Changing behaviours

I’m an ‘everything in its place’ kind of person. I don’t have a great memory as such, but I tend to know where things are because they tend to be where I always put them. In particular, my phone, wallet, keys and loose change (and rubber bands, but that’s for another post).

They live in my trouser pockets. Phone front left. Wallet back left. Keys and lose change back right. And the space left front right is now empty after giving up (again) on carrying a compact camera.

Because I know where they are, I do routine status checks which consist of quickly patting and tapping below my hips until I’m confident that each object is safe and accounted for.

When I stopped carrying the compact, I went through a short withdrawal period. A moment of panic when ‘tap tap’ on the front right pocket revealed a missing trouser resident. “Where is it!? Oh, yeah”.

Over it now, but I don’t like the space that’s left. I also don’t like sitting on my keys. So, I’m trying to change my key pocket from back right to front right and it’s hard. Really oddly and surprisingly hard.

Panicked moments occur frequently and within minutes of each other. Leaving home, where are they, oh yeah. Unlock bike locks. Leave house, lock door, where are they, oh yeah. Get to Reilly Rocket, lock bike, where are they, oh yeah, and so on.

The only panic-less moments are when I find them back in the back pocket, after forgetting within 30 seconds of pulling them out the front, that they need to go back in there. Habit takes over my plans and reverts to unconscious practices.

It’s reminding me and making me appreciate how hard it is to design a new service, or to attempt to win someone over from one thing to another.

Twitter, Facebook and now Instagram clones that crop up and try to beat the giants are faced with the hurdle of getting people off their old network, out of their habits and into creating new ones in a new domain. Hard. See Path, who seem to me to have been struggling with this for years now.

Must look more into psychology and therapy techniques of breaking habits. Reckon there are some good design insights in there. In fact I’ve long through that a background or history of study in those areas makes for the best sort of designers. See Nat Hunter. Also Dan Howells

Post notes: People that put their phones / wallet and keys in different places every time (and so lose them) How do they not adopt habits? People that put their pocket stuff on pub tables despite having heard 101 stories of stuff being stolen from pubs. How does that not fill them with fear. Why isn’t everyone just crazy paranoid all the time like me! Why people! :)

Talk to Nat and Dan. What other secrets do they know?