On occasion my wife has work trips that can last two weeks. Normally this can be a pretty challenging time for me to stay productive, since all that time I normally spend with her is now empty, and it’s easy to fill it with my entertainment vices of choice, which can then easily feed into negative emotions and increased fatigue.
My wife is just about to get back from one of these trips, and this time I’ve had a much better time by using temptation bundling. I was already beeminding screen-based entertainment in half-hour blocks, two per day allowed, but I know from past experience that when I have a lot of free time, these goals can break (I often derail and get buffer) because of all the lonely free time. And then the binging only gets worse from there…
So this time I added a new rule to the existing goal: If I spend a half hour on a project benefitting my wife, such as cleaning or working towards a potential home purchase, I’m allowed to add a -1 data point to my entertainment goal.
This effectively created a pressure-relief valve on the goal, allowing me to earn the entertainment time if I really wanted it, while guarding against a dangerous binge spiral by balancing the time spent on entertainment with time spent productively.
In the past I’ve tried to do something similar, only using behaviors in my day job instead of house work. This didn’t work nearly as well, because the times I’m most prone to strong cravings are when I’m brain dead / fatigued, which is exactly when I’m very unlikely to be able to put more meaningful energy into my job. House work, on the other hand, can be made to require much less brainpower.
Anyway, I’m putting this down as a resounding success. Binge behavior was mitigated, my mood stayed relatively stable, and I got a whole lot more done around the house than I would have otherwise.
Eager to hear any comparable success you guys have had.