The Psychology of Happiness Part 3: Taking Time
A survey of US college students found a huge 94% said that they were overwhelmed by the amount of work they had to do. Of these 45% said that they had become so stressed that they could not function properly.
When we have too much to do we start to get stressed. When we have no relief from the stress we start to get depressed.
The global epidemic of stress is because in the modern world we are becoming more and more busy. Those of us old enough, can remember when we were told that all this modern technology was going to make so much more leisure time! The actual result is that we are all contactable 24/7, have the tools to do more and more is demanded of us. The cost of being stressed is a downward spiral in our psychological health as well as our physical health. We have reduced productivity and less creativity.
The quantity of our work affects the quality. The more we try to do, the less we actually accomplish. The same is true even when you enjoy what you’re doing. The truth is you really can get too much of a good thing. Think of the thing that you enjoy doing most. Now think about your next best activity. Now add your third favourite. Now, imagine you have an hour in which to carry out these three activities. Could you do it and still get as much satisfaction from all of them?
Make sure that you have a 2 hour period in each day when you can work without disruption. If nothing else, turn off your emails. This will increase your creativity, productivity and your sense of satisfaction.
Research has shown that when our basic needs have been met, additional income does not increase our levels of happiness. Everyone likes to get a pay rise, but the sense of worth that it brings is very short lived. It isn’t uncommon when people complain about having too much work for them to be offered a pay increase as an incentive to carry on being overworked. The truth is more money does not buy any more hours in the day. There are 24. Always have been, always will be.
Once you know that you can pay your bills, live safely and have a degree of job security, more money will not buy more happiness. Having more time – and the quality ways in which that time can be used – will increase your happiness. Do less, not more and always build in recovery time after going through anything that causes pressure in your life.
Work out ways you can increase time for the things that are personally important to you. Even an increase by 10 minutes a day is a step in the direction of being happier.