What makes us happier, time or money?

What makes us happier, time or money?

via A Life of Productivity by Chris Bailey

It’s one of life’s classic quandaries: what ultimately makes us happier, more time or more money?  

Ashley Whillans’ research points firmly at time. Ashley is a behavior scientist and Harvard Business School professor who is fascinated by how time, money, and happiness influence each other. Her book, Time Smart, is a fantastic and concise read on this very topic. She’s also my guest on the podcast this week. 

A central theme of the book looks at how we’re more likely to chase money with greater drive than we pursue having more time. This is for three simple reasons:  

  1. Money is generally a necessity in our society. 
  2. The prevailing narrative is that money and success are synonymous with one another. 
  3. Psychologically, it’s easier for us to track money and feel satisfied when we have it. Having $500 in your bank account is objective and tangible—gaining three hours of time on a Saturday? Not so much.  

This is why we give up our time more readily than we give up our money. But this loss of time comes at a cost, and Ashley argues that it’s critical for us to value our time to the same extent that we value our money. According to her research, people who even just say that they put time first report being happier, less stressed, and more satisfied with their social relationships. People who value time over money also tend to be more productive and creative because they take the time to build new relationships and recharge. These are concrete, positive outcomes that come with making time-first decisions.  

Time Smart outlines a handful of valuable strategies for how we can start prioritizing time over money. I love that many of these tactics don’t cost anything, because it debunks the myth that only the wealthy can afford to put time first. These strategies fall into two categories: tactics to save us time, and tactics to buy our time back.  

Tactics to save time are about tackling time traps head-on. Imagine pinging phone alerts and how they disrupt our moments of leisure. That technology pitfall shreds our valuable time into a thousand distracted fragments, which Ashley calls “time confetti.”  

Time traps are also caused by the mere urgency effect, the phenomena that makes us prioritize things that are urgent but not important—checking your email non-stop rather than spending time with your family, for example.  

To save yourself time, try

… keep reading the full & original article HERE