I was recently asked by a friend (let’s call her Alex) if I’d rather have more money or time. “What am I going to do with all the money if I don’t have time to spend it on things that bring me joy, like doing this pottery class with you?” I said. My answer didn’t seem to surprise her.
“Hmmm, interesting.” Alex nodded. “Plus, you can use the time to make more money.” She laughed, and then we exchanged one of those “that’s-why-you’re-my-friend” looks.
Interestingly, I googled the phrase “manage time” and saw that it has a 60,500 monthly search volume (the number of times a keyword is searched for in a specific time frame) while “make/earn more money” only has 260! Research also shows that money is associated with happiness, but only up to an income of $75,000. Even after controlling for income, those who wish for more time tend to be happier than those who wish for more money.
While the data is inspiring, it comes with a catch-22: Time is finite, and these days, too many things are vying for our attention. As our jobs become more dependent on technology — especially for people working on global teams — it’s easy to fall prey to an “ always-on” culture. When this happens, we end up managing our time reactively and making choices driven by whatever tasks land on our desks.
Despite how hard we work, the majority of us clearly value our time over our paychecks. If this is true, how can we get more intentional about how we use our time? How can we plan our days thoughtfully, and still carve out some space for ourselves and our loved ones?