Giving time can give you time

Those who volunteer their limited time to helping others may find they feel an increased sense of leisureliness. This is according to a study by researchers at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, Yale School of Management and Harvard Business School, which will be published in Psychological Science.

The findings reveal that those who use their precious free hours constructively on other people can present the notion of having more minutes to make use of.

Cassie Mogilner, lead researcher and psychological scientist from Wharton School, believes this is because giving away a portion of one's day to a good cause boosts the individual's sense of personal competence and efficiency.

She added that this makes people more willing to commit to future engagements in spite of their busy schedules.

The study refers to the notion of enhanced leisureliness as "time affluence", which can be increased if people spend longer periods being useful rather than idle.

Kisane Prutton, an Occupational Digest and Associate Fellow of the Society, said: "This piece of research addresses one of the 21st century's frequently cited ailments, lack of time and the results are inspiring.

"In a series of experiments, the psychologists found that people who gave their time to others, in acts of kindness, were more likely to report feeling that they had more time for themselves.

"This is deeply encouraging in an era predominated by stress and suggests that people who find themselves under pressure and time-poor should consider volunteering their time to help others.

"The results suggest a psychological equivalent to BOGOF - buy one, get one free - be helpful to others and you can help yourself. By giving up one's time to help others, people benefit from a sense of achievement which is not only good for their mental wellbeing but can also spur them on to achieve more of their own tasks."