Author - Time Smart
Dr. Ashley Whillans is an Assistant Professor in the Negotiation, Organizations & Markets Unit, teaching Negotiations and Motivation and Incentives courses to MBA students and Executives. Her first book "Time Smart: How to Reclaim Your Time & Live a Happier Life" was published in October 2020 by Harvard Business Publishing.
In both 2015 and 2018, she was named a Rising Star of Behavioral Science by the Behavioral Science and Policy Association. In 2016, she co-founded the Department of Behavioral Science in the Policy, Innovation, and Engagement Division of the British Columbia Public Service Agency.
Her research has been published in top academic journals including the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, Organizational Behavior & Human Decision Processes, Journal of Personality & Social Psychology, Nature Human Behavior, and Science Advances and popular media outlets including Harvard Business Review, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal.
Professor Whillans earned her BA, MA, and PhD in Social Psychology from the University of British Columbia. Prior to joining HBS, she was a visiting scholar and guest lecturer at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. Her dissertation research on time and happiness won the 2017 CAGS Distinguished Dissertation Award for being the single best PhD thesis in Canada across the fine arts, humanities, and social sciences.
Published in Dec 2020.
Nuggets from the
Understanding the notion of time poverty
Ashley speaks about the notion of Time Poverty and how it is structural and psychological. She goes on to say that while have more time for leisure now than in 1950s, we still “feel” time poor. She speaks about the role of technology in exacerbating this further.
When money stops moving the needle
Ashley speaks about research that suggests that above USD 60,000 money does not necessarily buy more happiness. She goes on to say that above USD 100,000, people might start to feel worse off because they start comparing themselves with a different economic stratum. She speaks about how the pursuit of wealth for the sake of it being a happiness trap.
Are you a Taylor or a Morgan?
Ashley speaks about two broad archetypes in the world – Morgans (people who prioritize money) and Taylors (people who prioritize time). She speaks about how this impacts some of our daily choices and some of our macro choices. She goes onto say that interestingly enough Taylors often end up making more money than Morgans. She links it to how this is often impacted by our upbringing and the impact on our overall happiness levels.
Career choices in the future
Ashley speaks about implication of valuing time (as a Taylor) or money (as a Morgan) on how we make career choices. She speaks about how it is all the important for us to self-select ourselves into a career that we are intrinsically passionate about given that the paradigm is shifting from driving on a highway to navigating a maze.
Consulting causing an adversarial relationship with time
Ashley speaks about how having a number attached to a unit of time can sometimes lead us to optimize for money thereby leading to us solving for the short term while missing out on some of the elements required us for us to be effective and happy in the long run.
Optimizing versus Satisficing mindset
Ashley discusses how our approach towards getting the “best deal” in a situation can actually accentuate time poverty. She says that we end up finessing on getting the best deal but miss out on savouring the experience (called life!). To borrow from John Lennon, she says something to the effect of “Life is what happens when you are busy trying to get the best deal”
Big why, Small why and Time Confetti
Ashley speaks about the notion of how we should outsource the task of staying productive to tools and apps that are out there and not leave it to the vagaries of our will power. She also speaks about how we should have a conversation with ourselves on why we might be reaching out to technology whenever we have a few residual moments to kill.
Changing our relationship with time
Ashley speaks about how we should think about bringing time affluence in our lives. She speaks about the notion of time being a collective resource and therefore the need for us to engage our friends, our family members and our colleagues at our workplaces to move from cognition to behavioural change.
Relating to time during "Covid times"
Ashley speaks about how the current context around COVID has really made it that much harder for us to switch off. People are feeling more and more overwhelmed despite having more time at their disposal given commute has been taken out of the equation.