Aiming for a weekend getaway? Do not chalk out events, it may spoil the fun as it may seem like another work. According to researchers, scheduling a leisure activity like seeing a movie or taking a coffee break at a specific time led people to anticipate less enjoyment and actually enjoy the event less than if the same activities were unplanned.
“People associate schedules with work. We want our leisure time to be free-flowing,” said Selin Malkoc, Assistant Professor at the Ohio State University in the US.
However, that does not mean one should not plan at all. The research showed that roughly planning an event (but not giving a specific time) led to similar levels of enjoyment as unplanned events. “Time is supposed to fly when you’re having fun. Anything that limits and constrains our leisure chips away at the enjoyment,” Malkoc added. In the study, the team analysed 13 separate studies that looked at how scheduling leisure activities affects the way we think about and experience them.
In one study, college students were given a calendar filled with classes and extracurricular activities and asked to imagine that this was their actual schedule for the week.
Half of the participants were then asked to make plans to get frozen yogurt with a friend two days in advance and add the activity to their calendar. The other half imagined running into a friend and deciding to get frozen yogurt immediately.
Results showed that those who scheduled getting frozen yogurt with their friend rated the activity as feeling more like a “commitment” and “chore” than those who imagined the impromptu get-together.
“If you schedule leisure activities only roughly, the negative effects of scheduling disappear,” Malkoc said.
“People don’t want to put time restrictions of any kind on otherwise free-flowing leisure activities,” she noted, in the paper published in the Journal of Marketing Research.