Present Bias - Deepstash

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Present Bias

We tend to choose a smaller, immediate reward over a larger reward in the future. For example, playing video games is more enjoyable than writing or coding or designing.

What you can do about it:

  • Help your future self. Automate your savings; lock yourself out of your social media apps and websites at certain times of the day.
  • Find ways to make the "right" thing more pleasant. Do exercise you actually enjoy; find healthy recipes that are also delicious.
  • Reframe how you think. Enjoy the process rather than only focusing on the rewards. Instead of running to lose weight, focus on the satisfaction you get after running a mile.
  • Imagine your future self to help motivate you to choose longer-term payoffs.

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MORE IDEAS FROM THE SAME ARTICLE

This bias addresses why we do unimportant tasks we think are time-sensitive over tasks that are not time-sensitive, even if the non-time-sensitive tasks provide greater rewards.

Economists used to believe that people will always choose the option that maximizes their well-being. But people act against their rational self-interest all the time.

This effect describes our tendency to remember incomplete or interrupted tasks better than completed tasks. Each unfinished task takes up some of your attention, splitting your focus. It also interferes with your sleep.

We are inclined to believe that complex solutions and explanations are better than simple ones. The perception of complexity often leads to avoidance.

We want to finish what we've started because of previously invested resources, even if it is better to quit and use our limited resources elsewhere for better returns.

We tend to underestimate the time it will take to complete a future task despite knowing that previous tasks have taken longer.

We quickly return to a relatively stable level of happiness despite positive or negative external events. We pursue a promotion and believe it will make us happy. When we get it, we are temporarily happier, only to get back to our baseline levels the next week.

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