The authors based their study on three separate experiments. In the first experiment, they measured how much happiness participants in two control groups got from surfing the Internet for 10 minutes. The group that was reminded of their expected hourly wage after graduation were significantly less happy. In Experiment 2, participants were asked to listen to an audio clip of “The Flower Duet” from the opera Lakmé. Again, those who were prompted to think of time as money were not as happy as those who were not.
The final experiment showed that, by offering participants monetary compensation for their time, the feelings of impatience which reduced happiness could be mitigated. This result indicates that impatience may be a consequence of not profiting fiscally during free time.
According to the authors, the three experiments indicate that the commodification of one’s time can inﬂuence how one experiences pleasurable events by fostering impatience during unpaid time. “The present ﬁndings suggest that thinking about time in terms of money is poised to affect our ability to smell the proverbial roses,” they said.
DeVoe and House cite multiple reasons for the increased commodification of time within our society, including the prevalence of institutional practices, such as hourly wages, express services, and high speed products, that place a monetary value on time, most of which are symptoms of the Industrial Revolution and Fordism. When an airline can charge so much more for an ‘express’ flight that saves the traveller some time, it is clear that the cultural mindset of ‘time is money’ is being abused.
This very concern for maximizing the economic value of time can lead to squandering the gift of time itself by failing to appreciate other pleasures, like smelling the roses.