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Spending Time


Techniques Happiness > Spending Time

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Think carefully about how you spend your time. Consider all the things you can do and whether these will make you happy or unhappy. Consider also whether these will make you happy or unhappy in the future. Sometimes a bit of less happy time now leads later to lots of happy time later.

Here are a few guidelines:

Spend time with the right people

Most people are happier when spending time with friends, family, and significant others, whilst they are least happy when with their bosses and co-workers.

Spend time improving relationships

If you cannot spend time with the people who naturally make you happy, then spend time on improving your relationship with the people you have to spend time with. If you can get on with your boss and co-workers you will be much happier at work.

Of course you should also spend time maintaining a good relationship with your friends and family.

Spend time doing the right thing

Consider what you enjoy doing and try to spend more time here. Also look for ways to be happier in the work that you cannot avoid. Do try to minimize activities that are unnecessary and give you no pleasure now nor will contribute nothing to a happier future.

Spend time thinking about good things

Recall happy memories. Whilst wallowing nostalgia for too long may lead you to lose out on other things, when you have time to spare it can give you 'free happiness'. Also think about other things that make you happy and anticipate happiness in the future.

Think about now

If you spend too much time thinking about other times you will miss the pleasure of now. Just spending time in mindful immersion can give a steady flow of happiness.


Time is the great leveler. It is the one thing we all have and a key point is that you cannot get it back once it has gone. Unless we are unlucky, we all have around the same time on this earth and have similar risks of an early demise.

If you are mindful about the time that you have, you can plan to make best use of it whilst also enjoying the moment.

Note that we tend to 'discount' happiness from the future, valuing more distant happiness less than happiness which is closer in. This can lead us into poor decisions where we effectively choose an unhappy future by seeking only near-term pleasure. This is the trap of the addict and the hedonist. Of course one should not spend one's life unhappily planning and preparing for a hopeful future that may never come, but more people discount the future too much.

See also

Mindful Immersion


Aaker, J.L. and Rudd, M. (2010). If Money Doesn’t Make You Happy, Consider Time, Journal of Consumer Psychology,

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