Sometimes it doesn’t feel like there’s enough time in the day to get everything done. And for entrepreneurs and small-business owners, you’re typically wearing a lot of hats and working long hours. So when it comes to completing non work-related tasks such as grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning, they can often fall to the bottom of your to-do list.
Luckily today, with companies such as TaskRabbit and Uber, it’s become easier to pay someone else to do these tasks for you and buy yourself more time to work on your business. It will cost you — but it turns out many people are willing to pay. And that’s a good thing, according to recent research.
The study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found that people who spent money to save time were less stressed about how much time they had, and as a result, were happier.
If you’re stressed about drafting a pitch, coding your website or securing funding, doing small tasks such as grocery shopping and cleaning can sound like time-sucking nightmares. The good news is: outsourcing time-consuming tasks can not only give you the time to do what you do best, but keep you smiling.
“Money can buy happiness if you spend it right,” said Elizabeth Dunn, University of British Columbia psychology professor and co-author of the study.
In the study, researchers conducted a series of surveys with more than 6,000 people in the U.S., Denmark, Canada and the Netherlands to understand how a person’s spending habits affects the way they feel. Overall, those who spent their money on things such as ordering takeout, taking a cab and hiring household help reported greater life satisfaction than those who spent their money on other things.
As entrepreneurs, time is extremely valuable — however, so is money. But the study found that whether a person was rich or poor, spending money on saving time boosted happiness levels. “If there’s some task that just thinking about it fills you with dread, then it’s probably worth considering whether you can afford to buy your way out of it,” Dunn said.
So does that mean money can actually buy happiness? No. Buying new clothes, gadgets and other stuff doesn’t in fact make you happier — only buying time does. To test this, the researchers conducted another experiment where they provided participants $40 on two consecutive weekends and instructed them to spend the money on either material or timesaving purchases. Participants were asked their mood at the end of the day, and those who spent their money to save time were found to have less time-related stress and increased well-being. Material purchases did not have this effect.
Yet, whether you’re a busy entrepreneur, an employee or a c-suite executive — it’s important to be mindful of the tasks you outsource or automate. While we have the resources to automate nearly everything today, doing tasks such as cooking and driving can help you build a diverse set of skills and give you opportunities to spend quality time with your significant other or family members.