If you thought money is what ultimately brings more happiness, you could not be farther from the truth. New research suggests that valuing your time more than the pursuit of money can make you a lot happier.
"It appears that people have a stable preference for valuing their time over making more money, and prioritising time is associated with greater happiness," said lead researcher Ashley Whillans from the University of British Columbia in Canada.
The researchers also found that older people were more likely to say they valued their time compared to younger people.
"As people age, they often want to spend time in more meaningful ways than just making money," Whillans added.
The findings are based on six studies involving more than 4,600 participants.
Some of the studies used real-world examples, such as asking a participant whether he would prefer a more expensive apartment with a short commute or a less expensive apartment with a long commute.
A participant also could choose between a graduate programme that would lead to a job with long hours and a higher starting salary or a programme that would result in a job with a lower salary but fewer hours.
"Having more free time is likely more important for happiness than having more money," Whillans said.
If people want to focus more on their time and less on money in their lives, they could take some actions to help shift their perspective, such as working slightly fewer hours, paying someone to do disliked chores like cleaning the house, or volunteering with a charity.
"Even giving up a few hours of a paycheck to volunteer at a food bank may have more bang for your buck in making you feel happier," Whillans noted.
The findings were published online in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science.