Everyone seems to be studying happiness these days! Sweden and Denmark are the happiest places to live, adult coloring books are all the rage, and people are working hard to stay in the moment and be more mindful. Now researchers have found that hiring people to do some of your work will make you happier.
In a recent piece in the New York Times (which I read and now can’t seem to find anywhere – in print or electronically), psychologists share their findings that people will be happier if they spend money on hiring people to do some household tasks instead of spending money to buy things. They argue that spending money on services like housekeeping and lawn care gives people time to relax, thereby making us happier. Money spent on things, likes fancy shoes and handbags, doesn’t have the same happiness effect. The researchers say that people often feel guilty hiring people to do the tasks that they are capable of doing, but that once they try it, they feel better.
Although I do hire someone to help me with the housecleaning during the school year (and that does make me very happy), I have a different take on the happiness factor of hiring people to do some of the things that you can do yourself. My husband and I have spent the last few weekends painting our living room and foyer. Yes, we could have hired painters to do this for us, and we would have added significantly to our free time on this Labor Day weekend, but I would argue that we are happier for having done it. There is something very satisfying about DIY projects. Painting takes a lot of time and a lot of patience, but when we stand back and look at what we have accomplished on our own, there is this happy voice inside that says, “You did that! It took time and hard work and a little bit of skill, and you did it!” In my book, there is a lot of happiness there.
While some people find happiness in hiring people so that they can color and be more mindful, I think I will find a few projects that I could hire people to do and do them myself. I just noticed that the garage needs to be painted!