a diary in which to reflect upon thinking, make note of awareness of ambiguities and inconsistencies, and comment on how you have dealt with difficulties. This journal is a diary of process. •  Plan and self-regulate Make plans for learning activities including estimating time requirements, organising materials, and scheduling procedures necessary to complete an activity. •  Debrief the thinking process A three-step method is useful. First, review the activity, gathering data on thinking processes and feelings. Then, classify related ideas, identifying thinking strategies used. Finally, evaluate success, discarding inappropriate strategies, identifying those valuable for future use, and seeking promising alternative approaches. •  Self-evaluation Guided self-evaluation experiences through checklists focusing on thinking processes.11 Elaine Blakey and Sheila Spence of the Educational Resource Information Centre suggest the following strategies for developing your metacognitive skills: 11 Elaine Blakey, Sheila Spence, ‘Developing Metacognition’, Education.com, http://nokia.ly/12NCpVO
    • 16Mobile Mastery The impact of mobile technology is felt nowhere more than on our attention. The online world can seem like an “ecosystem of interruption technologies,”12 particularly when you’re trying to get something done. Attention and hyper-attention. Hyper-attention is defined by N Katherine Hayles, a literary critic whose work looks at the relationship between literature, science and technology, as: “switching focus rapidly between different tasks, preferring multiple information streams, seeking a high level of stimulation, and having a low tolerance for boredom.”13 It is the opposite to deep attention: “concentrating on a single object for long periods (say, a novel by Dickens), ignoring outside stimuli while so engaged, preferring a single information stream, and having a high tolerance for long focus times.”14 Hayles suggests hyper-attention would have emerged in humans before deep attention, because being alert and sensitive to threats would have been an evolutionary advantage. It still has its applications, in some work in particular, for example teaching or air traffic control, where you need to be alert and responsive to what’s going on around you. Many of us inadvertently create a state of hyper-attention when we sit at our desks - with email and social networks open alongside whatever we’re working on, we’re creating a high level of stimulation and input, when perhaps what we need is deep attention, which is better suited to solving the complex problems many of us deal with at work. This isn’t just theory - researchers at the University of California, Irving conducted a workplace study in which some subjects were cut off from email for five days, while their colleagues remained connected. The subjects wore heart rate monitors and also had software sensors connected to their computers. Mindful 12 Cory Doctorow 13, 14 N Katherine Hayles, Hyper and Deep Attention:  The Generational Divide in Cognitive Modes, http://nokia.ly/15s08tf
    • 17 Mindful They found that those with email changed between windows on their computer twice as often as those without, indicating that they were not focusing on their work for such sustained periods because they were distracted by their inbox. The subjects with email also had a ‘high alert’ heart rate all the time, while those without had a more natural, variable heart rate. ‘High alert’ heart rates are linked to an increase in cortisol, the hormone associated with stress.15 Being in a state of hyper-attention can become a habit, almost an addiction; when you sit down to work without distractions, you can find yourself feeling bored without that high level of stimulation, and craving your usual level of input. (Many people describe a mild feeling of disappointment on ‘slow email days’ where they don’t get their usual volume to respond to, because it makes them feel less satisfied, and less productive.) The antidote to this is having attention strategies for different situations. While many of us manage our time, few of us manage our attention, despite the fact that it is within our capabilities to do so. Linda Stone, a former executive at Microsoft and Apple, has worked with executives and CEOs and observed their time and attention management. She found that almost everyone who said that they managed their time felt overwhelmed and burnt out, but those who managed their attention were more likely to report getting into the desirable flow state.16 Being more mindful will make you more conscious of where your attention lies, and whether or not it is in the right place. As you become more aware of your attention, you will have the knowledge you need to develop attention strategies for different kinds of work. 15 ‘ Email ‘vacations’ decrease stress’, increase concentration’ http://nokia.ly/15s0boX 16 Rachel James, ‘Q&A: Linda Stone, former tech exec, on conscious computing’, Smart Planet, http://nokia.ly/12NCGYP
    • Why design your day? Right now, there isn’t any best practice. The old rules and structures of working life have been overturned by technology. Working tools are no longer tied to a particular place. Pervasive connections, cloud storage and flexible devices mean that we are no longer dependent on a particular locale to have access to the people, information and tools we need to do our jobs. Our phones allow us to tap into our documents, our colleagues, clients and suppliers wherever we are in the world. For many, our devices are our new offices, ones we can throw in a bag and take with us wherever we go. Even place-based concepts like “home working” or “mobile working” don’t really capture the shift that’s going on. Place is no longer a vital component of information work. If we work anywhere, we work in the flow: the flow of information, people and communication. Flow also describes the way that many aspire to work - fluidly, adapting to changing circumstances, but still with a focused direction. It is fundamentally different to the industrial-era approach that has defined so much working theory until recently. Shifts like this cause dissonance, tension and confusion. Many people take comfort in familiar, traditional structures, because they are tried and tested. They minimise risk. Other people are naturally risk-averse, and for them, this is an uncomfortable time. The old structures of work are breaking down, and new ones will take time to develop. People cling to the old certainties even as they become inefficient and damaging. Working in the old office paradigm, tied to a desk and a standard daily routine leaves employees less efficient, less passionate and, in aggregate, that leaves companies less competitive. Many people take comfort in familiar, traditional structures, because they are tried and tested. They minimise risk. Other people are naturally risk-averse, and for them, this is an uncomfortable time. The old structures of work are breaking down, and new ones will take time to develop. People cling to the old certainties even While many of us associate it with Buddhism and spirituality, mindfulness is also frequently used therapeutically by psychologists. Dr Jon Kabbat-Zinn, who helped to introduce the concept of mindfulness to the western world in the 1970s, describes it as: In 2008, technology and business writer Nicholas Carr asked the now ubiquitous question ‘Is Google making us stupid?’ in an article for The Atlantic. He wrote: “Media are not just passive channels of information. They supply the stuff of thought, but they also shape the process of thought. And what the Net seems to be doing is chipping away my capacity for concentration and contemplation. My mind now expects to take in information the way the Net distributes it: in a swiftly moving stream of particles. Once I was a scuba diver in the sea of words. Now I zip along the surface like a guy on a Jet Ski.”17 This article (and Carr’s subsequent book, The Shallows) prompted a huge debate over the impact of the internet and technology on our attention spans and memories. Some, like Carr, argue that technology is profoundly damaging our capacity to pay attention for longer periods of time, while others, like Jonah Lehrer, argue that it has just exposed how poor human concentration is, and that technology can in fact enhance our mental abilities. Whichever side of the argument you sit on, there is evidence that technology is changing the way we think. In a study conducted at Columbia University, subjects were asked to type facts and trivia into a computer. Half of the subjects were told that the information would be saved, while the other half were told it would be erased. The group who were told it would be erased were significantly more likely to remember the information. In another test, they were asked to remember the trivia statement and which of five computer folders it was saved in on the computer; the subjects found it easier to recall the folder than the fact. Is the internet changing how our minds work? 17 Nicholas Carr, Is Google Making Us Stupid?’, The Atlantic, http://nokia.ly/12NCJUH 18 Betsy Sparrow, Jenny Liu, Daniel M Wenger, ‘Google Effects on Memory: Cognitive Consequences of Having Information at Our Fingertips’, http://nokia.ly/12NCJUH
    • Why design your day? While many of us associate it with Buddhism and spirituality, mindfulness is also frequently used therapeutically by psychologists. Dr Jon Kabbat-Zinn, who helped to introduce the concept of mindfulness to the western world in the 1970s, describes it as: 19 Evan Selinger, ‘The Technologically Enhanced Memory’, Slate. http://nokia.ly/12NCVDc The researchers concluded that the internet has become a primary form of external or transactive memory.18 Transactive memory is a kind of collective external memory - it used to be the ‘group mind’ of a family, group, or team, but is increasingly being replaced by the web. Far from making us stupid, this could be seen as an advantage. Evan Selinger writes: “If we know information is available online, we’re inclined to remember where it can be found, rather than struggle to retain the facts. This evolutionary tendency to off-load taxing aspects of cognition into the environment—natural or built— extends beyond using devices to recall information we’re already familiar with. This is called “extended cognition,” and it plays a crucial role in a controversial view called the “extended mind” thesis. Advocates argue that data-management technologies, from low-tech pads to high-tech computers, don’t always function as mere memory-prompting tools. Sometimes, they deserve to be understood as parts of our mind.”19 By adopting technology as an extension of our brain, we can use it to bear some of the load and free up mental capacity for other things.
    • 20Mobile Mastery Being more mindful in your approach to work and in your approach to using technology will have a positive impact on your productivity and effectiveness, and also in the level of stress you experience. How to be more mindful. You may find it challenging at first, particularly if you’re used to being in a reactive, hyper-attentive state, but mindfulness is like a muscle: the more you use it, the stronger it becomes. As Howard Rheingold puts it: “The mindful use of digital media doesn’t happen automatically. Thinking about what you are doing and why you are doing it instead of going through the motions is fundamental to the definition of mindful, whether you are deciding to follow someone on Twitter, shutting the lid of your laptop in class, looking up from your BlackBerry in a meeting, or consciously deciding which links not to click.”20 Here we examine some key ways to be more mindful. Be in the moment While it might sound like a cliche, ‘being in the moment’ is a key element to mindfulness. It’s also very difficult to achieve. It means paying more attention to what you’re doing at that present moment, rather than approaching tasks on autopilot while your mind is also dealing with other matters. In a mindful approach, multitasking should be dropped in favour of focusing on one thing at a time. (Neuroscience provides strong evidence that multitasking is an inefficient way of working, because we function best when we work sequentially.21 ) In practice, this means committing to being completely present in whatever you’re doing, whether that’s setting your laptop and phone aside during a meeting, or shutting down social networks when you’re focusing on a task that they won’t help you with. Mindful 20 Howard Rheingold, Net Smart: How To Thrive Online. 21 Adam Gorlick, ‘Media multitaskers pay mental price, Stanford study shows’, Stanford Report, http://nokia.ly/12ND0GY
    • 21Mobile Mastery Mindful Plan your approach This is where the link between metacognition and mindfulness comes into play. By being mindful, you should be creating the right conditions for you to bring your metacognitive skills to play. This means thinking about how you will approach the task mentally, monitoring your progress as you go along and evaluating your success at the end. You should also extend this to thinking about how technology can support or hinder you. In practice, this might mean breaking down a big task into a workflow, and tackling each task individually. It might also mean identifying that some tasks don’t need technology, while others might be made far easier and quicker with an app or gadget. It means not always taking the same approach, and trying new things. (More of this in the ‘Playful’ section of the book.) Think about your mood Pay attention to your mood and think about if/how you can change it. The brain has two basic mental states - ‘toward’ and ‘away’. In a ‘toward’ state you are positive, open and engaged, while in an ‘away’ state, you are more negative, defensive and withdrawn. A ‘toward’ state is naturally more productive, so if you are in an ‘away’ state and need to think clearly or creatively, you should do anything you can to change your mood to ‘toward’.
    • 22Mobile Mastery Let your mind wander There’s nothing wrong with letting your mind wander a little from time to time, but you should be sure to gently bring your attention back to the matter at hand. In fact, letting your mind wander can be helpful for some kinds of work. There are two types of experience: 1. Narrative experience where your mind wanders or you daydream. 2. Direct experience where you aren’t thinking, but rather experiencing information and sensations in real-time. In Your Brain At Work, respected neuroscience writer Dr David Rock says: “You can experience the world through your narrative circuitry, which will be useful for planning, goal setting, and strategizing. You can also experience the world more directly, which enables more sensory information to be perceived. Experiencing the world through the direct experience network allows you to get closer to the reality of any event. You perceive more information about events occurring around you, as well as more accurate information about these events. Noticing more real-time information makes you more flexible in how you respond to the world. You also become less imprisoned by the past, your habits, expectations or assumptions, and more able to respond to events as they unfold.”22 So then you shouldn’t be afraid to let you mind just wander (within reason) if you’re planning or working on a strategy document, and bearing in mind the role the internet plays as transactive memory (which we discussed in ‘Is the internet changing how our minds work?’, being online could help. However, in a meeting, you should try to foster a direct experience state where you’re more flexible and open. Mindful 22 Dr David Rock, Your Brain At Work 23 Peretz Lavie, The Enchanted World of Sleep 24 Tony Schwartz, ‘A 90-minute Plan for Personal Effectivness’, Harvard Business Review http://nokia.ly/15s0Czq
    • 23 Mindful Acknowledge that your energy is limited. Working mindfully and with full concentration is tiring, physically as well as mentally - your brain can use as much as 20% of your body’s energy. Try working in short bursts - research suggests that our ‘ultradian rhythm’ means that 90 minutes is the longest that we can maintain really intense focus for23 , and beyond that we start to feel distracted, restless and even irritable. Tony Schwartz, founder of the Energy Project, writes that many of us ignore these signals that we need a break, or try to power through using caffeine and sugar as a quick fix.24 An alternative approach is the Pomodoro technique, where you work in 25 minute bursts, then take a five minute break, and a longer 15-30 minute break between every four 25 minute bursts. By being mindful of your energy levels and acknowledging that you need a break, you can boost your productivity. Simple timer apps25 and dedicated Pomodoro apps26 are readily available and could be a useful tool for your smartphone. Choose a prompt Try and create a prompt to make being mindful a habit. Think about the times when you need to be mindful and the activities linked to that and make one of those your reminder that it’s time to be mindful. It could be sitting down at your desk, turning off the WiFi on your laptop, putting your phone on airplane mode etc - that’s your prompt that you’re going into mindful mode and will be focusing hard for a set period. The Mindfulness App27 lets you set reminders to be mindful at certain times of the day or when you arrive at or leave a location. It also lets you know how long you’ve been mindful for with bells, so you don’t have to break focus and check the app for timings. Be critical In a mindful approach it’s also important to question whether what you’re focusing on is worthy of your time or not. You could take a leaf out of Howard Rheingold’s book and write ‘Does this deserve my attention?’ on a sticky note and put it on your computer monitor to remind you to question whether you’re focusing on the right thing.28 25 http://nokia.ly/12ND5KY 26 http://nokia.ly/15s0JLz 27 http://nokia.ly/15s0HTO 28 http://nokia.ly/15s0Ma9 Mobile Mastery
    • Why design your day? Right now, there isn’t any best practice. The old rules and structures of working life have been overturned by technology. Working tools are no longer tied to a particular place. Pervasive connections, cloud storage and flexible devices mean that we are no longer dependent on a particular locale to have access to the people, information and tools we need to do our jobs. Our phones allow us to tap into our documents, our colleagues, clients and suppliers wherever we are in the world. For many, our devices are our new offices, ones we can throw in a bag and take with us wherever we go. Even place-based concepts like “home working” or “mobile working” don’t really capture the shift that’s going on. Place is no longer a vital component of information work. If we work anywhere, we work in the flow: the flow of information, people and communication. Flow also describes the way that many aspire to work - fluidly, adapting to changing circumstances, but still with a focused direction. It is fundamentally different to the industrial-era approach that has defined so much working theory until recently. Shifts like this cause dissonance, tension and confusion. Many people take comfort in familiar, traditional structures, because they are tried and tested. They minimise risk. Other people are naturally risk-averse, and for them, this is an uncomfortable time. The old structures of work are breaking down, and new ones will take time to develop. People cling to the old certainties even as they become inefficient and damaging. Working in the old office paradigm, tied to a desk and a standard daily routine leaves employees less efficient, less passionate and, in aggregate, that leaves companies less competitive. Many people take comfort in familiar, traditional structures, because they are tried and tested. They minimise risk. Other people are naturally risk-averse, and for them, this is an uncomfortable time. The old structures of work are breaking down, and new ones will take time to develop. People cling to the old certainties even While many of us associate it with Buddhism and spirituality, mindfulness is also frequently used therapeutically by psychologists. Dr Jon Kabbat-Zinn, who helped to introduce the concept of mindfulness to the western world in the 1970s, describes it as: Purposeful. 24Mobile Mastery Purposeful The second element of mobile mastery is being purposeful. Purpose gives us the impetus to begin something, a target to push towards, and a reward when we complete a task. Without purpose, we can never truly take ownership of our actions, and we risk getting trapped in a cycle of directionless experimentation, without any real knowledge, understanding or insight into what we are doing. It’s vital that your use of mobile technology is purposeful if you want to go beyond passive usage and create a more dynamic and valuable relationship with your devices; one built upon a framework of clear motivations and defined goals. When used correctly, the technology in your life can become an extension of your intentions. This is why it is key to consider the purpose of the technology in your life. The thrill of new things can be intoxicating and we all fall prey to the desire to stay on the cutting edge. But precisely because devices and apps can play such an important role in our lives and work, we need to carefully consider why we’re using them, to ensure we’re using the right tool for the job. In this chapter, we will: •  Learn about the threats of connection fatigue, information anxiety, and internet addiction. • Get practical tips on using digital technology to achieve meaningful targets.
    • 25Mobile Mastery The smartphone in your hands can do so much more than simply make calls or browse the net. With a few taps of the screen, you can make notes, book appointments, prepare presentations, check your schedule, explore the world, document your experiences with images and videos, and much more beyond. Now that our digital work tools are accessible and portable like never before, each of us has a virtually limitless array of mobile processes at our disposal. However, any tool is useless unless you know how to operate it, and due thought must be applied to deciding the specific function of each piece of technology. When you begin a task, what do you reach for? Do you need to be at a desktop computer, or will a smartphone suffice? If pen and paper can accomplish the same results as a tablet, then why complicate things unless you can expect very specific benefits? Begin each task by thinking about its purpose. Don’t simply picture the end result: a completed spreadsheet, an empty inbox, or an elegant work of design. Go beyond the final object, and picture the impact the work you produce will have, like ripples on a pond after dropping in a pebble. Ask yourself why you are building that spreadsheet. Is it to streamline working practices going forward? To provide a valuable asset for a client or for your team? This is the true purpose of your task: not the end product, but the consequences of that product’s existence. Consider the requirements, and be sure you match the tool to the task. The awesome processing power granted to us by computers is easily squandered if used in the wrong way. Herein lies truly purposeful awareness, and technology when mastered provides a purposeful impact like no other. You wouldn’t use a hammer to chop down a tree, and you wouldn’t paint your house with a broom. In much the same way, truly purposeful use of mobile technology requires choosing exactly the right tool for the job at hand. The right tool for the job. Purposeful
    • Why design your day? Right now, there isn’t any best practice. The old rules and structures of working life have been overturned by technology. Working tools are no longer tied to a particular place. Pervasive connections, cloud storage and flexible devices mean that we are no longer dependent on a particular locale to have access to the people, information and tools we need to do our jobs. Our phones allow us to tap into our documents, our colleagues, clients and suppliers wherever we are in the world. For many, our devices are our new offices, ones we can throw in a bag and take with us wherever we go. Even place-based concepts like “home working” or “mobile working” don’t really capture the shift that’s going on. Place is no longer a vital component of information work. If we work anywhere, we work in the flow: the flow of information, people and communication. Flow also describes the way that many aspire to work - fluidly, adapting to changing circumstances, but still with a focused direction. It is fundamentally different to the industrial-era approach that has defined so much working theory until recently. Shifts like this cause dissonance, tension and confusion. Many people take comfort in familiar, traditional structures, because they are tried and tested. They minimise risk. Other people are naturally risk-averse, and for them, this is an uncomfortable time. The old structures of work are breaking down, and new ones will take time to develop. People cling to the old certainties even as they become inefficient and damaging. Working in the old office paradigm, tied to a desk and a standard daily routine leaves employees less efficient, less passionate and, in aggregate, that leaves companies less competitive. Many people take comfort in familiar, traditional structures, because they are tried and tested. They minimise risk. Other people are naturally risk-averse, and for them, this is an uncomfortable time. The old structures of work are breaking down, and new ones will take time to develop. People cling to the old certainties even While many of us associate it with Buddhism and spirituality, mindfulness is also frequently used therapeutically by psychologists. Dr Jon Kabbat-Zinn, who helped to introduce the concept of mindfulness to the western world in the 1970s, describes it as: The ease with which mobile tools allow us to accomplish daily tasks opens up a vast ocean of potential that previous generations of people had no access to, either at home or at work. While this is a welcome advance, one of the major threats to purposeful mobile mastery is that when things get easier, there is an invariable tendency for them to become simpler too. Cultural commentators frequently lament the decline of contemporary language skills as shorthand text- speak prevails and spellcheck and autocomplete do the linguistic heavy lifting for us. With this in mind, you could argue that there are benefits in making things difficult for ourselves, to stay mentally sharp. An example of this thinking in action comes from experimental architects Arakawa & Gins. Their theory is that for a home to keep its inhabitants healthy and young it should provide perpetual challenges. This founding principle sparked a sequence of ideas that eventually led them to construct a complex of ‘Reversible Destiny Lofts’ in Tokyo. Featuring light switches situated on the ceiling that require you to stretch your body to reach them, uneven floors that test your balance as you move from room to room, and brightly-coloured surfaces that stimulate your senses constantly, these unique living spaces are designed to force a mental and physical workout into the most basic routines of daily life.29 The working function is to keep your mind and body fighting fit by living on the peripheral boundary of your comfort zone, and there is strong evidence for the same to apply to your working life. Effortless, not comfortable. 29 ‘ For rent: Reversible Destiny Lofts’, Pink tentacle, http://nokia.ly/12NDeOq
    • Why design your day? While many of us associate it with Buddhism and spirituality, mindfulness is also frequently used therapeutically by psychologists. Dr Jon Kabbat-Zinn, who helped to introduce the concept of mindfulness to the western world in the 1970s, describes it as: 30 Nicholas Carr, Is Google Making Us Stupid? The Atlantic, http://nokia.ly/12NCJUH 31 Sean Kelly and Hubert Dreyfus, All Things Shining: Reading the Western Classics to Find Meaning in a Secular Age A great many theorists are now seriously concerned that the times we’re living in have allowed our brains to become too comfortable. In ‘Is Google Making Us Stupid?’, Nicholas Carr writes of the impact of technology on his ability to focus30 . In their book All Things Shining, Harvard University’s Sean Kelly and Hubert Dreyfus even go so far as to to warn that universal reliance upon GPS navigation will erode our skills to the point that it will “flatten out human life.” 31 A little simplicity can be a good thing, but over time it runs the risk of blunting our cognitive skills through sustained neglect. Consider whether you’re using your app or device to save you time, or out of laziness. If it’s the latter, it might be worth going back to doing things the old-fashioned way.
    • 28Mobile Mastery It’s clear that to avoid the threats technology poses, we need increased personal awareness and a higher level of mobile mastery. With this in mind, the way in which you perform a task can be just as important as the task itself. Sometimes, the process itself can be the purpose. The process is the purpose. Acknowledging the dual relationship between process and purpose is an evolutionary leap forward in technological attitudes. By having made the decision to do something we are not just working towards our goals or purpose, but are also honing our skills and purpose along the way. By spending more time considering the tools you use and the goal you want to reach, you can come to understand and make informed choices about why you do things a certain way: not simply to reach a certain result, but also because there is meaning and value in taking a particular path to reach it. Another significant choice we face is not just selecting the way to do things, but making the active decision of how not to do them. Cutting out unnecessary noise can be one of the most difficult practical disciplines to uphold, and represents a major step on the path to mobile mastery, as it saves not just time, but cognitive expenditure too. Your brain wants to solve problems, and will latch onto behavioural patterns that produce results. This is due to the way your brain links pathways from neuron to neuron as you learn new processes. Greg Satell of innovation blog Creativity Post writes that far from being random, the connections between our neurons evolve through two primary processes: Hebbian plasticity and feedback. According to Hebbian plasticity ‘neurons that fire together, wire together,’ so the the more we use a particular neural pathway the stronger it gets. And feedback means we tend to reuse the pathways that lead to success.32 This is good news for your brain, because it means that the most effective methods take root most strongly. Your mind is able to recognise results and strives to repeat any previously successful course of action. Purposeful
    • 29Mobile Mastery This is another instance of process becoming purpose; by trying different methods, the neurons in your mind are working behind the scenes to test connections and strengthen the most successful pathways. In this sense, the awesome power of your brain makes it the most valuable tool in your collection. In an article for Scientific American, Paul Reber illuminates the staggering mnemonic capacity of the ‘software’ in your head, and frames it in technological terms: “The human brain consists of about one billion neurons. Each neuron forms about 1,000 connections to other neurons, amounting to more than a trillion connections. If each neuron could only help store a single memory, running out of space would be a problem. You might have only a few gigabytes of storage space, similar to the space in a USB flash drive. Yet neurons combine so that each one helps with many memories at a time, exponentially increasing the brain’s memory storage capacity to something closer to around 2.5 petabytes (or a million gigabytes). For comparison, if your brain worked like a digital video recorder in a television, 2.5 petabytes would be enough to hold three million hours of TV shows. You would have to leave the TV running continuously for more than 300 years to use up all that storage.”33 However, this impressive processing capability and predilection for results doesn’t necessarily mean that the fastest solution is the best. As our brains become increasingly symbiotic with our mobile devices, the constant traffic of information both towards and away from us can become overwhelming. If you fail to keep up with the rapid flow, you risk being swept away by it. Purposeful 32 Greg Satell, ‘The Infinite Monkey Theorem’, Creativity Post, http://nokia.ly/15s0VKL 33 Paul Reber, What Is the Memory Capacity of the Human Brain?’, Scientific American, http://nokia.ly/12NDw83
    • 30Mobile Mastery Stacks and flows. When we don’t have mastery over our devices, the sheer speed and relentless torrent of correspondence and information can create a cognitive dead-end in the form of information anxiety, otherwise classified as ‘fear of missing out’. There is a vital mental distinction to be made between media stacks, which require individual attention for each item, and media flows, which should be dipped into when we need assistance or inspiration. Your email inbox, when properly tamed, is a prime example of stack media in action. Twitter on the other hand represents flow media, which can be just as useful, but runs the risk of dragging us away from our working purpose for the reliable and addictive dopamine hit of infinite scrolling. In an article for Wired, technology writer Mat Honan suggests that to elevate its usefulness, Twitter and other flow media services need to find a way to deliver less bulk content, and more specifically targeted information: “We are increasingly struggling to stay afloat in our data streams…We’re drowning in as-it-happens data. It’s the stuff that gets us to wake up in Purposeful
    • 31Mobile Mastery Purposeful the morning and grab a phone and start sorting. It’s not just Twitter, it’s also email, Facebook, Instagram, our news feeds, and all those other inputs we check during every waking hour.”34 Not all connections need to be a two-way street. Emails and phone calls are conversations that can invade our mental space, but blogs, Twitter and other platforms should be thought of more as a ‘casting-out’. Dip into the flow media when you need to, and forget all about it when you don’t. Information anxiety sets in when we find ourselves compulsively checking Twitter or RSS feeds due to a needless fear of missing out. A few mobile mastery tweaks can ensure you auto-archive the most important items, reserving them to be read when the time is right for you. This means you can condition your brain to relax and concentrate with full attention on the purpose at hand. The rest of the world can wait. 34 Mat Honan, ‘Twitter’s Big Challenge’, Wired http://nokia.ly/12NDyg5
    • 32Mobile Mastery Purposeful Harvard University psychology professor B.F. Skinner’s 1984 research paper ‘The Evolution Of Behaviour’, is often cited to explain the addictive nature of the web. In his research, Skinner placed rats inside an ‘operant conditioning chamber’ (also known as a ‘Skinner Box’), and trained the animals that pushing a small button would deliver a pellet of food. The rats would continue to compulsively push the button even after a variable reward schedule was introduced, meaning that their actions would only occasionally produce a result.35 The comparison of some internet users and Skinner’s test-subjects is uncomfortably appropriate. Each of us at times exhibits this behaviour of repetitively performing the same action in the hope that we’ll achieve a different result than before, endlessly refreshing our inboxes for no reason other than hoping for a dopamine hit. Connection fatigue and internet addiction are the nemesis of any devotee of the purposeful use of technology. And, as we discussed in ‘Is the internet changing how our minds work?’ there are those who are seriously worried about what permanent damage poor use of technology may be doing to our minds. Information anxiety is one of many symptoms that indicate mismanagement of mobile technology. Another is ‘connection fatigue’, the numbing state of mind otherwise recognised as the increasingly common problem of internet addiction. Connection fatigue and internet addiction. 35 BF Skinner, ‘The Evolution of Behaviour’, Journal of Experimental Analysis of Behavior, http://nokia.ly/15s1eVT
    • By striving for purposeful mastery of technology, you are making a decisive step to remove yourself from this messy modern problem. Many people shy away from perpetual connectivity by hoping to lead a simpler life removed from these hectic times in the state that Rushkoff calls ‘Apocalypto’. However, this needn’t be the case. When tamed and implemented with a distinct sense of direction and discipline, connected mobile technology can be the gateway to higher plains of achievement. In his book Present Shock: When Everything Happens Now, media-theorist Douglas Rushkoff outlines five emergent disorders of the modern age that illustrate the ways a lack of mastery is damaging our collective thinking: 1. Narrative collapse “the loss of linear stories…with no goals to justify journeys.” 2. Digiphrenia “how technology lets us be in more than one place, and self, at the same time…we all become overwhelmed.” 3. Overwinding “trying to squish huge timescales into much smaller ones.” 4. Fractalnoia “making sense of our world entirely in the present tense, by drawing connections between things… sometimes inappropriately.” 5. Apocalypto “the intolerance for presentism leads us to fantasize a grand finale… yearning for a simpler life devoid of pings.”36 33Mobile Mastery Purposeful 36 Douglas Rushkoff, Present Shock: When Everything Happens Now
    • 34Mobile Mastery Purposeful We suggest the following five personal methodologies, which you can memorise with the acronym START: •  Step away from email if you want to work without distraction. • Two large projects a day is the ideal target to avoid stress. • Archive your achievements with a ‘done’ list to help reflect on your day’s performance. •  Ruthlessly cut your to-do list down - if you hesitate before adding it, then don’t add it. • Type anything, to fill a page. If you’re having trouble getting motivated, then do whatever you can to fill a blank page. Editing a stream-of-consciousness is much easier than facing the monolithic expanse of an empty page. How to be purposeful.
    • 35Mobile Mastery Purposeful
    • 36Mobile Mastery Title of section Playfulness isn’t the sole preserve of childhood, it’s a valuable attribute in adulthood too. Being playful is about exploring, spontaneity, doing new things for the sake of enjoyment. PLAYFUL.
    • 37Mobile Mastery Playful Play has a place in mobile mastery because it has an essential role in the processes of learning and innovation. Cognitive playfulness - a term coined by Jennifer Pei-Ling Tan - refers to the kind of serious intellectual play that fosters creativity. People who are cognitively playful have a tendency towards curiosity and inventiveness, the precursors of innovation38 , and a study conducted by staff from the University of North Texas indicates that playfulness and innovation have a correlation with people’s ability to use technology at a high level.39 Technology is also inherently playful. We treat new devices like a child treats a new toy: we covet them, we get pleasure from using them, we don’t look at them and see functionality, we see possibilities, novelty and excitement. It’s important not to lose this excitement on the journey to mobile mastery. Mindfulness gives you awareness, purposefulness gives you an objective, but playfulness is there to give you fun, innovation and possibilities. In this section you we’ll explore: • The benefits of being playful in your use of technology. • The importance of engaging your critical thinking. •  Ways that you can be more playful in your use of technology. 37 Jennifer Pei-Ling Tan, Seeing Cognitive Playfulness http://nokia.ly/15s1h3V 38 Lemoyne Luette Scott Dunn, Cognitive playfulness, innovativeness, and belief of essentialness: Characteristics of educators who have the ability to make enduring changes in the integration of technology into the classroom environment.
    • The benefits of being playful. Being playful is in part about fun, but it also has clear benefits in terms of business and personal development, because of its interrelation with innovation. Being playful gives you the chance to make discoveries that could give you the edge personally and professionally, and also give your business an advantage over less innovative competitors. Risk Before we talk about the benefits of being playful in your use of technology, it is important to think about the risks too. Investing in new technology can be expensive, and involves disruption to your tried, tested and proven ways of doing things. You’re risking your time, money and productivity. However, there are big rewards to play for, which might make that risk worthwhile. A McKinsey report on the social economy which analysed 4,200 companies found that social technologies had the potential to unlock $900 billion to $1.3 trillion in value each year and improve the productivity of knowledge workers by 20-25%.40 This dichotomy between innovation and risk existed long before mobile technology came into being. In fact, it was a 1950s sociological study into the habits of farmers that coined the term ‘early adopter’ which we now associate so closely with digital devices. The study came up with five different profiles for the ways in which people tend to approach the adoption of new technology, which were later developed by Everett Rodgers into a theory called the ‘Diffusion of Innovations’: 38Mobile Mastery Playful 39 Michael Chui, James Manyika, Jacques Bughin, Richard Dobbs, Charles Roxburgh, Hugo Sarrazin, Geoffrey Sands and Magdalena Westergren, The social economy: Unlocking value andd productivity through social technologies, http://nokia.ly/15s1iVv
    • 5 4 3 2 1 39Mobile Mastery Playful 40 Everett Rodgers, Diffusion of Innovations 1. Innovators The first people to adopt new ideas; they tend to be young risk takers in a strong financial position, and also tend to be very social, with ties to other innovators. 2. Early adopters They are the second fastest to adopt new technologies; they tend to be young, financially stable, social and well educated. They also tend to be opinion leaders. 3. Early majority They are significantly slower in their adoption of technology than early adopters; they tend to be cautious, but have contact with early adopters. They rarely hold positions where they lead opinion. 4. Late majority They adopt technology slowly; they tend to be skeptical about innovation, less stable financially and mostly come into contact with other members of the late majority, and some of the early majority. 5. Laggards They are the last to adopt new technology; they tend to be averse to change, focus on tradition and only have social contact with family and close friends.41 Play can help make being an innovator or an early adopter less of a risk. Play is a time to take chances, make mistakes and learn from them. It should allow you to experiment in a way that feels safe, rather than in a way that makes you worry about the time or money you might be wasting. (We’ll talk more about a framework for being playful in the next section.) Risk
    • 40Mobile Mastery Playful Social networks like Twitter and LinkedIn give you the ability to make more of these weak ties and enjoy the valuable flow of information they afford. You can make weak ties with innovators and early adopters that you might never meet in your daily life through social networks, and tap into their knowledge and connections. While we can play alone, involving others has the potential to make the experience more enriching. Mobile technology gives us a way to play and explore as a group. It gives you access to collective and collaborative intelligence, whether it’s benefitting from the knowledge of a huge community via Wikipedia, or crowdsourcing funding, or consulting Twitter’s hive mind for the solution to a problem. And it is by playing and experimenting with these networks that you will learn to use them most effectively. Building social ties The diffusion of innovation shows how important social ties are in bringing new technology to your attention. If you are lower down on the ladder of adoption, looking up a rung or two and trying to forge ties with people in those groups can help you speed up the pace of your own adoption of the best technology. It also means you can watch others experiment and benefit from their learnings and mistakes. Playful use of technology can support you in this exercise. Sociology suggests that weak social ties - your relationships with acquaintances rather than close friends - are responsible for transmitting a lot of information, far more than travels through the strong ties you have with close friends or family. This is because your weak ties are likely to know people that you don’t know, which means there is a great chance of them transmitting novel information to you.
    • 41Mobile Mastery Playful Improving mental health and development As Dr David Rock and Dr Daniel Siegel highlight in their Healthy Mind Platter, play is an important ingredient in the list of mental activities that form the recipe for good mental health.42 It has a particularly important role in relieving stress. When we play, we often reach a ‘flow’ state of relaxed concentration - you’re focused, without any feeling of pressure, which can be very relaxing, and is a good way to take your mind off anything that might be worrying you. In addition, play can support your mental development too. In his book Play, Dr Stuart Brown, the founder of the National Institute for Play, explains that it stimulates nerve growth in the parts of the brain responsible for processing emotions and controlling executive functions like planning and problem solving.43 Supporting learning Children tend to learn new systems quickly and seemingly instinctively. This is because they treat a lot of learning as play; they try things out, see what works, and don’t worry about getting it wrong, but learn from it if they do. Brown suggests that play is a natural tool for learning: it helps us to create new neural networks and when we play, problems we are struggling with continue to be processed by our subconscious. So when you stop playing and go back to work, you may well find that knotty issue you’ve been struggling with easier to untangle. 41 Dr David Rock and Dr Daniel Siegel, The Healthy Mind Platter, http://nokia.ly/12NDRHH 42 Stuart Brown, Play: How It Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul.
    • Why design your day? Right now, there isn’t any best practice. The old rules and structures of working life have been overturned by technology. Working tools are no longer tied to a particular place. Pervasive connections, cloud storage and flexible devices mean that we are no longer dependent on a particular locale to have access to the people, information and tools we need to do our jobs. Our phones allow us to tap into our documents, our colleagues, clients and suppliers wherever we are in the world. For many, our devices are our new offices, ones we can throw in a bag and take with us wherever we go. Even place-based concepts like “home working” or “mobile working” don’t really capture the shift that’s going on. Place is no longer a vital component of information work. If we work anywhere, we work in the flow: the flow of information, people and communication. Flow also describes the way that many aspire to work - fluidly, adapting to changing circumstances, but still with a focused direction. It is fundamentally different to the industrial-era approach that has defined so much working theory until recently. Shifts like this cause dissonance, tension and confusion. Many people take comfort in familiar, traditional structures, because they are tried and tested. They minimise risk. Other people are naturally risk-averse, and for them, this is an uncomfortable time. The old structures of work are breaking down, and new ones will take time to develop. People cling to the old certainties even as they become inefficient and damaging. Working in the old office paradigm, tied to a desk and a standard daily routine leaves employees less efficient, less passionate and, in aggregate, that leaves companies less competitive. Many people take comfort in familiar, traditional structures, because they are tried and tested. They minimise risk. Other people are naturally risk-averse, and for them, this is an uncomfortable time. The old structures of work are breaking down, and new ones will take time to develop. People cling to the old certainties even While many of us associate it with Buddhism and spirituality, mindfulness is also frequently used therapeutically by psychologists. Dr Jon Kabbat-Zinn, who helped to introduce the concept of mindfulness to the western world in the 1970s, describes it as: The Slow Web, Conscious Computing, Contemplative Computing… these are just some of the different movements that are all looking for a more considered and mindful approach to technology in our society. The Slow Web Manifesto says: “The web moves at an incredible pace, and increasingly services are being demanded live. With a live web, users have come to expect real-time (or close to) feedback. Indeed, by the virtue of being consumer to web services, one finds oneself inundated by notifications and feedback from said services. Welcome to the fast web. Your attention is required now. Here, and there, and everywhere… We believe that one should be doing what one does best at doing [sic], instead of being drip-fed a constant stream of information and being pressured to respond instantly.”44 The element that all of these movements have in common is the idea that technology should be there to support us, rather than distract us, and that we need to be conscious of our relationship with technology. Many of the people involved in these movements are trying to use technology to come up with solutions to the problems created by always-on, available-everywhere connectivity. For example the University of Stanford’s Calming Technology Lab has created apps and programmes to encourage calm breathing patterns while you use your computer or mobile phone45 , and there are numerous apps which will allow you to block or limit the time you can spend on certain websites. The Slow Web. 43 The Slow Web: A Manifesto, http://nokia.ly/15s1rZ6 44 ‘Projects’, Calming Technology, http://nokia.ly/12NDYTH
    • Why design your day? While many of us associate it with Buddhism and spirituality, mindfulness is also frequently used therapeutically by psychologists. Dr Jon Kabbat-Zinn, who helped to introduce the concept of mindfulness to the western world in the 1970s, describes it as:
    • 44Mobile Mastery Playful For many of us, being playful is a habit we’ve grown out of. But thankfully, habits can be reformed. In this section we’ll look at some ways to make being playful in your use of devices, apps, social networks and mobile in general a productive part of your routine. Keep your eyes and ears open Keep your ear to the ground for new ideas that you might want to try out. You could find ideas from people you know in real life, through social networks, or reading. You could also ask people who are innovators or early adopters what their recommendations and suggestions are. Be open to new ideas It’s easy to be dismissive of radical ideas, but part of being playful is being open. If you find yourself wanting to close yourself off to a new idea, try asking yourself why it is that you’re opposed to it. If your reasons stand up to questioning, then move on to the next idea, but if not, give it a try - you might surprise yourself. Make time for play Make time in your day for play; if you find it hard to do this organically, it might help to block out time in your diary for it. When we’re busy, being playful might seem like an easy thing to push to one side, but it’s an important part of you day. Look at it as an investment; an investment in innovation, productivity, learning, and also in your health. Keri Smith’s How To Be An Explorer Of The World has some great exercises to help you become more playful everyday. Think beyond work Don’t just think about how you can use mobile technology to improve your work life. You can also use it to enhance exercise, health, social life and learning. Experiment Treat your playtime as a chance to experiment with mobile technology, a chance to learn something new. Test out new ways of working and living with mobile, and analyse the results. Fail fast Aim to fail fast in your experiments. Try things out, and don’t be afraid to abandon your experiment if it’s not working for you, but try to do so quickly, so that you take up as little time as possible, and can move onto the next idea - which might just be a winner. In practice, this might mean running your own pilot schemes of new technology, or coming up with prototype ways of working. You could also try having a trial section on your homescreen where you put apps that you’re testing, and which you commit to regularly clearing out. How to be playful.
    • 45Mobile Mastery Playful Critical thinking. Try to be selective about what new mobile technologies you try out, and think about whether they’re really worthy of your time and attention. It can be easy to get excited about a new app or gadget, and be swept up by the hype and enthusiasm other people have for it. However, while there’s nothing wrong with trying something new, it’s important to think critically about why you’re doing it and what the potential benefits (and risks) might be. Think back to the other two pillars of mobile mastery, mindfulness and purposefulness, and ask yourself the following questions about any new device, app, website or content you’re using: •  Who created it? What were their motivations in creating it, and do these motivations have any potential impact on its quality or usefulness? •  What purpose does it serve? Does the thing you’re using have a clear and useful purpose? •  Where does it fit? How will it fit into your day, both in terms of the time it takes up and the role that it plays? •  When would you use it? At what times and in what situations would it be most effective and useful? •  Why are you using it? Is it truly useful, or beautiful? •  How does it make you feel? What impact is it having on your work and your attention? This framework can help you analyse the value of your ‘playtime’ and make sure that you’re approaching it in a way that’s mindful and purposeful. Your time, energy and attention are valuable, and while time spent being playful is valuable, it needs to be tempered with critical thinking about what and who you engage with.
    • 46 Masterful tools. Masterful toolsMobile Mastery There are many examples of mobile mastery being demonstrated to excellent effect, and new products and services emerge every day. In fact, the sheer volume of apps that claim to be able to change your working life can at times be too vast to consider exploring with any depth. Because of this, we’d like to highlight just a small selection of noteworthy examples that we feel put the principles of mobile mastery into practice in ways that are both innovative and useful. We’ve focussed on web services rather than platform specific apps, to make this book useful to as wide an audience as possible. IFTTT.COM Rising in popularity at an impressive rate is IFTTT.com. With the simple yet intriguing strapline: “Putting the internet to work for you”, IFTTT allows users to easily create and share programmable rulesets to automate various aspects of digital activity. The name of the service is an acronym of the basic formula for these programmes, or ‘recipes’ as they call them - “If This, Then That”. Sample recipes include productivity solutions such as creating an Evernote note whenever an email is starred, practical helpers to let you know the night before if rain is predicted in your area so that you can pack an umbrella, and even quirky, fun ideas like connecting your lights to your MP3 collection so they can automatically dim when a slow song is played. With user-generated recipes of every type being uploaded constantly, we can hardly think of a more mindful, purposeful, and playful use of mobile mastery in action.
    • 47Mobile Mastery Masterful tools “IDoneThis is a part of the Slow Web movement. After you email us, your calendar is not updated instantaneously. But rest up, and you’ll find an updated calendar when you wake.” The notion that a company would be consciously trying to move at a less convenient speed is just as revolutionary as the sincere suggestion that users should ‘rest up’ and find things taken care of automatically upon waking up. This step is designed to prevent the addiction-loop of B.F. Skinner’s operant conditioning chamber, wherein we perpetually refresh our inboxes hoping for any kind of input. The decision to not force all activity to happen in ‘real-time’ is significant, because it not only frees us from the tyranny of dopamine addiction, but it also prompts us to be more aware of the positive power of digital technology. A masterfully engineered solution will function without users needing to check up on it, and the sooner we are able to relinquish that control and simply have faith in the systems we use, the sooner we are free to concern ourselves with something else… most importantly, doing quality work. iDoneThis.com Another great piece of digital engineering to help you achieve more off of the back of a surprisingly simple function is idonethis.com. The basic principle of this handy web-service is to keep a log of the things you’ve successfully accomplished, and report back to you at the end of each day. The benefits are both motivational for individuals, and collaborative for teams. It’s a brief moment of reflection at the end of your working day to review what has been achieved, while sharing project progress with colleagues. Perhaps the most interesting facet of the iDoneThis story is the company’s explicit commitment to the Slow Web movement, which we discussed in the previous chapter. The way that iDoneThis roots itself within the borders of the slow web is by factoring in a substantial delay between a user inputting data and said data appearing on their account. The following statement appears within the sign-off of all automated iDoneThis emails:
    • 48Mobile Mastery Masterful tools Three.sentenc.es One increasingly popular manifestation of the Slow Web movement is evident in a number of people adopting the pledge of three.sentenc.es (or its sister sites, five.sentenc.es, four. sentenc.es or two.sentenc.es.) Declaring via an email signature that you will limit your communications to a pre-determined number of sentences is a great way to show your intention towards mobile mastery and encourage others to be more aware of the time and energy being wasted every day as a result of technological mismanagement. Lift Lift aims to help users reach personal goals through daily email reminders and connecting them with others looking for similar achievements. If you’ve always wanted to run a marathon, then Lift can help you stick to your training, and receive real-time encouragement from other people going through the same experience. Other common goals include losing weight, making more time for reading, or saving for a holiday. Lift is a great way to work towards a goal that might seem unattainable and motivate yourself through small yet significant milestones.
    • 49Mobile Mastery Masterful tools Duolingo Lastly, a further example of digital technology helping people to improve themselves is the free collaborative language learning system Duolingo. A beautifully presented in-browser course for teaching yourself to read, write and speak either Spanish, French, Portuguese, German, Italian, or English, the really striking feature of Duolingo comes from its collaborative gamification system, which transposes the learning experience into a competitive video-game. Users score points by answering questions correctly, lose lives when they make mistakes, and ‘level up’ by hitting pre-defined milestones, such as learning the names of the months or passing a test on the future tense. There’s also a weekly leaderboard so you can keep track of your friends’ progress and get a little competitive. Perhaps the most interesting feature of all is the fact that as users move through the language course and provide feedback, they are in turn helping to build the course for their linguistic counterparts - if you speak English and study French, your answers can eventually become a part of the English course for French speaking students (and vice versa).
    • 50Mobile Mastery Title of section
    • 51Mobile Mastery Conclusion Everyone is getting to grips with how they work with mobile. It is something we need to discuss and collaborate on with our colleagues. We’ll master mobile faster and more efficiently if we undertake the process together, and share our failures, successes and realisations. In our next book in this series, Teams That Flow, we will be looking at how teams work in the mobile , connected age. To hear more about Nokia’s work in this area, take a look at: @NokiaAtWork www.linkedin.com/company/nokia  www.nokia.com/business  Thanks for reading Mobile Mastery, we hope that you’ve found it useful. We wrote this book because we want to make you think about your relationship with and use of technology. We want you to question whether you’re doing all you can to make the most of the opportunities technology offers and avoid the dangers it poses, and ask yourself if you can legitimately call yourself a mobile master. Whether you think you’ve reached mobile mastery or think you have a way still to go, it’s important to keep thinking about the issues raised in this book. Try not to think of mastery as a fixed point at which we can arrive and rest - technology will always continue to evolve, so we need to carry on learning and refining our skills, and practicing mindfulness, purposefulness and playfulness in new ways. Conclusion: becoming masterful
    • 52Mobile Mastery Reading list Stuart Brown, Play: How It Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul Nicholas Carr, ‘Is Google Making Us Stupid?’, The Atlantic http://nokia.ly/12NCJUH Michael Chui, James Manyika, Jacques Bughin, Richard Dobbs, Charles Roxburgh, Hugo Sarrazin, Geoffrey Sands and Magdalena Westergren, The social economy: Unlocking value and productivity through social technologies, http://nokia.ly/15s1iVv Cathy N Davidson, Now You See It: How The Brain Science Of Attention Will Transform The Way We Live, Work and Learn Dr. Theo L. Dawson, ‘Metacogniton and learning in adulthood’, LECTICA, http://nokia.ly/12NCkSd EL Garland, ‘The meaning of mindfulness: A second-order cybernetics of stress, metacognition, and coping’, Complementary Health Practice Review. N Katherine Hayles, Hyper and Deep Attention:  The Generational Divide in Cognitive Modes, http://nokia.ly/15s08tf Mat Honan, ‘Twitter’s Big Challenge’, Wired, http://nokia.ly/12NDyg5 Rachel James, Q&A: Linda Stone, former tech exec, on conscious computing, http://nokia.ly/12NCGYP Reading list
    • 53Mobile Mastery Reading list Jon Kabat-Zinn, Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation for Everyday Life Peretz Lavie, The Enchanted World of Sleep Marc Prensky, Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants http://nokia.ly/15rZSuj Howard Rheingold, Net Smart: How To Thrive Online. Dr David Rock, Your Brain At Work Dr David Rock and Dr Daniel Siegel, The Healthy Mind Platter, http://nokia.ly/12NDRHH Everett Rodgers, Diffusion of Innovations Douglas Ruskhoff, Present Shock: When Everything Happens Now Greg Satell, ‘The Infinite Monkey Theorem’, Creativity Post http://nokia.ly/15s0VKL Evan Selinger, ‘The Technologically Enhanced Memory,’ Slate http://nokia.ly/12NCVDc Tiffany Shlain, ‘Tech’s best Feature: the Off Switch’, Harvard Business Review http://nokia.ly/16VRbKZ Betsy Sparrow, Jenny Liu, Daniel M Wenger, ‘Google Effects on Memory: Cognitive Consequences of Having Information at Our Fingertips’, http://nokia.ly/15s0sYU The Slow Web: A Manifesto, http://nokia.ly/15s1rZ6
    • #smartereveryday @nokiaatwork