The upside of temptation
A Freakonomics podcast explains how to get things done by temptation bundling - combining something you enjoy with something you tend to procrastinate about. An example is setting a reward that you only receive once you’ve saved a certain amount of money. “If I only allowed myself to watch my favourite TV shows at the gym, I’d stop wasting time at home on useless television and start craving trips to the gym,” says one interviewee. The podcast also talks about the "fresh start" effect - choosing to take action on a special date, such as New Year or a birthday.
On borrowed time
We all like to help out friends and family – but we should be extra careful, says Professor Shawn M Burn in a blog on Psychology Today. When combining a business-type relationship, such as lending money, with a personal one, we can end up caught in contradictions if the friend or relative fails to fulfil the “business” side of the deal. If history or character suggest they might let you down, “these dual relationships are high risk”, warns Burn. And if you do decide to help them anyway? “Set clear ground rules,” she says.
Divorced from reality
US university research by Yan Lu, Sugata Ray, and Melvyn Teo has found that hedge fund managers perform less well while getting divorced or married. It’s worse if the hedge fund manager is older and getting married. Divorce hits the younger ones harder – perhaps because they value long-term relationships more, the researchers say. “We show that hedge fund managers are not simply trading less or mimicking the stock indices more and taking fewer active bets. Rather, they are making poorer investment decisions and exercising less investment discipline,” they write.