Recently I came across the concept of ‘time affluence’ that psychologist talk about.
Time affluence is the idea that you have time to do all the things that you enjoy because this makes you happier.
I know for a fact that the last five years leading up to my mum passing away in November 2019, I was so time poor and I would have done anything to have more time.
I spent many days on the road travelling to and from Nottingham to Birmingham to look after my mum. Most of my weekends were spent being a full time carer which included doing night shifts.
The time available to run my business, take care of my own needs and make time for friends and my partner was almost non-existent. I would have done anything to have more time.
There was some research done by Whillans et al in 2016 where they asked several people if they would prefer to have more time and less money or more money and less time.
What they found was that 69% of the people said they valued more money and 31% valued more time. However, what they also found was that the people who valued more time were happier.
The main reason for this was that when you have more time you tend to spend it with people you love and care about and having enjoyable experiences. Spending time doing the things you enjoy has an overall impact on your wellbeing.
During the lockdown period, I have certainly experienced having more time to do the things I enjoy on a more consistent basis, like exercise, longer meditations, pottering in the garden and oil painting.
As we ease out of lockdown, it is worth reflecting on how you have used your time? I know a lot of people have said that the lockdown period has given them the opportunity to do things that they never made time for pre lockdown.
It is important to think about how you will continue to carve out that time for yourself, your family and do the things that make you happy going forward. It would be all too easy to go back to the old ways.
There are many things you can do to become more ‘time affluent’ however it may mean breaking a few habits.
- Wake up 30 minutes earlier than your normal waking time.
- Take a break from the computer and spend five minutes doing something unrelated to work like dancing, singing or stepping out in the garden
- Set yourself reminders throughout the day to just stop and breathe deeply for about 5 minutes
- Have a complete break away from your mobile devices and social media. Go for a walk without your phone and appreciate your surroundings
- Make time at the end of your day to appreciate you and reflect on what you are grateful for.
Time is a created thing. To say “I don’t have time” is to say “I don’t want to”. Lao Tsu