Self-Experimentation at Work


Knowledge workers’ work usually consists of a broad variety of activities and tasks, ranging from researching information, talking to co-workers and customers, and creating work artifacts, such as documents or code. All these activities, as well as distractions and interruptions from the outside world, can make it very challenging to work productively and make progress on ones tasks. Research has shown that knowledge workers are generally motivated to develop better habits that improve their productivity and well-being at work. However, they often have troubles to do so and to know what and how to improve their work habits.

In this project, you can decide on 2-3 positive work habits and implement a self-experimentation approach, which will allow users to set specific goals towards a positive work habit, and experiment with its implementation. For example, a worker might want to take more frequent breaks. Through self-experimentation and self-reflection, the user might determine the optimal times to take a break. Another example is to self-experiment with reducing ones self-interruptions to switch to distracting websites, such as social networks or news websites.

Task description


  • Perform a small literature review to learn about similar already existing approaches
  • Decide on 2-3 positive work habits that you want to support with your application (e.g. see developers’ goals for positive work habits)
  • Develop a self-experimentation framework around it, which allows to experiment with different settings, times, messages, infos and logs the data to see improvements/progress
  • Develop a small dashboard which allows the user to decide on positive work habits, experiment with the settings and learn about the progress towards achieving them. Alternatively, this could also be a chatbot instead of a dashboard.
  • Evaluate your approach in a small user study

Contact: André Meyer