Hiring help will make you happier, research suggests - So why aren’t we doing it?
When I first saw the headline of a story shared earlier this week by CBC called, “Want to be happier? Hire a housekeeper,” I thought to myself, “Duh.”
I know very few people who actually enjoy scrubbing toilets, mopping floors and changing sheets on a regular basis (yes, those people do actually exist), and have many friends who instead opt to invest in outsourcing those onerous tasks in favour of saving time.
I’m more of a master tidier. I can make things look clean and properly placed despite the dust bunnies and tiny toys that may call the corners of my couch’s under-area home.
Deep cleaning is a duty that I totally detest, yet I’ve never invested in having someone take the dirty dishes off my overly-stacked plate. But why?
A recent study conducted by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) found that “across seven studies with over 6,000 respondents, spending money to buy time was linked to greater life satisfaction, and the typical, detrimental effect of time stress on life satisfaction was attenuated among individuals who used money to buy time.”
As part of the study, participants were allocated a small budget and assigned to purchase either material items, or time-saving services with their money. The results “showed that participants reported greater end-of-day positive affect after making a time-saving purchase than after making a material purchase.”
Yet, despite the potential benefits of buying time, most of the respondents had not allocated discretionary income to buying time in their everyday lives - even when they could easily afford it. In fact, less than half of the millionaires that were surveyed were currently spending money on outsourcing those disliked round-the-house tasks.
Affordability was noted as one of the top reasons why more people don’t invest in time-saving tasks. But the average spend of those who do hire help sits at approximately $80-$100 per month (that’s roughly the same cost as a haircut or a monthly spend on pick-up coffees). The results of this research shows that investing in time-saving tasks isn’t frivolous, but in fact fundamental when it comes to living a more satisfying life.
I’ve always struggled with the dichotomy of wanting to do it all, but never having enough time to get it all done. Feelings of guilt arise when I consider outsourcing tasks that I know I can complete myself, but I realize now that it’s important for me (and those like me) to realize that taking those trying tasks off your to-do list will only make your life a little easier to manage.
If you truly want to be happier, consider buying more time, not things.