Money may not buy happiness. However, it can buy us time which can lead to more happiness. That is according to a recent Wall Street Journal article based upon several studies.
The article caught my eye, because I have been recently thinking about this very topic. Here are my thoughts on how to decide whether buying time would be good for you.
What Does this Mean, Buying Time?
Unlike money, we cannot make more hours or minutes in a day or a week. Studies seem to vary on whether we have less leisure time now or not, but it does not matter. We feel like we have less time. This results in more stress.
The only way to get or make more time, is to pay someone else to do our tasks. It could be as simple as getting your groceries delivered to hiring a lawn service to paying a dog walker.
What is Your Time Worth?
Knowing what your free time is worth gives you a point of reference when deciding to hire someone. While there are many ways to figure this out, I recommend visiting ClearerThinking’s Value of your time calculator. Please make sure you read the first page carefully. Otherwise your results may be misleading.
For me, I found out that I under-estimated the value of my free time. I will likely take the quiz in a few months to see if my answer changes.
If you are an entrepreneur, you may find it hard to calculate your hourly worth. You may either under or over-estimate it.
Entrepreneurs need to know what are their best skills and from there, decide what can be delegated. All the while, keeping an eye on the bottom line. My suggestion is to seriously consider any consequences before hiring help. This is extremely important if you are first starting out and are generating little or no income.
I had a client several years ago, Tom (not his real name) who paid for one money coaching session. Tom had just started a business. In his mind, he thought that making lunch was not worth his time. Instead, he was spending $10 – $15 per day because he felt his time during the day was more valuable. I did agree on principle that his time during the workday was valuable. However, he was not busy in the evenings and lived with his parents. There was nothing preventing him from preparing meals in the evening and it would not impact his time during the day.
Can You Justify it?
The article expressed that some people feel bad about paying someone else to do something they don’t like. This is interesting because I feel this way too. However, we could instead think that we are offering an opportunity for someone to earn money.
Finally, can you part with the money verses doing-it-yourself? For me, this is a big challenge. It’s the saver in me that prevents me from hiring help. (To be fair, I am very motivated to save so I can travel. Having specific goals can make the decision to spend or save much easier.)
My housekeeping experience.
I hate housekeeping. But you will always find my home neat and clean. At some point, when I owned my house, the hatred of housekeeping outweighed the cost of hiring a housekeeper.
Thinking back, I always did feel really good and happy after Isabella cleaned my home. It was worth the cost and I did not have to spend my time on a dreaded activity. I now live in a small condo and it seems like a waste of money to hire a housekeeper.
Would You Rather Do-it-Yourself?
After figuring out what your time is worth and being able to justify it, you may still decide to do it yourself. Some tasks may appear to be a waste of time. However, they might be your way of meditation or physical exercise. You may want to walk your dog, because you enjoy the quiet morning and evening walks. Perhaps mowing your lawn gives a chance to be outside when your workday is spent indoors sitting at a desk.
Apparently, when given a choice, we choose to spend money on material things rather than buying time. This is despite knowing that saving time will bring us more happiness. Perhaps it has something to do with rush of buying that thing. Or maybe it is the overexposure of advertising. If pursuit if happiness is high on your list, next time given a choice, consider buying time instead of that massage.
What do think about buying time, instead of things? Do you hire people? If so, what tasks or jobs do you find offers you the most free-time?