Stress and life dissatisfaction are often caused by being chronically “time poor”—having too many things to do and not enough time to do them. We equate time poverty with success and pay the physical and emotional price of rushing around.
Harvard academic Ashley Whillans’s Time Smart: How to Reclaim Your Time and Live a Happier Life (2020) shows that people with more free time are happier, healthier, and more productive than people who work all the time and make more money.
The effects and costs of time poverty are so stark that researchers now compare it to a famine—a severe, drastic shortage of time affecting all of society—that carries many of the attendant negative consequences that a natural disaster produces. … No matter our age, education, or income, we share the same reality: none of us knows how much time we have left. One day, time runs out and tomorrow never comes. … Chasing money is valuable to a point, but it’s an infinite errand. You can always try to get more—and research shows people do that, no matter how much money they have already. Given how precious time is, we should put it first.
Idea for Impact: Develop a time-centric mindset and work fewer hours if necessary. Consider time as currency and become more purposeful, dodging mindless tasks and unfulfilling chores. Ask how much time you will give up for more money or productivity. Money is a powerful tool that can buy you time and amplify your freedom to pursue your values and priorities.