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The Brainy Business | Understanding the Psychology of Why People Buy | Behavioral Economics

Jan 27, 2023

In today's conversation, I am joined by Dr. Cassie Holmes. Her fantastic book Happier Hour was named a "must-read" of 2022 by Forbes AND by the Next Big Idea Club. The Washington Post also profiled it as one of their best health books read and recommended by experts in 2022. 

Cassie is a Professor at UCLA’s Anderson School of Management. Her research examines how focusing on time (rather than money) increases happiness, how the meaning of happiness changes over the course of life, and how much happiness people enjoy from extraordinary versus ordinary experiences. Across these inquiries, her findings highlight the joy that stems from interpersonal connection and paying attention to the present moment.

Cassie’s academic research on the role of time in cultivating well-being has been published in leading academic journals, including Psychological Science, the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, and the Journal of Consumer Research, and earned her the Early Career Award from both the Association of Consumer Research and the Society of Consumer Psychology. Cassie was identified by Poets & Quants as one of the best 40  business professors under 40, and popular accounts of her research have been featured by NPR, The Economist, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times, and Scientific American.

Happier Hour is based on her wildly popular MBA course, “Applying the Science of Happiness to Life Design.” It is so good and I can't wait to have you hear about some of the insights from her -- it will change your life for the better I'm sure.

Show Notes:

  • [00:41] In today's conversation, I am joined by Dr. Cassie Holmes, who you met a few weeks ago when she was on the "panel" episode with Dr. Ayelet Fishbach sharing how to have the best and happiest 2023 possible.
  • [02:45] Her new and widely acclaimed book, Happier Hour: How to Beat Distraction, Expand Your Time, and Focus on What Matters Most, is based on her wildly popular MBA course, “Applying the Science of Happiness to Life Design.”
  • [04:18] Cassie shares about herself, her background, and what she does. She studies happiness and in particular the role of time.
  • [05:22] When we feel happier, it makes us better in the work environment.
  • [08:02] She wrote Happier Hour after the success of her course so she could share her learnings with even more people. Readers can apply the insights and experience the benefits just like her students.
  • [10:10] You can have this huge impact from changing a couple of little things if you put a little focused effort forward. 
  • [12:21] Our time is so important. Maximize the amount of time that feels worthwhile and minimize the time that feels like a waste. 
  • [15:12] Cassie shares a day of her life early in her career when she experienced time poverty. She wanted more time so she could slow down and experience the time she was spending. 
  • [17:15] Time poverty is that acute feeling of having too much to do and not enough time to do it. 
  • [19:25] With too little discretionary time people are less happy. When we have too much discretionary spent in time that doesn’t feel worthwhile, that undermines our sense of purpose and we feel less satisfied.   
  • [21:45] It is not about how much time you have available. It is really about how you invest the time you have available.
  • [24:20] Discretionary is what you want to do as opposed to nondiscretionary is something you have to do. 
  • [26:35] On average people are most satisfied from social connection. The least happy activities tend to be commuting, work hours, and housework. 
  • [28:25] After tracking your time for a week you have a fantastic data set where you can find which activities made you feel most satisfied. 
  • [31:05] If it is not something you have to do and you are not enjoying it, that is an opportunity to reallocate that time to things that are worthwhile. 
  • [33:49] Simply being outside had its own significantly positive effect. 
  • [36:28] Experiencing awe can increase one's sense of time affluence. 
  • [38:40] You don’t have to have your discretionary time all in one block. 
  • [41:14] It is not the amount of time you spend on a particular activity that determines happiness. It is really the quality and your engagement in the activity that determines it. 
  • [42:27] Ordinary experiences can bring us as much joy as extraordinary experiences if only we are paying attention and savoring and cherishing them.  
  • [44:33] It is not just the amount of time you spend that determines its impact, it is really how you mentally engage in that time. 
  • [46:55] The most worthwhile investment is in cultivating relationships. The single biggest predictor of having a satisfied life was having strong supportive relationships with family or friends that feel like family and that requires investment.
  • [49:01] She was living her dream life and she found herself charging ahead because she was in her head thinking about other things she had to do. It was pulling her out of the moment.  
  • [51:24] The goal is to pause in those moments and smell the (literal or metaphorical) roses. If we are rushing because we are time poor through it all then we might as well not spend the time in the first place. 
  • [53:13] Cassie explains why she doesn’t make New Year’s resolutions. 
  • [55:41] Melina chooses a word and theme to help her through the whole year.
  • [58:10] Why change something that is working. She wants everyday to be what she wants it to be. 
  • [60:12] Melina’s closing thoughts
  • [61:29] The balance of a couple hours a day is enough for real lasting happiness. 

Thanks for listening. Don’t forget to subscribe on Apple Podcasts or Android. If you like what you heard, please leave a review on iTunes and share what you liked about the show. 

I hope you love everything recommended via The Brainy Business! Everything was independently reviewed and selected by me, Melina Palmer. So you know, as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. That means if you decide to shop from the links on this page (via Amazon or others), The Brainy Business may collect a share of sales or other compensation.

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