What would you do with an extra hour in your day?

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NAB released the results of an Australian well-being research study yesterday and Cristy-Lee McQueen on ABC Radio Perth gave me a call for some comment (You can listen to the interview here… I’m Cristy’s first guest on the show and we chat for about 8 minutes).

Cristy wanted to get my thoughts on one part of the research that suggested Australian’s report they would be willing to pay an average of $68 to have an extra hour in their day.

The Findings

Interestingly, women aged between 18 to 29, according to the report, would pay up to $131 for an extra hour in their day, whereas for men in the same age bracket, report they’d pay up to $48. The highest men would pay was $100 for those aged 30 to 49, whereas in the same age bracket for women, they’d only pay $38.

So, what does that tell us? Not much really, except that most of us would agree that finding an extra hour in our days would be a good thing. It is an interesting question though isn’t it… What would you do with an extra hour in your day?

According to the NAB Well-being report, what’s eating our time the most are the long commutes for many city people, emails and house work.

One of my comments to Cristy was for many people, they’re already choosing to ‘pay’ to get that extra hour in a range of different ways. One of the most obvious ways is for people who choose not to take an hour to prepare and cook their evening meal. They choose to pay for takeaway/home delivery.

This brings up some other relevant research by Elizabeth Dunn and Michael Norton regarding the best ways to spend our money to boost our well-being.

Money and Your Well-being

Dunn’s and Norton’s research in their excellent book ‘Happy Money’ suggests there are five strategies in how we use money that will boost our overall sense of well-being. They are:

  1. Buy experiences – stop collecting more ‘stuff’ in your life. Experiences (especially those shared with others) are shown to boost well-being more than physical stuff in our lives.
  2. Make it a treat – rather than having three or four coffees in a day, make it a treat and reward yourself maybe just with that morning coffee (although some people see that as a punishment). This is based on other related research on the benefits of delayed gratification and avoiding reducing the value of an experience by overdoing it, and just getting used to it.
  3. Buy time – this is the core of the NAB’s Well-being Report. Dunn and Norton suggest if you’re going to buy time by outsourcing to others, make sure you’re only outsourcing the tasks that you really don’t like or aren’t good at. Invest in things that you enjoy and are passionate about.
  4. Pay now consume later – In a world where we’ve been ‘sold’ the idea of conveniently (for the banks) to consume now and pay later via credit cards and both short and long-term borrowing, Dunn’s and Norton’s research shows there’s more value in paying up front and experiencing later. An example of this is the extended joy you feel when you pay for a holiday in advance and then get to enjoy the ‘anticipation of the experience’ all the way up to and including when you actually physically go on holidays.
  5. Invest in others – this one is hard to ignore because we know how good we feel when we give to others without any expectation of return. Australians have recently shown how we’re prepared to invest in others through the millions of dollars being raised for our farmers on the east coast of Australia who are experiencing the worst drought for many years.

My main tips for ‘finding’ that extra hour in your day:

  1. Stop kidding yourself that you’re not letting social media sap your time. Turn it off (after you’ve read my blog haha) and only turn it back on a few times a day to check in.
  2. Take control of your emails. Use the 4D approach (Deal with it now; Delegate it; Diarise to do it and move it out of your inbox to tasks; Dump/Delete it) – the aim should be to have zero emails in your inbox at the end of any day.
  3. Get Intentional. Sonya Lyubomirsky’s research around what impacts our overall sense of well-being and life satisfaction suggests 50% is genetic, 10% is environmental/contextual, and 40% is based on our intentional choices and actions.
  4. If you’ve got a long commute to work, make the most of the time… especially if you’re on public transport – put the social media feeds ‘on hold’ and do something that will feed your soul… read or listen to a podcast; do some planning or goal setting. If you’re driving, especially if you’re consistently in city traffic that’s a moving car park and you’re finding it eating away at your well-being and patience (and if public transport just isn’t an option), podcasts are a great way to get more out of your commute.

You’ll notice I’ve left out the obvious – get up an hour earlier or go to bed an hour later, because most of us are doing that already.

More Time, Trust and Well-Being

Our well-being is directly impacted by the amount of trust we have in our lives. Our confidence for self-trust, our courage to trust others and our combined character and competence to earn others’ trust. If we can trust ourselves more to focus on truly what matters in our lives, we find (or buy) the time we need.

If we can trust others to help us in our professional and personal lives, it boosts our potential to get things done easier and quicker. If we apply our combined competence and character to earn others’ trust, we boost our relationship experiences – and when the relationships in our lives are positive and strong, everything else just seems to flow.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed and would like to ‘find’ or even ‘buy’ an extra hour in your day to do things that feed your soul and benefit your well-being, give some of these ideas a crack and see what difference it can make.


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