Time will make you happier than money

Science of Productivity Ep 001: Will Time Make You Happier than Money?

June 30, 2020

When given the choice, should you invest money to get more time or invest your time to earn more money?

That is the question that CEO Matt Plummer answers in this first Science of Productivity segment. The Science of Productivity segment brings you scientific insights you can trust into how to accomplish your goals faster. It is part of the Anything But Idle productivity news podcast.

This segment is part of the second episode of Anything But Idle: Get Some Google Cloud Training, and Other Productivity News posted on May 18, 2020.

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Prefer to read? Here’s the transcript:

The Science of Productivity segment brings you scientific insights you can trust into how to maximize the impact of your life and get an edge at work. In this week’s segment, I want to unpack whether you should prioritize increasing time or money in your life.

Recent research by Harvard Business School professor Ashley Whillans and her colleagues asked 1,000 college students which individual they most resembled:

Tina, who is willing to sacrifice money to have more time, or

Maggie, who would rather work more hours and make more money

Two years later, they followed up with these students to see how happy they were. The Tina’s who valued time were significantly happier than those who prioritized money.

In other research, Whillans looked at the countries with the highest level of satisfaction, including Columbia, Puerto Rico, Mexico, and Uzbekistan. Why was satisfaction so high in these countries despite low GDPs? While not the only explanation, Whillans found that people in these countries value leisure (that is, time) over work.

Warren Buffett famously said that he could buy pretty much anything in the world, but he couldn’t buy time. Fortunately, this is not quite true. You can invest your money to get more time (for example, hiring someone to do household chores) or forego money to preserve more time (skipping the demanding job opening you don’t love but pays more). To create a ripple effect that leads to a variety of positive outcomes, including overall well-being and job satisfaction, take the advice of this growing body of research and make decisions and investments that maximize the time you have to do what you love.


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