If Time Is Money, Then Free Time Is Frustrating
“Time is money” sounds like an efficient strategy. But such a perspective could undermine your overall happiness, according to a study in The Journal of Experimental Social Psychology (pdf)
Researchers surveyed subjects about their state of happiness before and after several experiments.
In one, subjects were asked to calculate their income as an hourly wage. They later reported less happiness from spending leisure time surfing the net, compared with people not asked to calculate hourly income.
In another test, subjects spent their leisure time listening to the opera Lakme. Again, those who thought of time as dollars reported more anxiety than did those who had not tied time to money.
But this decrease in happiness was mediated in a third experiment when subjects got paid to listen to the music. Which suggests that it’s the feeling of losing money during leisure activities that causes the drop in enjoyment.
The research indicates that thinking about time in terms of money changes the way we experience time. And may leave us too impatient to smell the roses—a truly costly outcome.
[The above text is a transcript of this podcast.]