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Controlling my connectivity

I came across this fantastic article (via @garydstratton through #phdchat) about a professor in the US who challenged his students, in exchange for extra credit, to give up their smartphones for 5 days. Their reactions are fascinating:

http://chronicle.com/article/Thoreaus-Cellphone-Experiment/125962/

I am only 29 so whilst not born into the internet generation it has been with me since my late teens. I am not as connected as some of my peers – I have a basic phone which I can’t email/social network from and I have only recently joined twitter. I don’t listen to music when I am out an about because I like interacting with and learning from the world around me (I am a social sciences PhD student after all!). I like to think that I am in control of my connectivity…

But, reading about this experiment has encouraged me to reflect on this assumption. I get into work in the morning and the first thing I do is check work email, yahoo mail, university email, facebook and twitter. I have them open all day in case anything “happens”. I get home from work after travelling for 1 ½ hours and the first thing I do is switch on my laptop to check my email, facebook and twitter. On top of this I keep thinking about getting an iphone so that I can do all of these things on the move.

Why? Am I afraid of missing something? I am so keen to get home to my partner in the evening so why do I greet him and then look straight toward my connection with the world outside home? I know that I enjoy life more when I am not connected to the internet…it’s not like I don’t have plenty to do!

So, I am going to take back control of my connectivity. I’m not sure I want to/can go cold turkey from everything but facebook can go for a start and my twitter usage (which I find useful for my research) shall be 15 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes at lunch and no more. As for email…I might need a bit more time with that one!

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Creative recognition

Monetary bonuses are commonplace in many workplaces. The argument about whether or not they have a positive impact on motivation is not one that is likely to be settled soon. It is my belief that they can help to give short-term bursts of motivation but the risk is that, in the long-term, employee’s attention is focused toward gaining their financial reward and not towards the value of the work itself. Wouldn’t we all rather have employees who are motivated because they care about what they are doing and want the company to be a success than a bunch of people thinking about their bonus at the end of the year?

That’s not to say that all bonuses have the same impact – giving unexpected rewards or recognition has been shown to have a positive impact on motivation because it is a form of positive feedback whilst not directing the individual’s focus toward the reward itself (they don’t know it’s coming!).

As part of my research I want to explore how different forms of one-off recognition award impact on motivation. It could be cold hard cash, extra days’ holiday, retail vouchers, special gifts…

Has anyone come across any interesting or creative forms of one off recognition?

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