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We try to use our time wisely—both at work and in leisure—but we often waste it. We may blame work for stripping us of recreation, but when valuable free time comes around, we can often revert back to more work.

What explains the gap between how we use our time and how we want to use our time? A conversation with Harvard Business School professor Ashley Whillans helps us analyze our complex relationship with time and how to orient our time use around what we value. 

This episode was produced by Rebecca Rashid and is hosted by Arthur Brooks. Editing by A.C. Valdez and Claudine Ebeid. Fact-check by Ena Alvarado. Engineering by Matthew Simonson.  

What if one of the keys to happiness is how intentional you are with your time?

In this conversation, we talk about:

  • How to do a time audit
  • Funding time, finding time, and reframing time
  • The surprising extent to which prioritizing time over money predicts happiness–and what to do if you usually do the opposite
  • How to handle “time confetti”
  • The value of canceling meetings

Despite what we see on Instagram, self-care isn’t just about face masks and massages (although those are nice). It’s about spending your time, including your workday, in ways that prioritize the things and people you care about. Studies show that this kind of self-care makes us happier and more focused in our jobs.

But it can be a challenge to take care of ourselves when we’re on deadline, traveling too much, or reporting to a boss who emails at all hours. We speak with researcher Ashley Whillans about how managers can model healthy habits and how employees can make time to practice them. Ashley shares a personal experience about what happens when we don’t prioritize self-care, while Amy G. gets a firsthand lesson in an airport.

Technology has made our lives easier but it has also fragmented our leisure time, creating a near-universal feeling that we have too much to do and not enough time to do it. Today we speak with Harvard Business School Assistant Professor Ashley Whillans about how our views of money and experience of time poverty impact our sense of well-being. We open our conversation by exploring the idea of time poverty, with Ashley unpacking the many factors that contribute towards feeling time-poor. Diving into the specifics, we talk about how different income groups experience time poverty and how these feelings are influenced by job satisfaction.
‘Time famine’ is when you just don’t feel you have a spare moment… and it can make you miserable. It’s a feeling Dr Laurie Santos knows only too well, so she seeks help from her time affluence hero, Idler author Tom Hodgkinson. Tom lives life to the full, but he ensures he carves out time to wander around, think, chat with friends and even take naps. He argues that ‘idling’ is vital to leading a happy, creative and productive existence. Is he right? And if so, what can we all do to break free from the tyranny of time?