While many of us may feel we won’t ever get any leisure time if we don’t schedule it into our fast pace lives new research shows that by scheduling leisure we might undermine our own enjoyment. However, the researchers also have a suggestion on how to combat this effect.
In a study completed last year researchers found that scheduling leisure with strict start and end times negates the free form nature of enjoyment. Instead of saying you’ll play tennis at 6pm, just say you’ll do it after work. Rough scheduling rather than strict scheduling is the key.
Next, researchers suggest that you avoid what they call “hard stops.” In other words, don’t schedule something immediately after a leisure activity, even another leisure activity. Researchers found that if one is always looking at the clock, that distracts from what is currently going on.
In one study, they found that most people agreed that if they had something like a massage scheduled they would enjoy it less if they knew something was going on immediately afterwards, even something like a meeting with friends.
Finally, they suggest focusing on the now. This element kind of combines the previous two. Don’t let your mind wander to what is next or what is past. Give yourself room to be spontaneous.
The article appears in the journal Current Opinion in Psychology