Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

The one bad habit proven to make your free time less enjoyable

iStock_000085747479_Large.jpg

We've all been there, filling up our diaries and calendars with carefully scheduled appointments, meetings and leisure activities in an effort to stay on top of our to-do lists.

But while this approach is practical for work-related matters, a new study has shown that planning our leisure activities for a specific date and time can actually make them less enjoyable.

Whether it's drinks with a friend, a family brunch, or even just some much needed me-time, it appears an element of spontaneity is key for boosting our happiness during our precious free time.

women

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.

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.

Selin Malkoc, an associate professor who co-authored the study at Washington University, told Fox News, “We consistently find that leisure, once scheduled, becomes more like work.

“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.”

woman

However, making no plans at all is an impractical way to live life. So how can we boost our enjoyment of leisure activities and still make the plans we need for them to happen?

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.”

Related

iStock_000077916919_Medium.jpg

This is officially the kindest city in Britain

bridget trailer.JPG

The trailer for Bridget Jones' Baby has arrived

engagement ring 1.JPG

Watch how engagement ring designs have changed in the last 100 years

Stephanie Rothstein Bruce marathon runner.jpg

Marathon runner's post-partum body photos go viral

adele terror.jpg

Adele pays tribute to Brussels terror victims at London concert

iStock_000087418675_Large.jpg

Going veggie could save the planet and millions of lives

Duvet_Suit_26.JPG

Cosy-up your commute with the incredible ‘Suvet’ aka suit duvet

iStock_000078946943_Full.jpg

Those who value alone time are smarter people, study finds

x.JPG

50 impossibly delicate and tiny finger tattoos to inspire you

More

The best possible gifts for when flowers aren’t going to cut it

17 unusual and thoughtful gifts for when the s**t hits the fan

by Amy Swales
22 Sep 2017

“The real reason we should all be upset about Uber”

Grow up: your bank balance really isn’t what’s at stake here

by Kayleigh Dray
22 Sep 2017

There's a huge sherbet fountain coming to London - and it's free

Bompas & Parr are planning a weird, wonderful and nostalgia-filled event

by Helen Brown
22 Sep 2017

Rick and Morty creator responds to sexist trolling of female writers

The show hired four women. Cue cries of “Worst. Episodes. Evah.”

by Amy Swales
22 Sep 2017

Everything you need to know about Uber being banned in London

The taxi firm has had its license revoked by TfL

by Moya Crockett
22 Sep 2017

The new Baileys flavour you’ll want to drink well beyond Halloween

Perfect autumn cocktails ahead

by Amy Swales
22 Sep 2017

This unexpected town has been voted the best place to work in the UK

We didn’t see this one coming

by Moya Crockett
22 Sep 2017

Harry Potter fans, this epic Hogwarts goblet is actually magical

It's perfect for Butterbeer (or prosecco)

by Megan Murray
22 Sep 2017

The hidden meanings behind the nation’s most popular baby names

Prepare for lots of girls’ names ending in ‘a’

by Moya Crockett
22 Sep 2017

This teacher is determined to help girls feel comfortable with periods

“If you’re uncomfortable with the idea of menstruation, you shouldn’t read on…”

by Kayleigh Dray
22 Sep 2017