The Perils of Having What You Want

Working from home is a great gig if you can find it. There’s something very liberating about being able to clock in whenever you gosh darn feel like it, and something very productive about being able to work when you’re actually in the mood.

For example, last night I felt very energized after my sit-ups and push-ups. Not wanting to shower and go to bed, I clocked into work and spent some time (attempting to) clear out my Inbox. I was in a task-destroying mood so I accomplished quite a bit and clocked out when I was tired and ready to go to bed.

I was definitely not working during normal work hours (I clocked in at 9 at night) but the work was finished regardless of the hour. It was nice.

The one drawback I can see to working from home is when you’re not in the mood. I have a terrifically hard time getting into the mood to work when I have something else to do. If the dishwasher needs emptying, the laundry needs folding, or dinner needs cooking, it’s much easier to feel motivated to get those done than to sit at my computer and type.

For me, working from home has almost become like that treadmill you keep in the spare bedroom. You see it sitting there, waiting to be used, every time you walk down the hall but you never go in and fire it up because it’s always there and you can do it whenever you want. This, my friends, is yet another example of how the overabundance of opportunity is a great way to guarantee that that opportunity rarely gets seized.

This theory applies to almost every facet of human behavior. Take, for instance, a free offer at the grocery store. If you get a coupon for a free box of Lucky Charms that’s good for a year, you’ll probably stick the coupon away and forget about it until it’s been expired for a month and you wonder why you didn’t just use it already. If the coupon is for a free box of Lucky Charms while supplies last, I bet you anything you’d claw your way to the cereal aisle in order to claim your triumphant prize. You’d probably tackle a toddler for that cereal and then spike a banana onto the ground in effusive celebration.

If something is available all the time, you probably won’t want it. Here’s another example: a really handsome man. He goes out to a bar and gets at least ten numbers from the ladies he chats up all night. These numbers all say, “Call me any time!” and maybe he will, maybe he won’t. If he talks to a girl and she leaves without giving him her number, guess who he’ll be thinking of all night? She may have been the third most attractive girl he talked to all night, but I can all but promise you that she’ll linger in his mind.

I’m not sure why this is. Maybe it’s because when you know you can have something, your mind counts it as yours already, thus removing your need to actually attain it. All I know is that, knowing I can work whenever I want to makes me procrastinate like a hungover college student.

This is not to say that I don’t work ever. I do work. All the time. What this does mean is that I have trouble getting motivated to climb into my cushy leather chair and type. Precisely because I can do this whenever I want to.

You know that saying, “You always want what you can’t have?” Yeah, well it goes both ways.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *