The Procastinator’s Clock
| Peter Klein |
Thomas Schelling, in his 1984 paper on voluntary self-restraint, popularized the example of the man who tends to oversleep and, knowing he tends to hit the snooze button several times on his alarm clock, places the clock across the room where he can’t reach it. My grad-school buddy Ted O’Donoghue has written several papers (with Matt Rabin) applying behavioral economics to procrastination, addiction, and other cases of what Ted calls “time-inconsistent preferences,” showing how rational agents deal with problems of self-control.
A simple solution for the procrastinator is setting the clock 15 minutes fast, but that only works if you forget you did it. David Seah has come up with a better solution: the Procrastinator’s Clock. It’s “guaranteed to be up to 15 minutes fast. However, it also speeds up and slows down in an unpredictable manner so you can’t be sure how fast it really is.” Brilliant. (HT: WebWorkerDaily)