As the New Year is here, it’s important feel like we have a productive year. There are studies that show how helping others makes us feel like we have more time for ourselves.
In research done at The Wharton School, participants were divided into 2 groups. One group did tasks like writing to a sick child or tutoring at-risk students while the others were given busy work or told they could go home early.
Those who completed the prosocial activities perceived their time as being more abundant and spent longer working on additional tasks.
After a draining day at work, you may feel like crashing in front of the TV or focusing on your own to do list, try doing things for others & see if that will make you a happier and more productive person.
Here are some ideas to get started:
How to Give More Time to Others
- Call your parents. If you live too far apart to visit often, you can still phone your parents regularly. How about making it a video call so they can see you? Bring them into the new age of technology if they aren’t already there. I know it can be a little hard to transition for some. But show them how fun it can be. They will appreciate it.
- Volunteer in your community. Find a worthy cause that you want to support. You could sort cans at a food bank or deliver meals to senior citizens. Go on your own or bring along family and friends. Volunteering at your church can also prove to be fulfilling. I love it!
- Help a coworker. Notice when a colleague is under pressure. Ask them what you can do to help. Maybe you can proofread a document or return some of their phone calls until they have a chance to catch up.
- Greet a neighbor. Introduce yourself to the families who live next door. Say Hello in passing. No one practices this anymore. But, it is a nice gesture.
- Chat with a stranger. Say hi to that person who just happens to be photo bombing your family picture. My family sure did. We said hello & laughed with the person who photo bombed our family photo pictured above.
- Read to your kids. Turn bedtime stories into a regular ritual. Take turns reading to each other and inventing your own tales. It is also proven to be great for their reading habits in school. You will spark a reader.
- Date your spouse. Set aside time to spend as a couple. Go out for dinner and a movie or take a stroll through an art gallery or shopping mall. Just time alone working on the relationship can go a long way.
- Hang out with your friends. Nurture your friendships with regular lunches or potluck dinners. Share laughter and deep conversations.
How to Be More Present in the Time You Give to Others
- Live in the moment. Focus on whoever you are with instead of dwelling on the past or thinking about the future. Put aside any distractions.
- Listen closely. Practice attentive listening. Nod your head and provide encouraging feedback. Ask pertinent questions and paraphrase what you heard to ensure you understand the message.
- Make eye contact. Meet the other person’s gaze. Let them know that they’re being seen as well as heard.
- Provide validation. You can accept what others say even when you disagree. Recognize that their feelings matter. Tell them they have your support even when you have different opinions.
- Show enthusiasm. Take a sincere interest in the lives of those who matter to you. Remember how much others have done to help you, from teaching to you to read to curing your illnesses. Care about their happiness and wellbeing.
- Hide your phone. If you’re tempted to check your phone, stow it out of sight. Turn the volume off for a while. Be present. Nothing is worse than seeing a group of people in a room together not conversing and all on their phones texting each other.
All it takes is a little effort on your end to show your family, friends that you care by giving them your time and attention. You will feel like a million bucks when you give time and attention to your relationships.