Get All Access for $5/mo

Entrepreneurs Can Buy Happiness, According to a New Study A new study reveals that to be happy and less stressed, spend money on saving time.

By Rose Leadem

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

iStock / Getty Images Plus

Sometimes it doesn't feel like there's enough time in the day to get everything done. And for entrepreneurs and small-business owners, you're typically wearing a lot of hats and working long hours. So when it comes to completing non work-related tasks such as grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning, they can often fall to the bottom of your to-do list.

Luckily today, with companies such as TaskRabbit and Uber, it's become easier to pay someone else to do these tasks for you and buy yourself more time to work on your business. It will cost you -- but it turns out many people are willing to pay. And that's a good thing, according to recent research.

Related: 10 Facts About Happiness From Around the World

The study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found that people who spent money to save time were less stressed about how much time they had, and as a result, were happier.

If you're stressed about drafting a pitch, coding your website or securing funding, doing small tasks such as grocery shopping and cleaning can sound like time-sucking nightmares. The good news is: outsourcing time-consuming tasks can not only give you the time to do what you do best, but keep you smiling.

"Money can buy happiness if you spend it right," said Elizabeth Dunn, University of British Columbia psychology professor and co-author of the study.

In the study, researchers conducted a series of surveys with more than 6,000 people in the U.S., Denmark, Canada and the Netherlands to understand how a person's spending habits affects the way they feel. Overall, those who spent their money on things such as ordering takeout, taking a cab and hiring household help reported greater life satisfaction than those who spent their money on other things.

Related: 9 Rules for Successful Time Management

As entrepreneurs, time is extremely valuable -- however, so is money. But the study found that whether a person was rich or poor, spending money on saving time boosted happiness levels. "If there's some task that just thinking about it fills you with dread, then it's probably worth considering whether you can afford to buy your way out of it," Dunn said.

So does that mean money can actually buy happiness? No. Buying new clothes, gadgets and other stuff doesn't in fact make you happier -- only buying time does. To test this, the researchers conducted another experiment where they provided participants $40 on two consecutive weekends and instructed them to spend the money on either material or timesaving purchases. Participants were asked their mood at the end of the day, and those who spent their money to save time were found to have less time-related stress and increased well-being. Material purchases did not have this effect.

Related: How to Manage Time With 10 Tips That Work

Yet, whether you're a busy entrepreneur, an employee or a c-suite executive -- it's important to be mindful of the tasks you outsource or automate. While we have the resources to automate nearly everything today, doing tasks such as cooking and driving can help you build a diverse set of skills and give you opportunities to spend quality time with your significant other or family members.

Rose Leadem is a freelance writer for 

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Editor's Pick

Growing a Business

How a Local Greek Restaurant Seized Opportunities and Won a New Food Network Competition

After starting as a food truck in 2014, Think Greek has evolved into an award-winning restaurant by creating innovative menu items and taking advantage of opportunities that extend its audience reach.

Business News

How to Be a Billionaire By 25, According to a College Dropout Turned CEO Worth $1.6 Billion

Austin Russell became the world's youngest self-made billionaire in 2020 at age 25.

Growing a Business

3 Branding Strategies That Will Make Any Brand Stand Out

Here's how to differentiate your brand in three essential steps — understanding your unique selling proposition, leveraging storytelling, and valuing feedback.


How to Spot the Perfect Executive for Your Company

Hiring senior talent to run a team is a crucial moment in the story and trajectory of a company. Whether you need to hire senior talent now or are looking to gather insights for the future, it's important to be prepared for a gap in a crucial leadership position.

Science & Technology

There's No Margin for Error in Cybersecurity — Here's How to Build a Strong Online Defense through Everyday Habits

Learn how everyday habits and practices can enhance your organization's security posture.