To be, or to do? That is the real question

greater life satisfaction, time to listen,


If you are one of the permanently busy, and who isn’t, these days, have you ever taken time out to ask yourself what it’s all about?

Do I really need to be in three places at once, or at least in impossibly quick succession? Will life as we know it end if I sit down with a well-deserved coffee for half an hour and finish the cleaning later? Which do I do first, feed the kids, phone mum, book the holiday, do the ironing, check our bank account online or make time to listen to my partner?

Our advice is to park the stress for a moment and remember that you are a human being and not a ‘human do-ing’, which we imagine to be some sort of robot that tirelessly and uncomplainingly works 24/7.

A recently published international study showed that spending money on time-saving services may result in greater life satisfaction, when over 6,000 adults in the US, Canada, Denmark and the Netherlands were asked about their spending habits.

Those who bought services in order to gain time –- by paying other people to do the cleaning or cooking, for example –- reported greater happiness compared to those who did not, regardless of their level of income. Yet, surprisingly, only just under half of the richest people interviewed spent money on outsourcing the tasks they disliked.

While the reasons for this are not clear, and it could be anything from feeling bad about getting others to do the nasty stuff to the cultural pressure to be self-sufficient, the outcome is perfectly clear. Having more time to devote to what we enjoy is important for our happiness and wellbeing.

So, go on… smell the roses, wonder at the stars, hug the kids and simply enjoy being the wonderful person you are. And if you are really stressed, there’s someone ready to listen and be supportive at your local UCKG HelpCentre or on our 24-Hour Helpline, 020 7686 6000.

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