Friday, August 19, 2011

Committing to Getting Out of Bed

While gambling self-exclusion programs are aimed at preventing an undesired behavior, some commitments are aimed at motivating a desired behavior. (There's a bit of arbitrariness here, of course, as committing to doing something is like committing to not doing any of the alternatives.) My suspicion is that it might be easier to honor a commitment not to do one well-specified thing -- don't go to a casino -- than it is to commit to doing something -- say, working more -- because there are many alternatives to working. There's only one way to violate the no gambling pledge, but many ways not to work. But the alternative to getting out of bed is pretty much just staying in bed, so a positive commitment to getting out of bed might work pretty well. Indeed, I keep my alarm clock away from my bed to provide a small commitment to achieving verticality in the morning.

That scheme might not be enough, however. Do not despair, as technology has progressed to the point where you can raise the stakes of not getting up. The SnūzNLūz alarm clock allows you to precommit to making a donation to a cause you loathe -- an anti-charity -- every time you hit the snooze button on the alarm clock. SnūzNLūz users will either be prompt at getting out of bed, or the revenues of various presidential libraries will soar.

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