Media Releases

Time=Money=Less Happiness, Rotman study finds

February 6, 2012

TORONTO, ON – What does “free time” mean to you? When you’re not at work, do you pass the time — or spend it?

The dif­fer­ence may impact how hap­py you are. A new study shows peo­ple who put a price on their time are more like­ly to feel impa­tient when they’re not using it to earn mon­ey. And that hurts their abil­i­ty to derive hap­pi­ness dur­ing leisure activ­i­ties.

Treat­ing time as mon­ey “can actu­al­ly under­mine your well-being,” says San­ford DeVoe, one of two researchers at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Toronto’s Rot­man School of Man­age­ment who car­ried out the study, which is to be pub­lished in the Jour­nal of Exper­i­men­tal Social Psy­chol­o­gy.

Prof. DeVoe and PhD stu­dent Julian House based their con­clu­sions on three exper­i­ments. In each, a sub-group of par­tic­i­pants was primed, through sur­vey ques­tions, to think about their time in terms of mon­ey. This group sub­se­quent­ly showed greater impa­tience and low­er sat­is­fac­tion dur­ing leisure activ­i­ties intro­duced dur­ing the exper­i­ments. How­ev­er, those put into the sub-group report­ed more enjoy­ment and less impa­tience when they were paid dur­ing one of those activ­i­ties, which was lis­ten­ing to music.

The exper­i­ments’ results demon­strate that think­ing about time in terms of mon­ey “changes the way you actu­al­ly expe­ri­ence time,” says Prof. DeVoe. “Two peo­ple may expe­ri­ence the same thing, over the same amount of time, yet react to it very dif­fer­ent­ly.”

With growth over the last sev­er­al decades in jobs paid by the hour, it’s impor­tant for peo­ple to be “mind­ful,” of the impact this can have on their leisure enjoy­ment, he says, and allow them­selves “to real­ly smell the ros­es.”

For the lat­est think­ing on busi­ness, man­age­ment and eco­nom­ics from the Rot­man School of Man­age­ment, vis­it

The Rot­man School of Man­age­ment at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to is redesign­ing busi­ness edu­ca­tion for the 21st cen­tu­ry with a cur­ricu­lum based on Inte­gra­tive Think­ing. Locat­ed in the world’s most diverse city, the Rot­man School fos­ters a new way to think that enables the design of cre­ative busi­ness solu­tions.  The School is cur­rent­ly rais­ing $200 mil­lion to ensure Cana­da has the world-class busi­ness school it deserves. For more infor­ma­tion, vis­it




For more infor­ma­tion, please con­tact:

Ken McGuf­fin
Man­ag­er, Media Rela­tions
Rot­man School of Man­age­ment
Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to
Voice 416–946-3818