The surprising effect of boredom

I’ve spent years trying out all the tools and tips for increasing productivity I could lay my hands on. Hundreds of apps, and services. Tips for sleeping. Hacks for staying focused. They all worked.

Each one increased the number of todos I checked off my lists. At least for a day or two. After that the search was on for whatever could help me improve more. I’m not even sure now if the methods failed as novelty wore off, or if I just got bored and started looking for my next fix.

The problem is that time went by and I wasn’t actually getting anywhere. My todos were demolished but poured in ever faster,and I never really achieved what I wanted.

I had become an efficiency junky.

I’m not sure when the turning point came. But over the last few years my projects are reaching further, quicker. My todo lists shrank, as did my working hours, but my output increased.

What did I spend the rest of my time on? Being bored. Nothing I’ve ever tried has increased my output or my mood as much as being bored. Boredom has a bad reputation, but it seems to focus my mind.

I’ve come to enjoy being bored. Even try to find time to be bored. Not that I enjoy the actual boredom, but I do enjoy the simplicity that comes after it.

Like meditation but without the training. Being bored for a few minutes, by yourself, can make all the difference in a stressful day.

Try it. It’s free.

The next step for Apple

With the launch of the iPhone Apple changed the world of computing forever. Since then Apple has fought a war against Samsung, Google and others over the dominance of the mobile market. But not a lot has really changed.

Android comparison

 

Apple introduced the high pixel density display, Samsung launched larger displays. All the companies have introduced all sorts of bells and whistles to try to catch the interest of the consumer, but to little real effect. The basic model hasn’t changed all that much from the original iPhone.

iphone comparison

Many people are thinking about and desperately trying to predict the next step. Google is launching Glass, a smartphone-like display that sits in the corner of your eye and is controlled by your voice. Most companies are working on watch-like devices based on the rumour that Apple is making one.

That got me thinking, this is an odd assumption. Why should reinventing the market require a new device? The iPhone was certainly not the first phone, nor smartphone. It was just radically smarter then the competition. Instead of launching a new type of device, what if Apple would drastically improve the devices they already have? What could they do?

The next generation: Real Touch

The central feature of the iPhone, and the iPad, is the screen. When Apple added the Retina screen the other companies scoffed and smirked claiming it would only decrease battery life. But after they got their hands on it, the entire market rapidly went with high pixel density displays.

What if Apple would add high density touch displays next? You can still use your finger as a primary pointing device. But also a stylus without lag or stutter. Maybe several people could draw and sketch together on an iPad.

The scoffs and smirks

Very few people will read this and go “wow! What an amazing and novel idea!”. Most will remember the failed styluses of yester-year and think I’ve fallen off the wagon. But what if, just like with the retina screen, there would be no down side to these screens? What if they simple worked as magic paper?

Wacom

Wacom has the technology already. Now it is just a question of price and if Apple believes the market wants this. I say Apple, because even if Samsung and Microsoft could also do this I think their implementation of it would be lacking.

Sneak Peek of Event Monitor

Working long and hard hours, one deserves a hobby. So what does a UX developer do when there’s an hour a night to spare?

Create something.

My latest project is Event Monitor. A dashboard for events and happenings showing beautiful statistics all rendered in SVG (so it works great on any platform).

Please check it out and let me know what you think!

 

The definitive guide to value creation

In my youth I dabbled with dark arts. I thought experimenting wouldn’t hurt, so I tried a little, but little became a lot. My addiction took up all my spare time and heavily impacted my social life. I became alienated by friends and had a hard time talking to people close to me.
That’s how I spent six years studying economics.

Continue reading

The mobile revolution at sime

The first day of SIME, the European tech/startup conference, was a vivid circus of great speakers with great production values. This time in Stockholm.

Sime is a special sort of conference because it is focused on marketing entrepreneurship and creating a forum for entrepreneurs and investors. While similar conferences might slog through technical details while zombie hordes of coffee ingesting listeners try to stay awake, SIME is more about showmanship. Almost every session is 20 minutes or less, even for the big players, and our host, Ola Ahlvarsson, is always on stage pushing things along.

Continue reading

Elisabet Grétarsdóttir explains Gamification at SIME 2011

The last day at SIME, Sweden’s largest digital/web conference in Stockholm, a panel of guests took to the stage to have a panel discussion about gamification.

Gamification is the latest and greatest buzz word in a long line of hype from digital marketing companies. But gamification is different because unlike social media and the like the Gamification concept is loaned from the hugely profitable games industry.

At SIME this year the panel consisted of representatives from World of Horses Online, CCP games and an associate professor from the Stockholm School of Economics. The topic was gamification and was simply introduced as the concept of using mechanics and design from the games industry to market products and services in non entertainment industries.

Elisabet, from CCP games, really gave a show with clear and consice ideas about gamification.
She started off by describing the difference between intrinsic and extrinsic motivators.
An extrinsic motivator, which are mostly used in gamification today, are external rewards given to the player for achieving certain tasks. Such as points to shoot a bird accurately or a badge to check in at a location
An intrinsic motivator is an internal reward the player experiences because he/she achieves something in the context of the game. Internal rewards are feelings based on. Social recognition or completing a challenge.

One of her most memorable quotes was saying she’d like to Gamify the games industry by moving from extrinsic to intrinsic motivators.

Another one was a sharp critique to enforced seriousness while stating a point about humans being playful creatures:

why can we hug at a soccer game but not in the board room?

Elisabet also rocked the end of the panel by giving an example of how she would revolutionize boutique shopping by gamifying a H&M shop into a “minecraft retail experience” to, in her own words, “create a platform for creativity and self expression”.

The audience and the panel alike seemed almost shocked by the simple truths laid out by Elisabet on gamification. I bet that if she has any say, gamification will be less of a buzz word and more of a business strategy from now on.
One can only hope.

PS
I’m writing this on an iPad balanced on my knee while I’m eating so if this post is in shambles, please check back in an hour or so and I’ll try to polish the turd.

Update 1
Robin from the Stockholm School of Economics mailed me an update, apparently I got both her school and her title wrong.. Sorry Robin, keep up the great work!