We’re all given the same twenty-four hours a day – &, for most of us, that never feels enough. We flatter ourselves for being “so busy” in our jobs, yet end our days feeling depleted & without enough time to get to the gym, read the books we want to – or spend dedicated time with the people we love. And often, the recognition that we always feel “time poor” makes us resentful and unhappy.
Social psychologist and professor at UCLA’s Anderson School of Management, Cassie Holmes, has devoted her career to researching the role that time plays in our lives – with a specific interest in how different ways of thinking about & allocating our time might lead to greater life satisfaction & well-being.
Tied to all she’s learned, she’s just published, Happier Hour: How To Beat Distraction, Expand Your Time And Focus On What Matters Most, named by Amazon’s editors as one of their “Best Books” of 2022.
One of the first eye-opening observations she makes is that we don’t really need much more free time to make us content. A key study shows people are happiest with just 2 to 5 hours of discretionary time per day (ironically, when we’re given more than this, we grow bored & wanting more to challenge us).
Another discovery is that, as people get older, they tend to find a higher level of happiness in ordinary events (say, a walk with a friend) in contrast to younger people, who mostly see happiness boosts from extraordinary events (a great vacation or show). “Realizing their time is precious, these people become more prone to savor even the simplest of moments.”
Holmes observes that many of our daily experiences can be made to feel more meaningful when we, too, realize we won’t continue to do them every day forever. After admonishing her son to hurry up when he had literally stopped to smell the roses on the way to preschool, she says, “I didn’t realize that on that very morning I was trying to get Leo to hurry up, we had already completed 80 percent of those preschool commutes. Better to enjoy the roses on the last 20 percent.”
“How we decide to approach our hours and spend our days determines the happiness we get to enjoy in life,” Holmes says. “And, when it comes to time & creating a good schedule, ‘we are the artist.’ We’re not just an observer, subject to passive viewing. This is our time. The mosaic we create is the magnificent life that we get to live.”
This podcast, then, is dedicated to helping you become wiser in how you use life’s most precious resource — time — and in making decisions that will affect the happiness you experience every single day.