It's high time that we all stop and smell the roses.
Focusing more on the stresses that come with a high-paying job as opposed to what we genuinely enjoy is not only detrimental to our health, but it's also getting in the way of our happiness. A recent study published in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science has found that people who value time over money experience greater happiness. "It appears that people have a stable preference for valuing their time over making more money, and prioritizing time is associated with greater happiness," said lead researcher Ashley Whillans, a doctoral student in social psychology at the University of British Columbia, in a statement.
Whillans and her colleagues conducted six studies involving 4,600 participants, where a portion of the studies were based on real-world situations. Participants were asked if they would prefer a more expensive apartment with a short commute or a less expensive apartment with a long commute. They were also asked to choose between a graduate program that would lead to a job with long hours and a higher starting salary, or a program that would result in a job with a lower salary but fewer hours.
Results were almost evenly split down the middle, with a little over half of participants saying they prioritize their time more than their money — a consistent trait for daily life and major life events. As the participants got older, they were more likely to value their time over their bank account. Among the participants from the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom, gender or income didn't seem to influence whether they were more concerned with their time or their money.
"As people age, they often want to spend time in more meaningful ways than just making money," Whillans said. "Having more free time is likely more important for happiness than having more money. Even giving up a few hours of a paycheck to volunteer at a food bank may have more bang for your buck in making you feel happier."
Whillans' team did recommend a few actions that could help workaholics focus less on their cash flow and more on the time they could be spending with friends and family: work slightly fewer hours; pay someone to do disliked chores, like cleaning the house; or volunteer with a charity.
Now, clearly, these recommendations will be harder to full-fill if you work in a job field with high demands or a lot of responsibilities. But at some point, we all have to decide if a high paying job is worth the long hours that keep us away from what we love most; and the higher stress levels that come with it.
Source: Whillans A, et al. Social Psychological and Personality Science. 2016.