Time. It’s the one thing that’s impossible to gain that we could all use more of. Our calendars are filled with appointments, lunch dates with friends and everything else in between so that we can keep on top of our seemingly never-ending to-do lists. And when it comes to allocating the precious free time we have outside of work, many of us (this writer included) adopt the same approach. However, a new study has shown that planning our leisure activities in such a way can make them less enjoyable.
It appears that an element of spontaneity is they key to truly enjoying our time off.
The study, which draws together research from 13 individual studies, showed that attaching a date and time to planned leisure activities made them feel more like work than play, according to Fox News.
The results were the same for a whole variety of fun activities, from grabbing a coffee to watching a play, with those participants who made specific plans for the activities enjoying them less than those who didn’t.
“We consistently find that leisure, once scheduled, becomes more like work,” explained study co-author Selin Malkoc, Ph.D., an associate professor of marketing at Washington University. “As a result, people become less excited and even resentful towards such scheduled leisure. Maybe more importantly, they also enjoy scheduled leisure significantly less than unscheduled leisure.”
It makes sense. How many can recall cancelling pre-made dinner plans at the last minute because you suddenly weren’t in a socialising mood or because it felt like a chore to get ready and go out again? Quite a few, we reckon.
On the other side of the spectrum, of course, is that it would be impractical to go through daily life productively without some sort of timetable, so how do we strike a balance?
According to the researchers, it’s all about adding a dash of spontaneity to our social lives.
“For instance, instead of getting coffee from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m., you could say ‘in the afternoon,’ or instead of 8 p.m. to 9 p.m., you could say ‘after dinner,’,” Malkoc said.
“We regularly find that when scheduling is done in this less specific way, it does not lead leisure to feel more like work, and thus, it does not reduce enjoyment.”
So before a new week begins again, perhaps it’s worth thinking twice before pencilling in those much-deserved after work cocktails.
Via Fox News