Trading money for time makes everyone happier.
There is an idea floating around called time affluence. It can be defined as our internal feeling of sufficient time to pursue activities that we enjoy. The wealthier you become on the time affluence scale, the happier you’ll be.
The daily hassles of life stress us out far more than the major events. Elizabeth Dunn and Michael Norton mention in their book, Happy Money, that buying more time can help combat your daily stress.
If you’re feeling stressed out, here are some ways you can buy yourself some extra time.
Make your to-do list a LOT shorter.
My most stressful days have too many tasks and not enough time. Not surprisingly, my days are much happier when I drastically reduce my to-do list.
When it comes to your job, you might not be able to limit your to-do list. But your weekend? That’s your time! You’re the boss, now.
If you want to buy back your time, start saying no to extra activities. I’ve been an overachiever my whole life, and I used to suffer from taking on too many projects.
These days, I’d rather take an entire weekend and mess around with one project than try to finish three in the same two days.
If you are struggling to say no to projects in your life, limit yourself to only the five most important. The projects that don’t make your list aren’t important to you right now.
For example, I’d love to learn German someday. But right now, it’s not in my top five.
Start saying “HELL YEAH!” or “no.”
When Derek Sivers was interviewed on The Tim Ferriss Show, he mentioned a specific way he makes decisions in his life. If Derek didn’t want to say, “HELL YEAH!” to a project, he would say, “no.”
Using this method, Sivers only reads books, watches movies, or takes on projects that are deeply satisfying to him. Otherwise, he has better things to do.
This last weekend, I bought two eBooks. The first was called, The Myth of the Strong Leader, and it is on Bill Gates’s 2016 list of books to read. I was bored to tears after only two chapters, so I started reading the other book.
The second purchase was Michael Lewis’s newest book, The Undoing Project, and I was in love before the introduction was over. I immediately returned The Myth of the Strong Leader, for a refund.
Bill Gates isn’t stupid, so I’m sure there are some great nuggets of wisdom in his suggested book, but I don’t care.
You don’t have to finish a book if you don’t like it. No one will know.
Think more about spending time, not money.
Try an experiment with me. First, think about your next day off from work. Imagine you will have twelve hours to do whatever you want.
How would you like to spend those twelve hours? Write down a list.
Second, imagine that same day with an extra $300 in your pocket. Make a list of how you would like to spend the extra money.
Which list was more fun to write? The chances are good that it was more fun to make a list of how you want to spend your time rather than spend your money.
Cassie Mogilner at the University of Pennsylvania did some research and wrote an article called, “The Pursuit of Happiness: Time, Money, and Social Connection.“
Mogilner found that when people focus on time before entering a café, they are more social and have a better experience.
When people think about money before entering a café, they end up working more and have a less enjoyable experience.
Which method will you try next?
If you want to be happier, stop trying to do more with the time you have. Busy doesn’t always mean productive.
Instead, buy your time back by getting rid of the extra activities in your life that aren’t important.
- Make your to-do list a LOT shorter.
- Start saying “HELL YEAH!” or “no.”
- Think more about spending time, not money.
Which suggestion are you most excited to try?