Free Time and Your Happiness

What do you do with your free time? Do you put a price on your time or simply enjoy it?  According to new research, the answer may impact your happiness.

Researchers at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management found that people who treat time as money are more likely to feel impatient when they’re not using that time to earn some dough, which hurts their ability to be happy during leisure activities.

The researchers conducted three experiments in which a sub-group of participants was encouraged to think about their time in terms of money through survey questions. The group then showed more impatience and lower satisfaction during leisure activities during the experiments, but the participants put into the sub-group reported greater enjoyment and less impatience when they were paid during one activity, which involved listening to music.

The authors of the study say these findings show that putting a price on your time changes how you actually experience time. They say with the increase in jobs paid by the hour over the last several decades, it’s important for people to pay attention to the impact this can have on the enjoyment of their free time. They suggest people allow themselves “to really smell the roses.”