Blogger David McRaney, of You Are Not So Smart, just did a great post on the self-delusions that lead people to procrastinate. (Of course, it took me four days to post it. I’ll admit, I’m as much in need of advice on this topic as anyone!)
Many studies over the years have shown you tend to have time-inconsistent preferences. When asked if you would rather have fruit or cake one week from now, you will usually say fruit. A week later when the slice of German chocolate and the apple are offered, you are statistically more likely to go for the cake…
As behavioral economist Katherine Milkman has pointed out, this is why grocery stores put candy right next to the checkout.
This is sometimes called present bias –- being unable to grasp what you want will change over time, and what you want now isn’t the same thing you will want later. Present bias explains why you buy lettuce and bananas only to throw them out later when you forget to eat them. This is why when you are a kid you wonder why adults don’t own more toys.
Present bias is why you’ve made the same resolution for the tenth year in a row, but this time you mean it. You are going to lose weight and forge a six-pack of abs so ripped you could deflect arrows.
I definitely recommend taking a look at the whole post, especially if you’ve ever succumbed to the temptation to plunk down cash at the bookstore for the latest title from some management or self-help guru promising to improve your “time management.” McRaney’s blog is free, and the information is better. Can’t beat that deal.
We had what I would call a gorgeous fall day in New York today. It cooled off quite a bit from our recent run of spring-like weather, but it was still sunny and comfortable enough to throw on a heavy sweater and go for a stroll.
Many amateur photographers did just that in Central Park, where the foliage was really at its multi-colored best. Here’s a shot of my own, taken on a Nexus One and brightened up a bit on my Mac’s iPhoto software.
In the wee hours here in a New York, a Big Media catfight got really ugly. Unfortunately, its effects on the average Joe are being seriously misconstrued by the local newspapers and the parties themselves.
The tiff has been brewing for awhile now between Cablevision and News Corp., owners of the local TV stations WNYW and WWOR. News Corp. is trying to get increased “rebroadcast fees” from Cablevision for the rights to show its stations’ programming. Cablevision is balking. After much brinksmanship, including nasty ads by both sides and this editorial by WNYW general manager Lew Leone shown a few days ago, News Corp. pulled its channels from Cablevision at midnight.
Throughout the dispute, the two sides have created the impression, mostly through implication, that Cablevision homes would be utterly unable to view WNYW and WWOR programming in a scenario like the one that has now come to pass. Leone even said in his editorial that he’s a Cablevision subscriber himself and that he’ll drive to his parents’ house this weekend to watch the Giants football game scheduled to air on his own station. There are also big baseball playoff games scheduled this weekend on WNYW, with the World Series to come afterward.
Now, I really don’t want to take sides in the dispute itself, especially since I used to work for the News Corp.-owned Wall Street Journal. But let it suffice that two high-profile companies are squabbling and that it’s indisputably newsworthy. Let’s also stipulate that both parties involved have an incentive to rally the public to their side, even if they have to gild the lily a bit. Can the public at least get an accurate account of what it all means to them from journalists?
As of this writing at 5:30 a.m. — hey, I’ve got a bout of insomnia — both the New York Times and the New York Daily News are credulously running with the customers-in-the-dark storyline. (Alas, I don’t see any update about the situation on the News Corp.-owned New York Post website yet. And Cablevision-owned Newsday has its story behind a paywall.)
The Times refers ominously to “the prospect that Giants and World Series games would be interrupted.” The Daily News writes that, “Cablevision customers may be out of luck when it comes to watching Saturday night’s baseball game.” Neither paper mentions an obvious work-around that a customer can use to not miss a single play in the sports action.
The catch is that every home that subscribes to cable also has a free broadcast signal, but not every house that has a broadcast signal subscribes to cable. It’s like one of those word problems from Statistics 101.
The implication: If you are a big sports fan and Cablevision subscriber this weekend, unplug your cable box for a few hours, plug in the old-fashioned antenna that your TV came with, and watch the game using the broadcast signal, happily drinking a beer while a bunch of executives and lawyers while away their weekend arguing with one another to get more money for their bosses. When the game is over, plug your cable box back in, give it a minute or two to reboot, and watch the recap on ESPN, if you’re so inclined. Done.