People Who Value Time More Than Money Are Happier and More Productive

Author Article

Money is deeply rooted in how we’ve evolved. It continues to produce powerful effects on our behavior.We spend a great deal of time thinking about money.

We talk about it, worry over it, stress over it, and wonder if we have enough to meet our immediate needs now and in the future.


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Most of us never seem to have enough, and we’re spending a good chunk of it earning money.

An additional $5,000 a year could make a huge difference in your life.

But, according to research, people who value time more than money are happier and more productive in life.

Prioritizing time is associated with greater happiness.

The scientists ran several studies, both online and in-person.

Over 4,000 people were asked the same question:

You guessed right.

Most people were practical: Around 64 percent surveyed answered “more money.”

But the people who said they’d prefer more time were generally happier.

But the research goes beyond that.

“What matters is the value people place on each resource,” the authors said.

“Beyond the amount of these resources people have, happiness is linked to the resource people want.”

The study further revealed something else about the participants. Brian Resnick of Vox writes:

People who tended to choose more time also tended to be:

  • Older, which suggests perhaps as we age we get more satisfaction from valuing our time over money
  • Parents, which suggests children can change our values on the time-money question
  • Married
  • Wealthier (but when the analysis controlled for this, the correlation between choosing time and happiness remained)

The study suggests that if you want to become a happier person — and you already make enough money to provide the essentials — you should start placing more value on time.

It’s also important to note that for some people, prioritizing money over time is a necessity, not a choice because they otherwise could not afford the essentials, even if they might prefer to prioritize time if they had a choice.

Plan your future time, today

Wealth is the ability to fully experience life. — Henry David Thoreau

The findings suggest your mentally towards TIME and MONEY has a lot to do with your happiness and level of productivity in life.

It doesn’t really matter which of the two a person has more of — instead, it’s all about a person’s mentality toward the two.

Even though money — or the lack thereof — is often cited as one of the most stress-inducing aspects of life, people who value their time more than their money are more likely be happier despite the amount of money they have.

Think about it: Money can come and go, but time only goes and doesn’t come back. Once lost, it’s gone.

“No matter what the outcome of our efforts, we all feel increasingly strapped for time, and often the things that we think will make us happy — the accomplishments we work so hard for — don’t. They most certainly do not give us back moments with our families and friends or more hours to ourselves,” writes Ashley Whillans on HBR.

How much is your time is worth?

What price would you put on an experience that broadens the mind, or brings you inner peace?

There are two kinds of people: those with time-first mindset and those with money-first mindset.

Many people fall in the second category.

When faced with a time-or-money decision, most people will choose money?

It’s more difficult to shift to a time-first mindset if you have valued money more than time for a very long time.

Shifting to a time-first mindset is really hard, especially when everything in your life depends on that income you make every month.

If you don’t know much your time is worth, it won’t even cross your mind to value time more than money.

How you use your time might be slightly more in your control than how much money you earn.

With more time, you can plan to use it better. How you value time is absolutely in your control.

Assuming basic needs are met, more money will give you just that — more money.

Research shows that once people make more than enough to meet their basic needs, additional money does not reliably promote greater happiness.

Yet over and over, our choices do not reflect this reality.

More time, on the other hand, could lead to all kinds of amazing experiences and shifts that might mean more to you than money ever could.

A focus on time builds more-rewarding careers.

People who value their time are more likely to pursue careers that they love.

And when people love what they do, they are less negatively affected by the stress of work, and are more likely to be more productive, creative and effective.

They also are less likely to quit.

Key takeaway

Time, not money, is your greatest investment.

Money helps you strive to live your life, but it’s time itself that gives you the greatest benefit.

Budget time carefully — as carefully as you would money.

Make choices that give you more time.

The next time you’re making a tough choice between having more time or more money, think of your happiness, stress-free life, if you can, not just your wallet.

This article first appeared on Medium