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John O’Leary welcomes award-winning teacher and researcher Cassie Holmes to the Live Inspired Podcast to share how focusing on time increases happiness, and the practical took we can apply to improve our day-to-day.

Cassie Holmes is an award-winning teacher and researcher on time and happiness, and bestselling author of Happier Hour.

Cassie’s research examines how focusing on time increases happiness, how the meaning of happiness changes over the course of one’s lifetime, and how much happiness people enjoy from extraordinary versus ordinary experiences.

Today, Cassie shares her research, including the concept of “time poverty,” her own experiences as a busy working mother, and the practical tools we can apply to improve our day-to-day.

My friends, if you’ve ever asked yourself how can I – given the limited time that I have – find greater enjoyment and satisfaction in my days, this conversation is for you.

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  • Growing up with a natural disposition of happiness, Cassie was interested in learning the strategies to help others when faced with challenging life circumstances.
  • Time Poverty is the acute feeling of having too much to do and not enough time to do it. As a do-er, others become more reliant on you and requests and expectations increase making them feel overwhelmed, unhappy and dissatisfied.
  • People who feel time poor are less satisfied in their lives,  feel greater stress, less positive emotion in their days, less nice, less healthy, less confident.
  • What’s the relationship between the amount of discretionary time people have and their happiness? Those with less time were less happy because of stress, yet those with too much time lacked a sense of purpose.
  • How can we, given the time that we have, find greater enjoyment in our days and greater satisfaction?
  • Social connection is so core to our sense of satisfaction and happiness.
  • As yourself: Over the last three weeks, what times did I feel the most joy?
  • Time track: For one week, track every half hour of your time and rank on a 10-point scale how satisfied were you.
  • “Time is so critical because it is limited.”
  • To avoid hedonic adaptation, the tendency to get used to things over time, with the “good stuff”, Cassie encourages us to counting your times left doing this joyful activity.
  • To make difficult tasks not only tolerable to maybe even joyful, Cassie suggests:
    • Bundling an activity you don’t want to do with an activity to do want to do (e.g. exercising and watching television or listening to an audio book).
    • Understanding the five levels of “why” helps see how tasks that may seem wasteful ladder up to the greater purpose (e.g. responding to emails).
  • “If you want to crash course on happiness, take your grandma out to lunch.”
  • “For younger people, extraordinary experiences produce greater happiness than ordinary ones. However, for older people, ordinary experiences produce as much happiness as extraordinary experiences.”
  • Reflect back on a moment that has brought you joy in the last week and put a version of that into your calendar for the upcoming week.
  • Get a copy of Cassie Holmes’ book Happier Hour here.

Did you enjoy today’s episode? 

You’ll love my conversation with Judith Shulevitz. As a society, we’ve put such an emphasis on work and being busy. In our conversation, Judith reminds us of the importance of Sabbath, what “Sabbath” is and what it means in all of our lives – regardless of our faith background – and the challenge to build pause into your week, nourish your community and be reminded that you are so much more than what you do. Listen to Judith Shulevitz on ep. 140.


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  1. Q. What is the best book you’ve ever read?
    A. Ethics for the New Millennium by Dalai Lama.
  2. Q. What is a characteristic or trait that you possessed as a child that you wish you still exhibited today?
    A. I'm grateful that I'm able to return to my cheery, happy approach to life.
  3. Q. Your house is on fire, all living things and people are out. You have the opportunity to run in and grab one item. What would it be?
    A. Photographs.
  4. Q. You are sitting on a bench overlooking a gorgeous beach. You have the opportunity to have a long conversation with anyone living or dead. Who would it be?
    A. John O'Leary.
  5. Q. What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
    A. Be yourself.
  6. Q. What advice would you give your 20-year-old self?
    A. Be yourself. Don't try so hard.
  7. Q. It’s been said that all great people can have their lives summed up in one sentence. How do you want yours to read?
    A. She made me feel happier.