29 Jan It’s time … for happiness!
via Harvard Business Review by Ashley Whillans
Adam (real story, fake name) was a good employee who was given a plum project he believed could get him a promotion and a raise. Taking it seemed like the proverbial no-brainer: Work hard, nail the assignment, get more pay. He knew he’d have to put in long days and some hours on weekends, which meant he’d be sacrificing time with his young family. He knew the deadlines would be stressful, as would managing the people and the expectations involved. But he also knew that at the end, he’d be rewarded, and he could make up for the lost time.
Except that he wasn’t rewarded. Though his project was a success, the promotion and the raise went to someone on another project, who also was deserving. After receiving accolades for a job well done, Adam continued to run his project successfully, but he wasn’t happy. At night, he sat in bumper-to-bumper traffic, brooding over what had happened, calculating all the hours he had put in, and for what? He couldn’t help feeling he had wasted — no, that he had lost — valuable time.
While Adam is right, the research shows that even if he had gotten the promotion and the raise, he might have felt just as discontented. No matter what the outcome of our efforts, we all feel increasingly strapped for time, and often the things that we think will make us happy — the accomplishments we work so hard for — don’t. They most certainly do not give us back moments with our families and friends or more hours to ourselves.
A preponderance of evidence shows that the feeling of having enough time — “time affluence” — is now at a record low in the United States. When my team and I analyzed a survey of 2.5 million Americans by the Gallup Organization, we found that 80% of respondents did not have the time to do all they wanted to each day. This situation is so severe it could even be described as a “famine” — a collective cultural failure to effectively manage our most precious resource, time.
Time poverty exists across all economic strata, and its effects are profound. Research shows that those who feel time-poor experience lower levels of happiness and higher levels of anxiety, depression, and stress. They experience less joy. They laugh less. They exercise less and are less healthy. Their productivity at work is diminished. They are more likely to get divorced. And in our analysis of the Gallup survey data, my team and I even found that time stress had a stronger negative effect on happiness than being unemployed did.
On a broader level, time poverty directly accounts for billions of dollars in productivity costs to companies each year, and secondary costs multiply that number many times over. Public health officials rank it as one of the top contributors to rising obesity. Researchers put the health care costs of time stress at $48 billion a year.
The irony is, despite the perception that people today work longer hours, the data reveals that most of us have more discretionary time than ever before. How can we feel so starved for time?
The answer seems to be money. Just like Adam, most of us fall into a trap of spending time to get money, because we believe money will make us happier in the long run.
Our thinking is backward. In fact, research consistently shows that the happiest people use their money to buy time. My colleagues and I have conducted correlational, longitudinal, and experimental research with nearly 100,000 working adults from all over the world. We consistently find that people who are willing to give up money to gain more free time — by, say, working fewer hours or paying to outsource disliked tasks — experience more fulfilling social relationships, more satisfying careers, and more joy, and overall, live happier lives.
If there’s one resolution that you keep this year, it should be to focus on making choices based on time, not money. It’s not easy; our entire world and even our brains are rigged to make us value money first. But it can be done, and in this article, I’ll share some smart strategies you can start employing today…
…keep reading the full & original article HERE