Why Productivity Isn’t Related to Technology: The Novelty Effect

The novelty effect is described as a boost in the productivity that a human experiences when he encounters a change in the method of doing work. It can be a change in technology or a change in the process.

When the human encounters a change in the pattern of doing some work, it’s noted that he becomes more interested in learning about the new change, and hence, it enhances his productivity.

He starts doing the work with renewed freshness and energy which ultimately leads to heightened activity. For example, a person uses his cell phone to click pictures. He takes regular pictures, but it does not rouse his interest, as the cell phone has become a conventional device to him. Now, offer him a DSLR.

This technologically advanced device will pique his interest level. He will start taking lots of pictures with the new product. Ultimately, he would learn new techniques to click better pictures. There will be a vast difference in the way a person clicks a regular picture and the way he clicks a picture with a DSLR.

The person is going through the novelty effect, as improvement in technology has given him a temporary boost in his productivity.

William Hazlitt Writer

Wonder at the first sight of works of art may be the effect of ignorance and novelty; but real admiration and permanent delight in them are the growth of taste and knowledge.

The Temporary Nature of the Novelty Effect

The boost caused by the Novelty effect is temporary, as the increase in the productivity experienced by the person is not perennial in nature. As soon as the monotony of that new technology shows its ugly face, boredom settles in. The person falls back to his old habits, as there is nothing to keep his attention hooked and his interest heightened.

Professor Adam Love of the Mississippi State University carried out a study to observe the novelty effect. He chose to understand the effect on attendance of soccer viewers caused by the building of new soccer stadiums.

His study led him to believe that the construction of a new stadium gave an instant rise to the number of viewers who came to watch the soccer matches.

But as he studied the human behavior for the next few years, he realized that the number of viewers started getting reduced in the newly constructed stadiums with each passing year. And finally, the attendance of people in the new stadiums became almost equal to that of the old stadiums.

In some ways, the novelty effect is temporary. As quickly as it enhances the productivity, it is as instantly that the productivity falls back to its initial level.

A new shiny toy can hold our attention for only a limited period. As soon as we get bored of playing with it, we shove it to an isolated corner of our room.

As technology is improving, we are becoming digitally advanced. At the same time, it’s threatening our attention span and patience. And the irony is, we get impatient and bored with the very same technology and gadgets which led to the decrease in our attention span in the first place. Digital technology reduces our attention span by 8 seconds.

The Frequent Software and Hardware Updates are Futile and Unproductive

Do you also get annoyed by the continuous WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook updates that infiltrate your cell phones?

It’s a strategy through which these big companies want to stay in business before another app dethrones them.

Facebook changed the face of Social Media and digital communication when it was founded in the year 2004. Orkut was a vastly used social media site then, but it lacked the easy user interface, privacy options, and more clandestine chats that Facebook offered.

It ultimately made people shift from Orkut to Facebook. After running for 12 years, Orkut was closed in the year 2014. It was a sad moment for each one of us who were introduced to the world of social media by Orkut’s scraps, groups, and messages.

But none of us could handle its immensely old execution, lack of traffic, and stubbornness to not modify itself with time. In fact, with the launch of Facebook, lots of people joined social media for their personal as well as professional use.

Facebook is still the #1 social media website, but the novelty effect has decreased. Around 11 million users have stopped using Facebook since 2011.

As new websites like Instagram, Snapchat, and Google+ have been launched in the market, it’s highly difficult for Facebook to maintain its uno numero position. It’s this reason why these websites continuously try to upgrade and give a better experience to the users in order to keep them hooked. But how useful are such updates?

While Whatsapp (owned by Facebook) is busy in changing the style of its app and Facebook is busy in adding lots of unnecessary features on its website, the only thing users want is: familiarity.

Instagram (owned by Facebook) recently changed the feed without asking its users’ opinions.

It led to a massive opposition by the users, as they wanted the old style to be retained. But Facebook didn’t pay any attention to the opinions and introduced the change. People are not exactly happy with the way the new Instagram looks. They even changed its logo which hasn’t exactly garnered any interest among the users.

Quitting social media can make you happier.

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So, people are much more comfortable with the familiarity for as long as it is not old and outdated. In fact, it has been proved that familiarity helps in enhancing the memory, not novelty.

Such updates hardly add to the immediate user experience, except if the transition is truly path-breaking. Otherwise, it’s wise to stick with what is familiar to the users without committing a mistake like Orkut and letting the technology become so outdated, that the users have no other option except to search for a better option.

How Can You Achieve Productivity?

Long-term productivity is not an overnight achievement, but it’s a continuous process. Companies may come up with new gadgets, technologies, and methods to create an instant effect, but the boost in productivity is transient. The person will fall back to their old habits if permanent measures are not adopted.

It is important to improve a person’s effectiveness and increase their motivation. It will not only enhance their productivity, but it will also improve the standards of their work.

These are the following ways through which productivity can be achieved.

1. Time Is Money: Careful Time Management

Time Management plays a crucial role in helping workers retain their efficiency and energy. There is no point of making them work for long hours, as they can do much better work within a short period without losing their motivation and will.

Carl Sandburg Poet

Time is the most valuable coin in your life. You and you alone will determine how that coin will be spent. Be careful that you do not let other people spend it for you.

Many companies make their workers work for long hours. While this strategy might seem useful, it really is not.

It creates a sense of monotony among the workers who have to spend each single day doing the same thing. Saturdays and Sundays are spent recovering from the tired state a person attains during the 5-days shift.

The traditional route of working 8 hours a day doesn’t impact our productivity in any way. In fact, a study has revealed that working for 8 hours doesn’t make a person do more work, but taking short breaks at regular intervals has proved far more beneficial.

Working for more than 8 hours a day can increase the risk of heart diseases by 67%.

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Companies should promote time management. Regular breaks must be given to the workers, and they should not be made to work for an entire year. Many times vacations are not offered, and it’s one of the reasons that people get tired of working and leave the jobs.

It should be kept in mind that workers are mere humans who need time to re-energize themselves in order to work more efficiently.

If you're running short of time, then I suggest you to try these office workouts by Karen at Positive Health Wellness. You'll pump more oxygen to your brain and boost your productivity.

​The average person uses 13 different methods to control and manage their time.

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2. Meticulous Allocation of Resources

Instead of wasting money on redundant updates, it is wiser to allocate necessary resources meticulously. It is only possible by providing the right resource to the right person.

A deeper study might be required to understand what works for a particular person. There is no use asking a person to handle digital marketing when he is not even acquainted with technology but is good at handling manual labor work.

Also, resources should be made available at the proper time.

Take the example of electronic gadgets as a resource.

Many people provide gadgets to their kids at an early age, thinking that it will help them to become more technologically advanced and a quick learner. But it can affect the kids negatively.

A study published by Daily Mail UK states that 67% of parents are irked because their children spend most of their time hooked to their computers or Televisions. It is hindering the growth of the children and making them lazy.

85% kids within the age group of 13 to 17 own a cell phone.

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Hence, resources should be allocated to the right people at the right time to see a permanent rise in their productivity.

3. Follow the Approach of Minimalism

It is easy for us to get distracted and lose our focus. It can lead to indulging in unnecessary tasks while paying less attention to what is important. The best way to deal with this problem is to lead a minimalistic lifestyle and reduce the clutter.

Minimalism follows the ideology of “less is more.” It encourages people to let go of unnecessary objects, relations, and aims, and to keep only those things close which are required. Minimalism can be as basic as deleting the unwanted folders from your desktop to as complex as giving up most of your clothes in order to lead a simple lifestyle.

The Dalai Lama Monk

If one’s life is simple, contentment has to come. Simplicity is extremely important for happiness.

The formula of minimalism can be used in enhancing productivity and reducing the amount of time spent on unnecessary tasks.

For example, instead of compulsorily spending an hour daily hanging out in a pub, you can decide to spend the time doing nothing and sit alone in a park for a change. This break from your busy schedule packed with people and events will help you to introspect, revitalize, and simplify.

Instead of stuffing lots of activities into your schedule, decide to reduce those activities and get some free time.

Minimalism promotes a happier lifestyle with less clutter and more focus on the essentials.

Minimalism began after World War II and mainly focused on visual arts.

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4. Continuous Improvement is the Way to Success

Madonna Singer

No matter who you are, no matter what you did, no matter where you've come from, you can always change, become a better version of yourself.

Instead of focusing on improving their gadgets, humans should pay attention towards improving themselves.

The latest technology might give you a necessary kick for some time, but it is up to you to maintain your enthusiasm and the will to learn.

E-books are introduced instead of hard copies because they are easier to handle and offer something different to students. Although it seems like a great transition for the tech-savvy generation, this survey has revealed that E-books are no better than traditional textbooks.

It depends on how persistently a student studies for achieving good marks, and not on the change in technology.

In fact, if any boost in their skills is observed due to the novelty effect, it ultimately reduces when the novelty effect wears off.


The world is rapidly changing as new technology is making its way into our daily routine. We have become more advanced. Technology has helped in reducing our work and saving our energy.

But technology cannot be the only way through which the productivity of a human can be raised.

Instead of investing time and money in giving numerous updates several times a week, it’s much more beneficial to offer bigger changes that can help in making work easier for users. But as science and technology are still developing, it is not easy to provide instant solutions to the existing problems.

So, humans should invest in themselves. By making themselves more productive in permanent ways, they can ultimately escape from the slavery of technology.

Productivity doesn’t need to rely on technology, as technology is the consequence of human productivity. We should not get stuck inside an eternal race in which our only motivation is the next upgrade. It will only lead to degradation of the human potential.

When are you going to stop looking for the next technological update and boost your productivity now?

Philosophy Self-Improvement

5 Things That Happen When You Practice Empathy

Empathy is the ability to understand someone’s emotions and feelings as your own.

You should be able to put yourself in their shoes and look at their situations and feelings from their state of mind to get a complete understanding. It is one of the most important qualities that a human can possess.

Many people often get confused between sympathy and empathy. ‘Sympathy’ means to feel concerned about someone’s issues and problems but not to be able to necessarily connect with their emotions and feel what they are going through. It’s not as deep as empathy.

‘Sympathy’ simply is a good trait, nonetheless, but it’s only through empathy that you can truly help someone.

Sometimes, a person who is suffering from a problem cannot figure out a solution because their mind gets hazy with all their troubles and sorrows.

If you lend an empathetic ear to someone, you help them by easing their burden. It is also very possible that by getting a new perspective towards their situation, you can suggest them a solution that they might not have thought of.

As an average human starts spending time with people, it’s natural for him to cultivate empathy for them. A reassuring touch and an empathic ear can go a long way in healing someone.

Empathy is required to form any basic human bond. All of us want someone who is not only non-judgemental but carries a great deal of empathy inside them. It is what separates an acquaintance from a stranger; a friend from a foe.

Empathy is categorised into 3 types:

1. Cognitive Empathy

Cognitive Empathy deals with understanding someone’s problems and issues. It involves being able to get a clear perspective regarding what the person is going through, and listening to them with a non-judgemental mind.

2. Emotional Empathy

Emotional Empathy deals with not only understanding someone’s problems but also being able to feel their emotions as your own. Emotionally empathetic people are quite sensitive, and they have a better understanding of human emotions than others.

3. Compassionate Empathy

Compassionate Empathy deals with not only understanding someone’s problems and feeling their emotions but also helping the person to take the necessary steps to get better.

Empathy is a miracle given to humanity. As one goes through the monotony of life, they often forget the power they hold to change the world. Considering themselves ordinary, they keep all their abilities suppressed. So, it is important to become aware of how empathetic you can be, and start putting your trait to the best use.

Here are the five incredible things that happen when you practice empathy.

1. Popularity comes knocking at your door.

As you start practicing empathy, you become famous among your friends. Due to your compassionate listening skills, they start visiting you often to feel better. An empathetic person loves helping people out, so you may enjoy being the center of attention among your friends.

The best way to approach someone is by finding similarities and accepting differences. Moreover, an open mind should be kept while interacting with someone, as it will help you to understand someone’s life without having pre-conceived notions and ideas. A good human interaction shouldn’t be tainted with the intervention of a judgemental mind.

99% of Americans feel at least some level of empathy.

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Empathy helps to get rid of selfishness and encourages us to immerse our time in getting to know another person. It involves going beyond the human barriers and forming a strong bond with another person. Empathy plays an important role in not only helping another person feel better, but it can be a natural therapy for an empathetic person as well.

Leo Buscaglia


Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.

Do you know that empathy plays a big role in forming better business leaders?

An empathetic and compassionate leader learns to let go of their ego and approach the employees from a place of humility. It ultimately leads the employees to give their 100% to their job and working with higher motivation and dedication.

It makes an empathetic leader more successful than the rest. A positive and work-oriented atmosphere is created in the workplace impacting the workers psychologically.

Such a positive atmosphere will increase the number of healthy workers. In fact, empathy is one of the top 8 traits required for being a good leader.

2. You will be sought to resolve conflicts.

If a fight breaks out, people expect someone wise to interfere and stop the conflict.

An empathetic person is considered wise because of his grasp over his emotions as well as a clear understanding of another human’s feelings. So, he will be expected to take up the role of an elder in such troublesome situations.

Daniel H. Pink Author

Empathy is about standing in someone else's shoes, feeling with his or her heart, seeing with his or her eyes. Not only is empathy hard to outsource and automate, but it makes the world a better place.

There is an increase in the number of conflicts in countries where basic empathy is lacking among people. As ego and apathy are two determining factors of human behaviour, no one tries to stop the conflicts that erupt.

Such an attitude can be extremely cataclysmic for the country and its growth.

It’s the reason that most third-world countries suffer from conflict manufactured in their very own country.

Ecuador is the most empathetic country.

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3. You get to know more about people.

Due to your non-judgemental and empathetic attitude, people will prefer opening up to you more. ‘Trust’ is earned, and an empathetic person is certainly a trustworthy person.

By the end of a heart-to-heart session, you might be aware of a person’s past, present as well as future. You may even start understanding a person better than they know themselves.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer Pastor

We must learn to regard people less in the light of what they do or omit to do, and more in the light of what they suffer.

Some people are in their shell, and it takes work to bring them out. As you put your empathy to use, they realize that you are a kind human with whom they can open up and share their deepest hopes and despairs.

A study revealed that a person with good empathy skills has a female brain!

They are considered to be empathizers and are gentler towards other people. As we know, females bond by sharing their stories and supporting each other, whereas this kind of behavior is not seen among males (generally).

Mostly, women are the ones who are empathizers, as men are more inclined in their life to cars, machinery, and similar objects.

Women spend their childhood playing with dolls and engaging in more ‘conversational’ games like playing teacher or acting like a housewife.

No matter how grossly stereotyped it might seem, but that’s what the study has revealed. Moreover, parents are rougher with their sons, as they are expected to be tough.

On the other hand, they treat their daughters gently because they are considered fragile and sensitive. So, much of our empathy-related skills are also influenced by how we’ve been brought up.

The difference between a boy and a girl’s empathizing skills is shown in the following chart.

But it’s not impossible for a guy to feel empathy. As he engages with more people and makes deliberate efforts to not only understand others but to understand his emotions as well, he can be as empathetic as any female.

Empathy is a gender-neutral trait; it is not to be governed by your sex. However, it is labeled as something that girls can practice and understand better than boys.

4. You get the superpower of predicting someone’s thoughts and behaviors.

By spending time with people and observing them closely, you become acquainted with their emotions and feelings. It helps you to predict their thoughts and behaviors, as you become peculiarly aware of how they deal with various situations, and what exactly they need to feel better. It will help you to deal with the people in a better way, as you will be able to envision their reactions beforehand.

Richard Eyre Film Director

Change begins with understanding and understanding begins by identifying oneself with another person: in a word, empathy. The arts enable us to put ourselves in the minds, eyes, ears and hearts of other human beings.

There are various ways through which you can develop empathy. It’s been proved that meditation makes you more empathetic.

Meditation is a cure offered by the cosmos to humanity. It’s wonderful to heal all our inner wounds and giving birth to new traits inside us as well. As you bring your focus inside yourself, you develop greater understanding towards human emotions. Meditation encourages bringing all your attention inwards.

An empathic person spends a great deal of time in introspection. Spending time with oneself is different from being self-centred.

Self-orientation involves understanding your emotions and behaviour - it teaches us how to understand someone else’s feelings as well.

Empathetic people have more functioning in their right parietal lobe which is also responsible for increasing self-focus.

Some people have an 'empathy switch' which they can turn on and off at will.

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In fact, literature has proved useful for enhancing empathy inside a human. When you read well-written characters, they help you to understand humans and how they work. You get to penetrate inside the mind of a particular character and to see the world through his eyes.

By trying to understand someone else’s point of view, you develop patience and the will to understand something new.

This trait extends to the real world as well where you meet plenty of people—some good, some bad — and they enable you to try and see the world from their perspective as well.

5. You become a good team player.

Besides dedication, hard work, and good skills, there is another thing which is required for being a good team player. It’s empathy.

There should be no competition among the people belonging to the same team, and they should be there for each other during the good and the bad times. A good team is like a family in which people stick together and understand each other.

Richard Yates Fiction Writer

It’s a disease. Nobody thinks or feels or cares anymore; nobody gets excited or believes in anything except their own comfortable little God damn mediocrity.

The difference between a good and a bad team is the level of empathy the members carry. Instead of criticizing each other and letting ego rule you, you should be able to help out your fellow members by getting a deeper insight into their minds.

Not only will it help you to see the wide range of human emotions, but you will also be able to create strategies for your work through it.

Providing the right task to the right person, while considering their strengths and limitations is the sign of a good team player and a good leader.

The 'identifiable victim effect" is the key to engaging empathy.

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We can become a wholly developed human being only when we can cultivate various good traits inside us.

It’s of no use to buy gifts for your friends when you do not spend two minutes of your life talking to them.

No matter how much charity you do, it’s hollow until you feel the pain and despondency of the sufferers. You can spend your entire life earnings over your family, but it’s nothing compared to understanding their needs and emotions correctly.

You can spend your entire life earnings over your family, but it’s nothing compared to understanding their needs and emotions correctly.

Empathy is not all about giving. It also involves receiving. You receive the trust of people. You gain knowledge about people as you observe them. You can even use your empathy to become a successful life coach, psychologist, writer, and the like.

In a world surrounded by chaos and conceitedness, you can become a ray of hope and reduce the pain inflicted by the apathy of incalculable people.

So, are you ready to wear your invisible cape and acquire such a big role?