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The Happiness Lab with Dr. Laurie Santos

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Season 2

For Whom the Alarm Clock Tolls
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“Time famine” is when you just don’t feel you have a spare moment... and it can make you miserable. It’s a feeling Dr. Laurie Santos knows only too well, so she seeks help from her time affluence hero, Idler author Tom Hodgkinson.

Tom lives life to the full, but he ensures he carves out time to wander around, think, chat with friends and even take naps. He argues that ’idling’ is vital to leading a happy, creative and productive existence. Is he right? And if so, what can we all do to break free from the tyranny of time?

To learn more. . .

The Idler website

Tom Hodgkinson’s book How to Be Idle

Ashley Whillans website

Ashley Whillans’ new book Time Smart

Links to references from this episode:

“In his book How To Be Idle, Tom tells his readers that to be happier, they need to throw away their alarm clocks.”

How to Be Idle

“In medieval times ... to an extent they were masters of their own time.”

How to Be Idle

“This is Ashley Whillans, a Professor at Harvard Business School and author of the upcoming book Time Smart: How to Reclaim Your Time and Live a Happier Life. Ashley’s another one of my heroes.”

Ashley Whillans’ new book Time Smart

 “We have more time confetti now than we used to”

Mogilner, C., Whillans, A., & Norton, M. I. (2018). Time, money, and subjective well-being. Handbook of well-being.

“These feelings of time stress, this time famine, comes at a cost of happiness.”

Mogilner, C., Whillans, A., & Norton, M. I. (2018). Time, money, and subjective well-being. Handbook of well-being.

“We have a paper showing that even just this general prioritization of money over time means that we're less likely to interact with a peer”

Whillans, A.V., and Elizabeth W. Dunn. "Valuing Time Over Money Is Associated with Greater Social Connection." Journal of Social and Personal Relationships 36, no. 8 (August 2019): 2549–2565.

“Back in the 1970s, researchers John Darley and Daniel Batson ran a test to see why people help others.”

Darley, J. M., & Batson, C. D. (1973). " From Jerusalem to Jericho": A study of situational and dispositional variables in helping behavior. Journal of personality and social psychology, 27(1), 100.

“When people are thinking about the economic value of their time, when they're thinking of being hyper-efficient with every second, this comes at a cost of our willingness to take time out of our day to help others, to volunteer, to do something as simple as recycle a piece of scrap paper in the lab, something that takes 10, 15 seconds to do.”

Whillans, Ashley V., and Elizabeth W. Dunn. "Thinking about time as money decreases environmental behavior." Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes 127 (2015): 44-52.

“We've also started looking at the effects of time-saving services, housecleaning, someone to mow your lawn on relationship satisfaction, and we have some findings suggesting that couples who make a concerted effort to outsource in a typical month”

Ashley Whillans’ new book Time Smart