Give Time to Get Time

Written by Deborah Aarts

Most entrepreneurs can’t escape the feeling that there aren’t enough hours in the day. One simple solution is to add a little charity to your schedule. Recently, Cassie Mogilner of the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, Zoë Chance of the Yale School of Management and Michael Norton of the Harvard Business School conducted experiments to determine how different activities affected people’s perceived availability of time. When subjects took a break in their day to help others—by volunteering, for instance—they felt as though they had more time at their disposal than when they spent the same intervals on themselves by working, playing or relaxing. This, the researchers found, was because giving time to others increased feelings of self-efficacy—that is, the subjects felt their time was well spent. This, in turn, made them feel more productive and much less time-starved. So, while taking a break for some benevolent activity won’t add a 25th hour to the clock, it may reduce the stress of feeling constantly under the gun—all while doing some good.

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