Prioritising money over time can undermine your happiness

by Thomas Oppong

Time is literally money if you know what to do with it. Warren Buffet is the best person to study if you want to learn how time makes money.

Prioritising money over time undermines our happiness but a greater percentage of people are more than willing to sacrifice time to make more money.

Money is the end goal for many people, but if the purpose of making money is to find happiness, it’s important to invest it in the right things.

Some people think they don’t have enough time to do all the things that they want to do. A simple time inventory can change your mind about your perception of time and how you are using it.

“Research suggests that giving up discretionary income to have more free time might promote happiness.

Dozens of studies also show that how you spend your money is as important for happiness as how much money you make.

Buying time and experiences promote happiness

In a study on the relationship between money and happiness, the researchers Elizabeth W. Dunn, Daniel T. Gilbert, and Timothy D.Wilson suggested that people buy more experiences and fewer material goods.

Use your money to benefit others rather than yourself, buy many small pleasures rather than fewer large ones and pay close attention to the happiness of others to get more happiness for your money, they recommended, among other principles.

There is nothing wrong with spending quality time to make money. But when you work hard every single day and earn good money, be certain it’s well spent on what science says will make you happy.

If you are seeking happiness, it pays to deilberately invest in memorable experiences — like skill acquisition, trips, epic hikes, special meals, taking a class in a hobby you love and going on an adventures (when it’s safe).

If you find it hard to find time for experiences because of your schedule, especially for those of us juggling lots of responsibilities, buy time by investing in time-saving services that can free up some of your time for the experiences you need to enjoy your life. Experiences never fade but objects always do.

“One of the enemies of happiness is adaptation. We buy things to make us happy, and we succeed. But only for a while. New things are exciting to us at first, but then we adapt to them,” says Cornell Professor Dr. Gilovich.

Experiences may only last for a few minutes, hours or days but they become part of us. Your life (identity) is an accumulation of the places you’ve been, lessons you’ve learned, and the experiences you’ve had with people you care about.

“The thrill of purchasing things fades quickly but the joy and memories of experiences, from epic adventures to minute encounters, can last a lifetime,” writes Ilya Pozin of Forbes. Experiences can never be duplicated.

Learning experiences in life can also help you find fulfilment. Learn to draw, illustrate, paint, or join photography class. The process is not only fun and rewarding, it can also broaden your horizons.

Spending your time and money on the development of new career skills is also a fantastic way to prepare yourself for the future and explore new opportunities in life you may never have considered.

Investing in experiences is a much better way to expanding yourself as a person — you can experience joy in the process.

“Our experiences are a bigger part of ourselves than our material goods. You can really like your material stuff. You can even think that part of your identity is connected to those things, but nonetheless they remain separate from you. In contrast, your experiences really are part of you. We are the sum total of our experiences,” Dr. Gilovich tells Fast Company.

Buying things guarantees the kind of happiness that evaporates quickly and leaves us wanting more. The memories that linger are what matter most. Invest in experiences that make you come alive.

Originally published by Thomas Oppong on Medium.com.

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