Welcome to this week's episode of The Freedom Fridays podcast where I have a guest who's been on before. And now it just feels so important to have Dr. Kristy Goodwin on the podcast today. Hi, Kristy, how are you?
Great. Great to be here. Thank you for this opportunity.
You're welcome. And just for the listeners, Kristy and I probably live about 100 metres from each other, but have actually never met physically, but we've just connected. Kristy knows friends of my friends, for friends, and so on. So we're probably only one degree of separation.
Literally, and metaphorically.
Metaphorically. So Kristy, one of the reasons I wanted to get you on the podcast was, rather than me asking you a big open question, I've, I'm going to give you the question, and it's old, this idea that we're screens and digital has become ubiquitous in our lives. And you have written a book called "Dear Digital, We Have To Talk". I'm going dive into some of that. But for me, the connection between Freedom Fridays is this, most of us are probably seeking some freedom from our digital addiction, let's call it that. And I'm going to ask you some things about that. First of all, before we even dive into that, I'm interested, would you just share, how did you come to this place? How did you get interested? Did you fall into it? Were you a computer geek when you were two? How did you get into this?
No, I was a real digital like Luddite. I finished university and I made one PowerPoint presentation in my entire four years of undergraduate study. And in postgraduate study, I did the bare minimum could manage a Word document and some Endnotes when I was doing a thesis. I was a teacher, originally, and then I became an academic. And my research was really interested in how technology was impacting our kids and teens. So my initial career was spent as firstly a teacher turned academic and then as a speaker, and somebody who was studying the impact that technology was having on kids and teens. And I think for years, many of us as adults have wagged the finger at young people, who I refer to as screenagers, and said, they're addicted, they can't put it down. And I think as adults, we failed to look in the mirror and examine our digital habits. And we often as adults justify our digital dependencies, our digital reliance saying we need it for work, or I'm ordering the groceries or I'm paying a bill. But I think the harsh reality is that over time, we as adults have developed some unhealthy, unsustainable digital habits. And it really was the catalyst for me writing this book was an accident that I had with my son, who was about 15 months at the time, I became so digitally distracted, I opened the lid on my laptop to send one email, but I don't know if this happens to you, Pete. But you see that awful, bold red icon declaring you know, you've got 144 unread emails, and I went into the digital vortex. I wasn't supervising my son and my son fell off the lounge, face first onto the floor requiring urgent hospitalisation. And I realised at that point in time, even though I was somebody who was supposed to be an expert, somebody who researches and studies how technology is impacting kids and teens, I realised that as an adult, I wasn't immune to the digital pool. You know, I get sucked into the digital vortex. I went into sort of triage that avalanche of emails, and I became so distracted, that I didn't watch my son. And that really was the catalyst for me to say, hang on, all of us are struggling with this. And as adults. I think in the last few years, given distributed work teams that we now have hybrid work, we have become even more digitally dependent than we have ever been professionally and personally. And I am worried as you said in the intro, we've become slaves to our screens. I don't think we control the technology. If I'm really honest, I think in many instances, technology controls us. We salivate like Pavlov's dogs every time we get an email notification or an alert on our phone like we we can't switch it off. We're taking our phones into the bathroom. You know, there's a name called toilet tweeting. We are just so attached and I think it's having a really detrimental impact.
Now, thank you. I mean, that's all we need to hear, right.
That's a long winded rant.
Has Billy forgiven you?
He has. Billy still to this day though I will confess has a significant pronounced scar on his lip and every day as a mother, it is a tangible reminder of how you know and there's I've even written about technoglect or Maggie Dent talks about digital abandonment, so it's a concrete reminder for me. But to ease my mother's guilt, I want to declare on this podcast that he'd actually split his lip open two weeks earlier when my husband was dutifully supervising him. So please do not think I'm a neglectful mother. On that instance, I certainly was. But I'm just going to suggest that the reason it was such a serious accident was that he was just reopening an existing wound. Go with that narrative with me.
So on that, have you forgiven yourself?
In some ways, yes. And do you know, like I could, I could relive that experience and be grateful, that it wasn't a more dire situation. You know, there are there are situations throughout the world now where children are literally having very serious accidents and fatalities, where parents have been digitally distracted. So I am grateful from the perspective that it was serious enough to basically shake me by the shoulders and use that as a catalyst. You know, for so long, I've been fixated on how technology was impacting our kids and teens, and I hadn't even examined my digital habits. So I've used it more or less as the impetus to say this is an issue facing all of us. I often say none of us are immune to the digital pull, you know, we all get drawn or sucked into that digital vortex. And it's not all our fault. I really want to point that out. There's nothing wrong with you, you're not probably necessarily clinically addicted. But we all get drawn in. And I think that, for me, has been the opportunity to say, can we do better? What can we do to take back control of tech so we're not slaves to the screen?
Yeah. Well, well, I'm glad you no longer feel as guilty because I get the kind of parental thing. And I'd be exactly the same in the world that I exist in and all the stuff that I've read, you know, I'm meant to know better. You're meant to know better, right? It's definitely the cobbler's shoes. I still feel demotivated, sometimes. I still go, oh, I can't be bothered. And you should, and it becomes a bit of a double-edged sword. I then beat myself up more, because I'm meant to know better.
Yeah, yeah, I live by Maya Angelou's saying that when you know better, you do better. And for me, it was enough of a serious accident for me to say I need to do better. Like I now know the dire implications firsthand, because it's one thing to talk about something. There's one thing to read research and science or to hear a news report. But until you've had that tangible lived experience, where it literally is that shaking of the shoulders to say, Come on, like you're not going to get a second chance, perhaps next time. We I think just need to use this as an opportunity to question I think you we don't have to change everything, but at least question the role that tech is having in our lives and whether it's serving us or enslaving us.
So it sounds like you had a bit of a 21st Whisper then. Yeah, I did.
I did. It became so much a little bit more than a whisper at times. Yeah, yeah.
So your book, Dear Digital, We Need to Talk, which is a great title. I love the title. And what it made me think of though is some of us might have experienced relationships in the past where we go, Kristy, we need to talk. It's not you. It's me. But really, it's you. But I'm saying it's me, because I don't want you to feel bad and all that. That's referencing as we need to talk digital becuase it's you, but really, it's me. I think
It's a bit of both. And the reality is, you know, the reason that we do get drawn into the online world is that there are some very persuasive design techniques that tech companies have deployed. And we've been quick again, to point the finger and criticise social media companies. You know, the infinite scroll that traps us into something that I call the state of insufficiency. You know, the use of the red, you know, a red notification bubble is a psychological trigger for urgency and importance. The fact you get a metric declaring how many teams notifications, you've got to triage or how many unread emails. You know, they're all very clever design techniques that draw us in. So in part, it definitely is the fault of technology. And I don't think we should deflect that responsibility. But it's also our professional use of technology. You know, Teams, Slack, emails, again really persuasive techniques that draw us in. But the other part of the equation and this is really where I want to empower people to say, yes, we can lament the fact that technology is appealing, that it's addictive that it draws us in. But what's within our locus of control? What can we do to tame our tech habits? And that's where I want to try and shift the dialogue and say, there are and in the book, what I share was what I call a menu of micro habits. There are small little adjustments that we can all do to take back that control and to certainly use it's not a book that says do a digital detox. It's not a book that says break up with email or cancel your Netflix subscription. It's all about how can we use it but use it in ways that works for us rather than against us. So it's a little bit of both. I'm blaming the tech but also saying, Come on, let's step up to the plate and take some responsibility as well.
And I know it's not lost on you, it's certainly not lost on me. And you've mentioned this in your book. Which we will reference in the show notes for anyone that's interested and thoroughly recommend people buy 10 copies and give it to 9 of your best friends and dog ear your one. It's not lost on both of us, that we're actually doing this digitally.
Yes, absolutely. And that's, you know, I think that technology plays a really pivotal role in our lives. And whether we love it or loathe it, it's here to stay. You know, we're not going to take back the internet, we're not going to give up social media, we're not going to go back, you know, to ringing somebody's secretary to organise a meeting. I mean, life has moved on, life is different. And it can be a really incredible thing. So it's not a book that demonises technology, I couldn't do the work that I do without it. But it's all about saying, let's use it in sustainable ways, because I believe, and we are seeing this rates of burnout, rates of stress and exhaustion are through the roof at the moment. And unfortunately, Australians are leading the globe in terms of rates of burnout at both an employee and manager level. This is a huge problem. And I believe one of the chief, and it's certainly not the only reason, but one of the chief contributing factors to depletion, our stress, our exhaustion and burnout, is that we're using technology in ways that are completely incongruent with how we're designed as humans. Yeah. And that's the crux of the book. It's just saying, look, this is what's happening. This is what we can do to try and rectify the situation.
There was an article on BBC Work Life, which has got some interesting articles and videos, posing the question when I know what the question is designed to get us to read the article. And what it said was is it even possible to digital detox anymore? Right, given what you said how ubiquitous it is, and it referenced the Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, who took a 10 day retreat and digitally detoxed for 10 days. Well, good on him. I can't afford that. I'm not sure you can, with schools and this that and keeping in touch at the moment. And you know, there's obviously many, many benefits to it. And yet the full detox is actually reassuring to hear you say, that's not what you're suggesting. It's not like, you know, just give it all up.
Yeah, and I think if anything, that story illustrated, I'm familiar with the story illustrated the privileged position of those people who espouse to a digital detox. For most of us mere mortals, we do not have the luxury of a massive team of people who can pick up the slack. You know, as a small business owner myself, if I was to go offline for 10 days, I would either have to do copious quantities of work before I left for that 10 days, and there'd be a certainly a catch up period afterwards. But the other thing that's important to note is that not only is it a privileged position to do a detox, but the research actually tells us they don't work. They don't create long term sustainable change. It's a bit like a juice detox or a detox that people do. There's almost a yo-yo effect. It creates almost like a binge and a purge cycle. So we go offline, and then we come back, and we have to catch up on the extra emails and the extra Teams messages. So it doesn't create sustainable change. What the research is telling us is that if we try to reduce or crowd out our excessive use of technology, then that can have long term sustainable habits and long term sustainable changes, as opposed to just doing a blanket detox or removing it completely.
Yeah, absolutely. Obviously, in my domain, I'm speaking more about which I think there's an obvious connection here, you know, mindset, leadership, comms, teams, and ask people about, you know, how long does it take to create a habit, or even a new habit? Because they're more familiar with that term. And it's amazing the answers you get in terms of Oh, it's 21 days. Oh no, I think BJ Fogg - it's 66 to 210. And I kind of go yep. Well, here's the answer. The good news and the bad news is it takes forever. Everyone's face drops. What forever?!?!
Take brushing your teeth as an example, right, it's a habit you probably do right. If you stopped doing it you lose the habit. So how long do you keep brushing your teeth for? Ah, forever??? But yeah, that's what you do anyway. Just that realisation that it's not a task, right, once i've got the habit I can set and forget. And not yet, but I do want to get into GPT stuff in a second. It's just going to get more and more and more and more. So we have to find ways I think of doing this as you've said, intentionally, forever. And that's a really long time. And it is.
Yeah, it's it's, it's complicated like it. It really is. And it's as humans I often say when not that complicated. We have some basic neurobiological needs, you know, we need to sleep we need to move we need to connect. We need some, you know, sunlight. There are some basic biological needs that we have. But what's happening is that our relationship with technology is impacting all of those biological needs. And that's why I think we're seeing some of these changes. And that is also why these habits are hard to break. If I if I was to say the one reason we find creating good digital habits, or I refer to them as our digital guardrails. The reason that so many of us struggle to, you know, will often go off with good intentions, you know, I'm not going to check social media first thing in the morning. Or I'm going to have a digital bedtime, and I'm not going to check devices at night. But I think the one of the chief reasons why it creeps back in and those unhealthy habits come back in is because technology, professional and personal use of technology, has been designed to meet our most basic human psychological need. We are biologically designed to connect and belong. And let's face it, that's what technology does, whether it's good or bad. You know, this is why social media has become so incredibly popular. For parents listening this is why multiplayer video games, group chats and social media plays a pivotal role in your young person's life. This is why we can't go on holidays and go laptopless as adults, because we feel like we've just got to check out emails. Now a study came out at the end of last year published by Slack that said that the vast majority of adults who were taking annual leave over the summer period, last year, we're planning on still checking emails, because the thought of coming back to work with a bulging inbox was enough to deter them from not having that that break. So we have to examine these habits and I think do better where we can.
Yeah, without a doubt. It's just it's incredible. It's incredible how smart the technology has become. And ubiquitous and unconscious, and without us even thinking about it. My slight, a parallel thought it's interesting, was basically when he's my son said to me last night, he'd been reading some podcasts. I mean, you'd listen to the Diary of a CEO Stephen Bartlett with Matthew Walker, the sleep guy. Yeah, it's interesting for as far as we can tell that of all of humanity, however long that's been in existence, 60-80,000 years, wherever you read and believe, we still haven't adapted to not need sleep. Yes. It's like, oh, hang on a minute, that's just, that's a bit of a smack in face, yeah we haven't adapted, we still need that basic need. And technology seems to be disrupting that.
It really is. And often, you know, we think many of your listeners would have heard of the impact of blue light, we know, blue light delays, the onset of sleep, basically, what happens is the blue light hits our pineal gland that makes the sleep hormone melatonin. So when we're on a backlit screen, it tricks our brain into thinking it's time to stay awake and alert, it's not time to produce melatonin that will help you fall asleep. So we often find it harder to fall asleep, if we've been on our phones or laptops or smaller sized screens, usually before we go to sleep. But the problem is even amplified now. Because we know that if we've been on a device, roughly in the 60, to even 90 minutes before we go to sleep, even if it doesn't, some people are affected by the delayed onset of sleep, some people have no qualms falling asleep, even if they've been on to device. But what we now know is that it's the quality of their sleep, if they have been on a device in that 60 to 90 minutes before they go to sleep. The duration of their deep and REM sleep stages of the sleep cycle is often much shorter. So if you wear a fitness tracker, you know or an aura ring, something that that tracks your sleep, you may notice this particular trend. Now, this is critical. And you know, as you said at one of our most basic biological needs is sleep. And in the book, I talk about how as humans, we have something I call our HOS, our human operating system, and we are bound by some biological constraints. Unfortunately, as humans, our brains and bodies have not evolved to cope without sleep. They have not evolved to go without human connection and without sunlight and without being physically active, all of these basic needs. But our tech habits, as you said, are really shaping all of these. And the cascading consequences, I believe, are quite pronounced. This is why I think, you know, two things we're really seeing as a result of direct ramification of not getting enough sleep. One is that our capacity to focus and pay attention is diminished. Now, we're quick to say it's the ping of emails and it's the team's notification. Absolutely, they're contributing, but a tired brain cannot focus. I think it's having a huge impact on our focus. And the second byproduct of not getting good quality and or quantity of sleep is that not only does it affect our focus, it has a huge impact on our mental health. We are seeing a real decline in adolescents and adults mental health and I most certainly think that it is our sleep that is a contributing factor to that.
One of the questions I was going to ask you, and this may be the answer to the question I was going to ask you. In your book, you said, we can't outperform our neurobiology. Now, I think I know what that means. But just for our listeners that might not, could you explain what that means? And maybe the last comment was the answer. I'm not sure. Just explain what that means.
Yeah, so I believe that as humans, we have some biological constraints, we have a biological blueprint that we have to adhere to, we have some basic human needs physical and psychological needs, that have to be met in order for us to perform or in order for us basically, to live. And so I think we need to start living in alignment with those neurobiological needs. So what does our brain and our body need, to perform, to achieve, to live? And it's those basic mechanisms, as I've said, connection, sunlight, physical movement, sleep, good quality nutrition, and breathing. But all of those domains are being shaped by screens, even the way we breathe. You may recall Pete in the book, I talk about a condition called email apnea. And it has been scientifically studied that when people go into their inboxes, they hold their breath, they dump a whole lot of cortisol, their heart rate accelerates, their pupils dilate, they are physiologically having a response to checking emails. Even the way we breathe, when we're on our computers and our phones is changed. We should sigh roughly every five minutes as humans. We do it, and we're often unaware that we're doing it while we're awake. It's basically two inhalations through our nose and an exhalation through our mouth. And it's our body's one of our neurobiological control mechanisms, that helps us manage our stress. So it's, and we do this, we should be doing it around every five minutes. Now, I'm not talking about the very melodramatic teenage sigh, that's very overt, you will do this without anyone knowing. But when we're on our devices, we don't say anywhere near as much. What does this tell us? We're in a really heightened stress state. So this is happening in really overt ways, but also really, you know, subliminal and ways that we're not even really conscious of just yet. And so I think what we really need to do is match our HOS, our human operating system, which is that neurobiological need that we have as humans, to how we're going to use technology. That will be our sweet spot. And that's what I'm really passionate about sharing.
And thank you for doing so because it's going to help you know, one parent, one child, one, as you say, screenagers - which is such a lovely term. To understand because I face, I think I, you might be facing the same challenges that I face, in my work with your work is, I'm gooing to guess that you're pretty busy right now? Not just with the launch of the book and all that publicity and publications and stuff. But the rise of everything digital. I'm going guess you're pretty busy. Would that be right?
It is. But I and this may be semantics, but I try not to use the word busy. People often say you're so must be so busy. I say things are full. I have a full calendar, a full heart and full hands. But yes, the truth is things are busy.
I might nick that Kristy.
Go for it. It's a real subtle difference, but it's powerful for me. Because for me busy conjures up, you know, being frantic and out of control. And for me, it's Yeah, but yeah, it's full / busy.
I don't know if you've read anything I've written. 21 Whispers was seven years old last week, and I wrote about seven lessons I've learned and this week, it's seven lessons I haven't learned yet. One of the lessons I learned was when people ask me are you busy? I say I'm making progress. Because not only do they go transderivational search 'Oh, okay, whatever'. But it reminds me, Oh, shit, I need to get busy on the stuff that's important and keep working on the stuff that's really important because if I can't say I'm making progress. So I like that. You know, I've got a full head and a full heart and a full hand. The reason I'm asking, is I'm going to guess that because your diary is full. People are clamouring to have more knowledge about all these digital distractions, all the things that you talk about. I'm interested in, it's a speculative guess I'm asking you to to share here. What do you reckon are the implementation percentages?
So to be honest, and this is where I struggle as an academic who knows how our brains operate, there is something called the forgetting curve and the forgetting curve, brutally tells us that after a Keynote or after a Masterclass or after a Workshop, within about three days, we have retained roughly if we're really good, possibly 30% of the content that we learned. So as somebody who gets invited to deliver a keynote or to deliver an offsite presentation or a one-off masterclass, I have concerns about the long term impact of that because as you said, is it just knowledge or where's the implementation? So we've developed a whole lot of things to account for that. Not from a revenue perspective, but because for me actually taking the knowledge and using it is the real difference. I love getting emails, believe it or not, not all emails, but emails from people or DMS, from people saying, Look, I've tried this and it worked, or I cannot believe how much this made a difference. To me, that lights me up that that's what we have to do. So we have got some other follow up resources that we offer. But the key that I'm seeing at the moment with really forward thinking organisations is that the organisations who I'm doing work with beyond the keynote, so certainly going in and sharing knowledge, but what we're finding is that to create long term sustainable changes, organisations have to establish what I call their digital guardrails. And these are, this is not a policy, this is not a document that sort of lives on your hard drive that no one ever refers to. This is a co establish, so it's co created across a team or across an organisation. But these are the digital norms, practices and principles that underpin how we will use the plethora of digital tools that are now integral to hybrid, remote, new ways of working. So this is coming up with some parameters around, you know, do we have cameras on or cameras off on video calls? When do you set your focus hours? How quickly do you need to respond to an internal versus external email? Is it okay to send or do you just shedule emails out of hours? Do you have a communication escalation plan so that if there is a time sensitive, urgent critical issue that you need to communicate with your colleagues, what's the one mode through which that will be communicated? And this is where we get traction, because if we have people just listening to a seminar or a keynote and going off on their own and saying, these are some of the habits I want to put in place. It is near impossible to embed those habits when your leader is emailing you at three o'clock on a Sunday, when your colleagues are sending the team's chats at 11 o'clock at night, and everybody's replying. And so coming up with these co-established guardrails, I believe is the critical point of difference. Some people are calling them team agreements, some are calling them sort of a digital charter. I don't mind what you call them, so long as your organisation creates them. And it's not something that the HR team develops. It's not something that the CIO develops and pushes out. It has to be co established across the organisation, and we need leaders to implement it. That's the really critical point of difference. So it will will result in change, if we do that, along with the keynotes and the workshops, I believe.
I believe that too, and it's it's a theme in my work, and it's frustrating as hell. When you get insight in the room and they go Pete, Kristy, that's wonderful! And six months later, or a year, I've kind of fallen off the wagon a bit. More of a philosophical question, then, I've noticed, you know, a chap called Alex Hormozi, he's a pretty well known global marketeer. One of the tweets that he put out recently was, "We don't have information overload? We have implementation underload". Which is exactly what you and I are talking about. Philosophically, and, you know, I'm interested in what you think here. Why do you think there's more of a clamour to know, than to implement?
I think without a doubt, consuming information is far easier than taking the awkward, clunky, cumbersome steps to actually then go and implement and make change. You know, humans were habitual, we look for the path of least resistance. And if that embedded, albeit unhealthy habit, has the entrenched pathway we stick to that. I think the other reason is that we now have and I would counter the argument, we don't have too much information I think we do. In the book, I talk about Infobesity. And it's this idea that we - it's a good term, isn't it? We are being constantly digitally bombarded with information and the part of our brain, the hippocampus, that's basically our memory centre, it has not evolved to get any bigger, so we're not actually able to cope with more information. But what's happening today is that we are being presented with really consumable snack sized bits of information. And I think that the artificial intelligence is so accurate now that the Google recommendation algorithm knows exactly what content or what information you would be interested in based on your previous viewing online history. So we're getting served up I think, shorter bits of information, more concise bits of information, but certainly a greater volume of it. But again, I think we're then really crappy in the awkward steps to implement that change.
I would argue that's the same in all aspects of our life, relationships, mindset, parenting, etc, etc, etc. It's almost like we were stuck with the human condition.
Yeah. And we also, as our brains have evolved, like novelty, so we like new things. So if I can hear something, a new twist on something or new podcast or a new TicToc clip or Instagram post, then we crave that that perceived sense, I would challenge whether it really is novelty or whether it's just sort of revamped revised content delivered in a different way. But the online board again, meets that need, because all of a sudden, that's new. Whereas going back to the habit that you know, you should be implementing, but it's probably very monotonous, you're not going to get that sense of novelty and newness that consuming more information would give you so it's a vicious cycle to be honest.
It is. Now, please indulge me. I've been fascinated by this and I'm interested, for someone who's immersed in this, what you think. For those that are listening that haven't - I don't know if you've been living in a box for the last few months, but someone called Chat GPT came out last year. First platform to get a million users like super fast. And in the last couple of weeks, I think it is now Chat GPT 4 which is on the market. Which is our version of artificial intelligence is just extraordinary. And it's only just started. And every time when somebody uses it, it gets better and better and better. So it's, it's limitless. You could argue, I'm interested in first of all, your, do you have a position on it, you have a view on it? Are you excited by it? Are you terrified by it?
And I'll be honest, and say and this is not just to sit on the fence, I'm equal parts excited as I am terrified. From, from a user's perspective, the idea of repurposing content, especially someone who's just written a book, the idea that I could use chat GPT to create a whole lot of social media content without hugely onerous on my time, that really excites me. The fact that it could be a springboard to create content, be that keynote content or a blog post or some research that it could congregate or aggregate, I should say that information, that part excites me. The other part that concerns me is how that information could be misused. You know, especially with students, you know, do we have the critical literacy skills to ascertain what may be perhaps inaccurate information? And given that Chat GPT the algorithm works on the belief of it scans and sources published content. Well, where's the verification process? Where is the credibility and reliability in what it's determining? So from me, that perspective concerns me, but I'm also recognising it's not going to go away. I saw Microsoft last week late last week have released is it Copilot their new workplace AI. Mind blowing what it can potentially do. But again, lack any technology, I often say it's only as good as the person driving it. So I don't think this is going to supersede or replace us as humans, but it's going require, I think, way more critical literacy skills, and a different set of skills that we need to develop as humans because again, we need to take back control of the technology. So for me, it's another tool in the toolkit, but it will not be the only thing I'll be relying on.
Someone I have watched and listened to suggested, things like chat GPT won't take your job. But someone who uses it really well will.
Yeah, I love that. Yeah, great
I loveo that distinction, because it's just a tool, someone who's immersed in it, who knows they use it or not use it is probably going be a significant advantage compared to those that can use any of the technology tools.
Yeah, and like any, yeah, like any tool, it's an amplifier. So if you've got really, you know, if you've got good knowledge if you've got good skills, and this can certainly be a skill skill or a tool that will help you amplify that. But if there's some gaps in your knowledge or some some weaknesses in your skills, without the perception to recognise that I think it could be potentially a dangerous tool, I guess for me, it's the human vetting. We still need to step in and verify and check. For me as somebody who will potentially start using it in her business, it's you know, doesn't have my tone? Have I lost Kristy what this tool has created? So I Yeah, yeah, definitely equal parts exciting and terrified if I'm really honest.
Yeah. Look, I've got a question for you. You might not be able to answer I'm not sure I am worried about this for me. But even more so for my kids and you know, the kids that they come through. Almost at the end of every tweet or every recommendation is DYOR, do your own research. Now I get that. But where do I go because of Chat GPT 4 of deep think videos. How can I possibly, I'm not skilled enough to know whether this is the real Kristy on screen now that I'm chatting to you or is it a robot. We do you go to DYOR?
I don't know if I've got the answer. That's something I have also been pondering. My oldest son has just started high school and the type of rigour the academic rigour behind his assessments is is intense. And for him, you know, everything's Googleable. Like, Google has become a verb, I'll just Google it. And for me, it's saying, hang on, how do we know this is a trustworthy source? And I think this is going to become much harder. I don't have an answer for this. This is something for me, as a researcher, I'm still lucky enough to have access to peer reviewed journal articles. And, you know, trusted, although they're online now, but that which is great, but trusted sources. Kids at a definitely in a in a school setting, aren't necessarily even going to have access to journal articles where that verification processes is. So I don't know what the answer is there. How do we teach kids? You know, even URLs are easy to doctor these days. And this is why we've got so many scams from our perceived government agencies and banks, because it's so easy to clone a URL and do these sorts of tricks. So I don't know if I have an answer there. It is something I think schools are going to have to question and something that universities most certainly are grappling with at the moment.
Yeah. It's interesting, you know, we I think we must have mentioned this last time, I was a teacher as well and I probably still am in some degree, which you probably are, to some degree. I think about a lot of the responses from the schools and the universities right now, which is a little bit to help interrupt. What's happening is we're going to ban it, we're going to ban GPT 4. And yet, the kids will be using an outside school anyway. Yeah, somebody will be using it. It's a bit like, you know, the HSC in Australia for for six years of high school, they do computer generated tasks and essays, and then they write for the exam. It's ridiculous. So where was it going with this? I'm interested, if you again, philosophical question, with the doubling, and obviously, the acceleration of artificial intelligence. I don't know if this was real or not, but it feels like it was real. Somebody advertised for a kill switch engineer, for GPT 4. Meaning somebody just sit on the sidelines, just in case the day comes when it becomes sentient. And it becomes more intelligent than the humans just switch the whole damn thing off. Always, even if it's just a meme, that's a bloody, very worthwhile meme. Because that could be, you know, worse things could have happened. Do you believe that's possible? Could the machines become sentient?
I think it's possible, I wouldn't doubt. I think this technology is growing and evolving at such rapid rates. That it will not surprise me if we get to a point soon. But again, this is why I think that we can't let the technology control us we have to, I think have some human interaction, we need some human vetting. We need to put in place some controls and mechanisms. So we don't lose touch of what it's like to be humans and have the tech dictate and determine you know, we're seeing this with young people with the rise of instant video platforms like TikTok. The reason they've become so popular is that the algorithm knows precisely what content those individual users will be interested in. So they get served up bespoke content based on their viewing history based on their socio demographic profile. So it's certainly on the cusp of already being possibly more intelligent than what we are. But again, I think we need to put some controls and mechanisms in place. So it doesn't take over how we do that. I don't know. Please didn't ask me that question.
Yeah, let me let me make that a little bit lighter, though, and come back up a little bit. Are you familiar with the one sec app?
I hadn't come across it before. But just as I was reading your book, I did a little bit of research, and I haven't explored it. So I'd be interested in what you think. So One Sec is an app that you can use, probably you have to pay for it. It's probably a free version, you pay for it, where it can attach to any of your social media platforms, or any website. And the minute you click on Facebook, TicToc, it comes up with take a second, breathe. And you can prompt what you want to do before you dive into the app.
Oh, I like it.
Which I thought was brilliant.
I like, no I'd not heard it.
You can do you want to do this? Do you really want to do this? Or are you just bored? Do you really want to? So it gives you this momentary pause, you know the, the space between the event and the response. Yes. And I hadn't come across it before. I just wonder if you'd come across it.
I haven't. But I do love that because one of the things I talk about in the book is how technologies become frictionless. It's so easy for us, you know, not even, we don't even have to enter a passcode. Now, if you've got facial recognition, you can hold your phone up and off, you go into the digital vortex. So I've been talking about creating more friction, you know, how can we put some intermediary steps in so we don't just sort of, you know, we unlock our phone to make a phone call, or check the weather, but we go down and check our emails, we check a sports report, or we go off checking social media, and it's so easy, it's such a slippery slope. So I really like that idea of encouraging us, you know, to, I guess it's almost like a psychological nudge, saying, Do you really want to do this? Yes, Hugh van Cuylenburg from the Resilience Project talks about putting apps in a folder on your phone. So you take temptations, I often say put them off, take them off your home screen, you know, don't have your digital weaknesses on that pole position on the home screen of your phone. Hugh suggests taking it one step further and putting them in a folder, possibly five screens across and calling it 'Things I'll Later Regret'. So every time you go into TikTok, or Snapchat or whatever your weakness is your digital Achilles heel, you get that pang of guilt. I think One Sec would have a similar effect, but again, without those other intermediary steps that we might need. So I like it. I'm going to have a look at that after we've talked today.
Okay. Got it.
I just thought was a great example of just that psychological nudge. That prompt goes back conscious go. No, I don't need to do this. And I'm guilty of this massively. We've forgotten how to be bored. Ah, yes. There is a reference in your book this something we're more we're more likely to administer a shot to ourselves than be with our own thoughts.
Yeah, yeah. Yeah, well, being idle with our thoughts, I believe is absolutely critical. This is where idea ideation happens. This is where we solve complex problems, you know, I don't know about up but I have never come up with a great idea in my Excel spreadsheet or in my inbox, my great ideas come when I'm swimming. When I'm going for a run when I'm on holidays with no Wi Fi when I'm floating in the ocean. And we enter what neuroscientists called the default mode network, we daydream. But we have become so accustomed to filling every bit of white space with our screens, you know, we wait for our coffee, and we pick up our phones, we wait for our kids out the front of school and we pick up our phones, we wait in the doctor's surgery. So those pockets of white space that we used to have, where we let our mind meander where we daydream, we now fill that void all the time. And the study you're referring to had adults sit in a room and say, Look, just be bored for 10 to 15 minutes, they had to prematurely end the study, because the adults showed signs of psychological distress. They couldn't handle being bored for 15 minutes. They went back to their ethics committee and said, looking iteration two, could we give the adult participants the option of self administering a an electric shock in lieu of being bored, and it was 67% of males and 24-25% of females gave themselves an electric shock in lieu of being bored. We have literally lost the art of being bored as humans. And I think it's not only critical for ideation and problem solving, it's critical for our well being. And for young people, I think this problem is even more amplified. Because how do you know what excites you what terrifies you what interests you, if you are never alone, with yourself? I just this is, I think, a really important skill that we have to cultivate.
When you express it like that, Kristy, it's making me feel a little bit overwhelmed. And that's such a mountain to climb, you know, not just in our jobs. But as husbands and wives and sons and daughters and mothers and fathers and mates and colleagues that are jeese, there's just so much pushing against what we intuitively know, is not the human thing. It's not connection. It's not bringing us closer. We're always someone said to me, we're not the exact that we were closer but further away than we've ever been before.
Yeah, I often use that the analogy that we're connected, but we're disconnected. We're now together, but alone. And that in and as I keep saying you know it's not going away it is here to stay. So how can we harness it? You know it today we the positive potential is that you and I can have this conversation although we could have done it in a coffee shop, but no one would have had the opportunity to listen to it except for the people nearby. This is where I think we need to say well, what can we do? What are the benefits? What are the affordances? What are the rich opportunities? How can we capitalise on those but at the same time, how can we mitigate the pitfalls what can we put in place to stop us using the tech in a really detrimental way because I believe all tech, whether it's professional or personal tech has been engineered, in many instances, not all, but in many instances to rob us of our two most important resources as humans, our time and our attention. And we don't get either of those things back. And so like, I am just, I'm really passionate. I hope this comes across about us finding realistic solutions that allow us to certainly use the tech but do so in a way that will help us rather than harm us. Because I don't want us to get to the end of our life and look back and think, oh, you know, I was tethered to my phone all of the time, I wished I'd spent less time on social media, I wished I'd been more connected with my partner with my ageing parents with my kids. And I think we're going to start seeing that I think we will we already are, I share a little story in the book.
Yeah, many people mask it. Yeah. Many people mask it. Kristy, two questions. One little bit of a confession if you're happy to share. Given all you know, what's a digital habit you've managed to change? Right, that was kind of harmful, but also what's one that you haven't yet been able to change if you're willing to share?
Okay, so I'll start with the one I'm not really good at because people will call me out on it. So I talk about trying not to book end their day with technology. Now I'm really good. In the morning, I've got a really great morning routine. I'm an early bird. So I'm up early, and it's as a mum of three, three boys, I've fiercely protect my morning routine, it's my sanctuary, my mental respite. So I really don't have many qualms avoiding tech first thing in the morning. I will admit my Achilles heel is still using technology at night. Now. It's I try to switch off at least half an hour, 45 minutes, I know it should be an hour. But I'm still the person and I justify it under the guise of work, you know, I need to check social media because I think I posted something or sheduled something today, or I've got to check emails because I don't have anyone maning my inbox, and there could be something of urgency. So I try if I am going to fail at my own rules, I try to wear blue light blocking glasses, I try and do something restorative afterwards. And I also don't beat myself up knowing I'm not perfect at this. So that's definitely a failing, the biggest thing that's had the most monumental impact on my life was determining my Chrono type. So our Chrono type is our biologically determined pattern of when we're most alert and focused in the day. And it also sort of dictates when we naturally would want to fall asleep. So we usually fall into three categories. I'm the early bird, I am the lion, I'm up early, I fire on all cylinders. I have tried where possible. And again, I don't get this right all the time. And none of my days are sort of a perfect embodiment of what this should look like. But where possible, I try to structure my day given that I'm mentally prime in the earlier hours of the day. So I get up, I have my morning routine, I do a tiny bit of work before I do some exercise. And then those first few hours. Once I've got kids to school and childcare, I try to fiercely build a fortress around my focus. I try not to have alerts and notifications, disabled alerts and notifications. I fiercely protect my calendar. So I'm not having meetings early on in the morning if I can avoid it. So trying to structure my day and building that fortress around my focus, not for the whole day. But during those sort of prime times. Other people are bears and their energy peaks at a different time. And some people are wolves, they're the night owls. So figuring out your Chrono type and then being diligent about eliminating as many distractions as possible. And structuring. I call it the contours of your day to work with your chronotype has been a game changer.
I noticed you're you're almost a bit like Mark Wahlberg, who I believe gets up at 230 in the morning. At the back of your book is fascinating. I'm wondering how many days a week a month are actually like that. But I thought it was a great example. For those that are interested. You've got to get the book to find out.
I'm impressed with that analogy map all but I don't look like Mark Wahlberg. And I'm not quite to 2:30 I will say I'm not quite 2:30. But yeah, and the reason I included that, you know, I I actually left that part of the book out. And it came to me and I contacted the publisher at the very last minute saying I want to include a realistic example. Because people need to see what this really looks like, you know, I'm a mum to three young children and I have tried to build a business that works for me and my stage of life as best I can around that. And so I just wanted to provide a concrete example, so that people have got something to sink their teeth into or hook on to so that we can say, Look, my day won't look like this. And to be honest, my day doesn't always look like that.
Reading it giggling saying yeah, not every day, I'm sure.
Definitely not every day but where I can. That's sort of the goal I'm aiming towards and they're the habits that I know will work for me and my context. And I think that's the trick. If we want to make habits stick, we have to figure out what's attainable. And what we will realistically stick to given our context, our you know, even your work responsibilities. For some people not being contactable early in the morning could be diabolical, if your role is contingent upon, you know, maybe your customer service role. So, there are some nuances, but I think it's important to give people some sort of scaffold.
I agree, Kristy, I'm assuming if people are interested in understanding more about chronic types, there's some resources on your website that we can point them to if they're interested. If they're a bear, lion or dolphin, and what's the other one? Bear, Lion, Dolphin and Wolf. If you purchase the book you get a whole lot of resources.
Yeah, if you're listening by the book, you can save someone's like, I'm not kidding, you could save someone's like, Kristy, I'm really conscious of time. I could keep talking about this forever. But I'm conscious of your time. Maybe the last question for me, there may be some lightness to finish. I could ask this question in any context. And I know you've said in your book, you've got 36 Micro habits. I'm gooing to ask it in the context of a small business owner, right? Because that's kind of the context we've connected with so far, I could ask it as a husband, as a father, as a son as a maid in any different context. So I know the answers might be different. But I'd be interested in your views as a small business owner, what would be the top three micro habits that I could deploy that you think make the biggest difference for my business?
I think definitely determining your team or teams, dominant Chrono type, so structuring your team's cadences around that. So if you've got mainly people who are early birds, they fire on all cylinders in the morning, then avoid having team meetings in that stage of the day. So determining dominant Chrono types and work rhythms. I think the second strategy is managing notifications, notifications, stress our brains and put a massive dent in productivity. And they're rife. Today, it's not just email notifications. Today, it's teams or slack notifications, it's calendar reminders. So my three golden rules with notifications is 1) turn off all non essential notifications, 2) bundle or batch your notifications, you can nominate what time or times of the day you want your team's notifications or your whatsapp notifications coming to you rather than them dribbling in. And 3) is to create VIP lists. So when you put on focus mode, or Do Not Disturb mode, everybody else gets blocked, apart from those critical people on your Do Not Disturb list. And my third one, it's kind of related to the other two is to not nibble on our inboxes throughout the day. Research tells us and again, there are nuances here and depending on your role, but for most knowledge workers, we should only be checking emails two to four times per day. That's what the research tells us is sort of an optimal amount to sort of counteract that FOMO that we struggle with, you know, what am I missing out on, but also to stop the constantly being distracted by it. So they would be my top three Chrono type, notifications and emails two to four times a day.
Thank you. I have have implemented the second two, which is pretty good. I felt for the benefit of that. I do have another question. Was there anything you kept out of the book because it was too edgy?
Oh, that's I have not been asked that. I don't think I did. I might the publisher was very receptive to what I included. I don't think there was anything there were there were things cut out just because of volume, not because it was too controversial. As any author knows, it's the bane of your existence. What you think is really important when you start to cull things falls by the wayside. No, I don't I don't think then there was they were quite receptive to what I wanted to include. So I'm going to say no, unfortunately, that's a boring answer.
Maybe book number two, possibly. Kristy, thank you so much. I feel very privileged and humbled that I get the chance to chat to you one on one, right. You know, we can probably bump into each other down the local village shots but professionally I get the chance to do this because being selfish in terms of it has a big impact on me and I know it's got a big impact on the people you speak with the people I speak with and not just our immediate family and friends which are dear to us both. But this digital. I don't know what the right word is. Ubiquitousness is it's, it's a blessing and mainly a curse. And we're all we're coming at it from a different perspective. And I'm so grateful that you've one written the book. If you're listening and you're watching, get the book, right by 10. Give it to nine other people. Thank you so much for your time and your insights. It's been a pleasure yet again, speaking to you. And good luck with your nap in the afternoon.
Thank you. I'm looking forward to it happening today. I appreciate your time and you're very kind words, Pete. Thank you.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai