Can you really buy happier time?

By , March 20, 2019 3:04 pm

What should you spend your play money on? Increasingly, people are opting for meaningful experiences over things, with the recent Marie Kondo phenomenon making us question just how much stuff we really need. So when we heard about the idea of buying ‘happier time’, we had to share it with you!

It’s hard to believe that a Harvard professor has coined the term ‘happier time’. It’s a very un-academic title, but one that makes so much sense when you think about it.

According to Ashley Whillans, a Harvard professor who researches time/money trade-offs, people are happier when they make time-saving purchases that give them more time for the things in life that are really important to them – like being able to cook a healthy meal each night and exercise as well, or spending weekends enjoying family activities.

Time-saving purchases include outsourcing housework or living closer to work and paying higher rent as a result. Ashley Whillans put it like this in a recent interview with news.com.au

“Any way that we spend money in a way that might save us time – such as also buying ourselves into positive experiences – has reliable and positive effects on the happiness that we get from our days, our weeks, our months and our lives.”

If you had a few extra hours in your week, what would you do with that extra time? Would you …

  • Say yes to more quality time with your family?
  • Get to the farmers market every weekend rather than every couple of months?
  • Finally head to the yoga class you’ve been wanting to try?
  • Take the dog for those extra walks you know your fur-baby needs?
  • Tackle the growing pile of books and magazines on your bedside table?

There is so much we all want to do, if only we had the time! And now research is showing that when you step past the guilt about spending money to buy back some of your time, the impacts are positive and profound.

How to embrace happier time

Remember when everyone went crazy over The Little Book of Hygge a couple of years ago?

The book is all about spending more time at home with loved ones while doing activities such as making jam, playing board games and hosting potluck dinners.

It’s a wholesome picture. So why did we all go so mad for an idea that feels instantly familiar? Because we all instinctively crave that kind of authenticity and connection, and the book showed readers how to use their free time in a really meaningful way.

The Little Book of Hygge is written by Meik Wiking, a happiness researcher who looks into why people in Denmark consistently top happiness surveys. In it he says …

“Today when happiness researchers analyse the common denominators among those who consider themselves happy, a pattern emerges without exception that these people have meaningful and positive social relationships.”

Throughout the book he also refers to the good work-life balance in Denmark, which allows the Danes to foster these kinds of relationships in a very authentic way and, subsequently, enjoy a better quality of life.

So if you’re time poor and feeling like your work-life balance is off kilter, maybe you can actually do something about it. You can buy happier time.

It’s an idea endorsed by Harvard and happiness experts, but something you’ve probably always known deep down and just needed permission to test out …

Between all the commitments we have, sometimes there just isn’t enough time to simply enjoy being with those you love, so we’re here to help you find those extra hours in the day (without having to drag yourself out of bed at 4am). – The Mother Ducks