It’s counterintuitive but true: Spending time helping others leaves you feeling as if you have more time, not less. Research shows that giving to others can make you feel more “time affluent” and less time-constrained than if you choose to waste your extra time or spend it on yourself.
Next time you need a break from a busy day, don’t do something mindless like surf the web. Sure, you might enjoy it, but it won’t make you feel any less pressured. Instead, pick an activity that helps someone else: Bring your co-worker a cup of coffee or edit your daughter’s school essay. What’s even better is that duration doesn’t matter. Whether you give away 10 minutes or an hour, you still end up feeling less constrained.