For many people, life is fast-paced, with free time a rarity. But a new study suggests a paradoxical method to expand our sense of leisure time: performing volunteer work.
Researchers performed four separate experiments and found that people’s subjective sense of having time, called “time affluence,” can be increased when they help others.
Investigators found volunteer work improves an individual’s perception of having free time as compared to wasting time, spending time on oneself, and even when a person’s has an unexpected amount of “free” time.
Cassie Mogilner, Ph.D., of The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania believes this is because giving away time boosts one’s sense of personal competence and efficiency, and this in turn stretches out time in our minds.
Ultimately, giving time makes people more willing to commit to future engagements despite their busy schedules.
This new research, conducted by Mogilner and co-authors Drs. Zoe Chance of the Yale School of Management and Michael Norton of Harvard Business School, is forthcoming in the journal Psychological Science.