Time is Money

Some people find it therapeutic to cook, clean, shop for groceries, mow the lawn or undertake the daily tasks that keep life humming along. But for those who do not enjoy or have time to complete these obligations, don’t feel guilty about opening your wallet—it doesn’t have to be that wide. When it comes to hiring help, I have always been a strong proponent of paying for as much help that is affordable—whether that’s as little as a loyal babysitter or as much as a full-time, live-in housekeeper.

Many people (especially women) feel guilty about paying for help. However, those who attempt to do it all are often unable to complete everything on the “to-do” list and frequently don’t have enough time or energy for their family, friends or recreational activities. When I work with a person confronting this predicament, I am usually faced with someone exhausted, burnt out and struggling to enjoy life.

For many, the goal of life balance seems hopelessly unattainable because they can’t climb out from under all the “must dos.” They don’t consider the psychological value of paying for services to reclaim precious time. It should be considered a health expense because the money spent frees up time for activities that are more valuable to physical and emotional health, like spending time with family and friends, pursuing a hobby, exercising or staying on top of medical appointments.

Still not convinced? Research demonstrates that, regardless of income level, people who prioritize free time are happier than those who spend the same amount of money on material items. It is worth considering whether the money that would be spent on more stuff could be better earmarked for services that make life a little bit easier.

If there is not much extra money in the budget, a bit of creativity can be the key to finding time. Friends can take turns caring for one another’s children so each can have a free afternoon, maybe a neighborhood teen would mow the lawn for less than a professional gardener and maybe…just maybe…your own children can learn how to make beds, wash dishes and fold laundry! A messy home is the sign of someone with a little free time they choose to spend as they wish.

dr. susan bartell

dr. susan bartell

Dr. Susan Bartell is a nationally-recognized psychologist and author practicing in Port Washington. She also speaks throughout the country on a wide range of topics to help individuals and groups improve emotional and physical health and life balance. drsusanbartell.com