Rethinking Time: Implications for Well-Being

Rethinking Time: Implications for Well-Being

By Cassie Mogilner, Hal E. Hershfield, Jennifer Aaker
2017Working Paper No. 3574

How people think about and use their time has critical implications for happiness and well-being. Extant research on time in the consumer behavior literature reveals a predominantly dichotomized perspective of time between the present and future. Drawing on research on emotions, social relationships, and financial decision making, we discuss how removing categorical dichotomies might lead to beneficial outcomes. From this, we propose a conceptualization of time that assumes a less stark contrast between the present and the future, allowing these two timeframes to more flexibly co-exist in people’s minds and experiences. Finally, we discuss one way people might adopt this perspective to increase happiness—by taking an elevated or “bird’s-eye” perspective of time where the future and present, as well as the past, become equally visible, and where events from different time points are treated and experienced as part of one’s life and being overall.

Keywords
happiness, well-being, time, experience