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Volunteer Work Boosts Perception of Free Time

Volunteer Work Boosts Perception of Free TimeFor 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.

Source: Association for Psychological Science

Man volunteering photo by shutterstock.

Volunteer Work Boosts Perception of Free Time

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2018). Volunteer Work Boosts Perception of Free Time. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 23, 2019, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Aug 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Aug 2018
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