This is brilliant Zander. After reading it I realise I’m very guilty of this myself.
One thing I’ve noticed is that this affect is even worse for freelancers like myself, or other kinds of consultants in any service business.
If you’re an employee with a fixed wage and fixed office hours, there’s very little economic benefit for working more time outside those required hours — except to impress your boss, gain internal status, etc. In fact, it’s disincentivized because you’re working more without earning any more.
Yet for me, the more I work, the more I earn. They are directly correlated. So it’s very challenging to choose the leisure option when you have free time. It’s difficult to even take normal holidays. I can see why we make the choice to fill extra time with more work rather than more play.
But I hope people who are not in the situation where their time directly correlates to money can see the bigger picture and make different choices. As you’ve pointed out, though, most people still don’t.