One of the most frequent questions people pose when it comes to happiness and wealth these days is whether spending money to save time bring about happiness. According to a recent study, it does.
If we consider the amount of time, it takes us to clean the house, buy groceries and partake, many other tasks we can hire to be done by others, it will be more than clear how much time and energy is “wasted” doing these very tasks.
The National Academy of Sciences was as curious as we are in these very questions, and therefore acquired this matter more seriously to see the outcome. Hence, they took the study to another level and surveyed participants in search of the answer.
They found that investing to save time might indeed decrease stress levels to a significant amount, which in turn raises and improves our happiness.
Ashley Whillians, one of the authors of the study and assistant professor at Harvard Business School stated, “People who spent money to buy themselves time, such as by outsourcing disliked tasks, reported greater overall life satisfaction.”
The study itself was grounded on completed surveys from various countries, which made it all the more reliable, not limiting the responses to only one region. On the contrary, the same results were not received when individuals invested in material possessions.
In the first part of the study, around 4,500 individuals were surveyed in the U.S, Canada, the Netherlands and Denmark regarding their happiness and investing in hiring people to complete their tasks.
The tasks mentioned involved ordering takeout instead of cooking, hiring a house cleaner to clean their house or running any type of errand they did not have to complete themselves. The next part of the study included approximately 1,800 Americans who did the same thing, but included tasks from a wider spectrum.
The findings were that around 28% of the first individuals who undertook the study and 50% of the ones who did the second one stated they invested in saving time. Not surprisingly, they were the ones who proved to live a happier life overall.
Perhaps the most interesting part of the study was that those investing in timesaving activities were not people of higher rank. Even individuals who led normal lives with average pay rates invested in the mentioned tasks to save time and live a more fulfilling life.
Elizabeth Dun, professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia and author of the paper stated that if we did tasks that sucked the life out of us that could be avoided, then the money is definitely worth your while. This of course, only applies to those who can afford it.
The researchers were not completely satisfied with these results, still curious if investing in completed tasks brings happiness in itself, they continues with the study.
For this reason, they decided to experiment with some Canadians to see the result. Initially they gave the partakers about $40 to spend over two weekends in a row so they can save time in menial tasks, entertainment or anything that made them happy. They then asked them how they felt after doing this once the day was over.
As expected, they felt happier and calmer due to investing in timesaving tasks that brought them pure happiness. However, they did not feel the same serene happiness when spending money on possessions in buying possessions.
Surprisingly enough, the study also proved that the wealthy did not acknowledge this effect and would rather do the tasks themselves than invest in something like this.
For this study, they examined over 800 Dutch millionaires who barely spent money on streamlined tasks. They would rather do it themselves than pay someone to do the job for them due to work principle and value.
Although they could no doubt afford such an investment, they reported not being able to accept the fact that someone will be undertaking a task they could easily do themselves.
To conclude the overall intriguing experiment, Whillians stated, “We want to seem like we have it all together and we might be therefore resistant to spending money on timesaving purchases even when we can afford it.”