A couple of months ago, I wrote a post about Investing in Time Rather than Things, for Happiness after I read about a study showing that using money to buy yourself more time results in greater happiness than using money to buy things. It’s especially beneficial to invest in freeing yourself up from tasks you dislike doing.
Many people hire people to help keep their house clean, to paint the exterior or interior of their house, or to make repairs to their house. Every time you ask yourself, “Do I pay someone so I can use the time another way?,” that’s investing in time.
Of course, we all have a limited amount of money and make decisions all the time on how to spend (or invest) it. The key is choosing what will make the most impact for you. Many people enjoy walking and being out in the fresh air mowing their lawns. Others would greatly prefer to pay someone do it for them.
In the post, and in my book, I wrote if you can’t afford the money to outsource all the tasks you dislike, perhaps you can barter.
When our kids were young, my wife did some informal bartering with family members. In one case, she helped a family member organize things in her house, a task my wife is very good at, and that family member helped shop for clothes for our kids, a task my wife found frustrating.
Other ways people barter: watching a dog when a neighbor, family, or friends go away; watching kids for neighbors, family, or friends; picking up family and friends at the airport.
I used to frequently pick up family at the airport (and vice versa) when I was in my 20s. At a certain point, when we and other family members became very busy with all the activities around raising our kids, we decided to invest in taxi rides. We agreed that paying for those rides was a good investment—each of us investing in rides for ourselves, to free up time for the other. (And, of course, now there are plenty of ways to pay for a ride-share.)
Now, I’m in a new phase. My kids have grown up and moved out and when they fly into town or arrive via train or bus, I look forward to picking them up. When they arrive, I am eager to spend time with them in the car ride from the airport or train station. When they depart, I love spending the extra time with them en route to the airport or train station. Being with them is wonderful use of my time.
What are some decisions you have made to invest in your time? Please join the conversation with your comments…