THE BLOG

Money May Not Buy Happiness, But Time Does

11/07/2012 08:08 am ET | Updated Jan 07, 2013

Life is busy -- between work, relationships, errands and chores, there's not usually a lot of time left over for doing the things we love. Maybe you've had a partially started art project in the closet for years or a good book you bought months ago, just eyeing you from your bedside table. Doesn't matter what it is, just that you don't seem to have time to get to it.

We've all heard the old saying, money doesn't buy happiness... But what it does buy is time.

And time, my dear, time buys happiness.

Think about what you could do with an extra hour or two each day. Would you be less stressed? Finally get around to that passion project? Maybe start a garden or have more nights out with the girls? Perhaps extra time is what you need to finally get to the gym?

So many of us spend hours of our lives doing things simply because we think we should. Things like cleaning our house from top to bottom when we could hire a maid service instead. Entertaining the kid(s) while we try to accomplish work or housework, when there's a perfectly good sitter in the neighborhood. Maybe even changing our own oil or waxing the car when there's a great auto detail shop or carwash nearby.

Do you ever think to yourself, "I wish I could buy myself more time. If I had one extra hour a day, or one afternoon, I could really make some headway with [insert that awesome thing you want to do]!" I used to feel this way, too... until one day I realized I can buy myself that time.

Literally.

When I started hiring out parts and pieces of my life and business, my stress levels were significantly reduced overnight. I also have more time to write, create new products and services, get to the beach, meet new people and live my life. This leads to more productivity when I am working which makes it easy to earn more than I've invested.

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How to buy yourself more time to create a joy-filled life:

1) Get honest about where you can buy more time.

Start a log and take note of how you spend your days from start to end for at least a week. All the errands, household chores, tasks for work or taking care of the kids.

Once you've done that, grab yourself some colored highlighters and work back through. Using a different color for each, highlight:

  • Things you could delegate to someone else. Whether it's your husband, roommate or someone at the office, if you don't have to do it, highlight it. Don't worry about whether or not someone else will actually do it, just get honest about the fact that you don't have to be the one to handle it.

  • Things you could hire out to someone else. Again, we're not worrying abou whether or not you can afford to, but what are things you could hire out to a contractor, personal assistant, babysitter, company or other individual? Where are you wasting time on things when you could pay someone else to handle them?
  • Things you absolutely have to do yourself. This might be everything from brushing your teeth to checking Facebook to blogging on your site each week. Tasks that you must do in your life and are not an option to hire out or delegate.
  • 2) Recognize that you deserve time to pursue what brings you joy.

    Before you go any further, it's so important to recognize that you deserve this time. It doesn't make you lazy or selfish to want to pursue hobbies, passion projects or anything else that makes you feel good. In fact, when you're doing what makes you happy, healthy, fulfilled and joyful, you're of better service to your family, clients and the world. Whether you want and need an hour a day or just one full day to do what you love, you deserve it. Remember that and make it happen! Don't let someone else's expectations of how you should spend your time keep you from moving forward.

    3) Learn to let go, delegate and ask for the support you need.

    Now that you know where you can delegate or hire out, get serious about making it happen. What is one things you're doing that's taking your time that you could easily hire out? What's something that's affordable enough to be worth it to you. It might seem like wasting money to hire a babysitter to sit at home with your child, while you're writing in the other room for one or two hours a week... But once you have a chapter of that novel written or your first painting hanging on the wall, you'll understand just how priceless that time is.

    And get creative! Hire an college intern for free or very cheap to help you out. Offer the sitter job to a kid in your neighborhood who would be overjoyed to get $10 or $15 an hour. Find websites that let you post what you need and invite contractors and vendors to come to you with varying bids. There's always an option that fits your needs and budgets, I promise.

    4) Finally, ask yourself where you can be more efficient.

    There's a reason I asked you to highlight all the things you absolutely have to do yourself, and that's to see where you can be more efficient or make better use of your time. If you accurately log everything you're doing each day, you might be surprised at how much time you waste on things like TV, Facebook or some other mindless activity.

    Just becoming aware is the first step. The second step? Make changes.

    If you can't afford to hire help or there's no one to delegate to, you can still make better use of your time. Take a look at everything you're doing and see where you can make changes. Would it make more sense to prep meals for the week on one day, rather than running to the store almost every day for dinner ingredients? Could you maybe pair your grocery shopping with working out at the gym so you're only driving around once rather than twice?

    Take action now!

    1. Keep a log of how you spend your time for one week. Start tomorrow.
    2. Choose one thing you really want to do... whether it's writing for a couple hours once or twice a week, getting back to the gym for a workout class or taking a class at your local college.
    3. Take a look at your highlighted log and choose one thing to delegate in order to buy you however much time you feel comfortable with and can afford to start moving towards your goals and dreams.

    Stephenie Zamora is the founder of www.stepheniezamora.com, a full-service, life-purpose development, design and branding boutique. Here she merges the worlds of personal development and branding to help young women build passion-based businesses. Click here to download her free guide, "The Unexpected Trick to Transforming Your Life With ONE Single Question."

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