Enjoying Free Time

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Everyone wants a little free time to do something. Go for that vacation or just visit the spa and relax. Working can be hectic and worse if you have a family. Juggling work and family can prove to psychologically and emotionally draining with no free time left at all. SO you come up with a diary, paper planner or more close a smartphone calendar. All these are in an effort to make you are not behind the schedule in relation to any responsibility you are supposed to handle on a particular day at a particular time. Still exhausting, I know. Meetings at the office, doctor’s appointment, picking kids from school, reminder to sign up for those Soul cycle classes etc. the list never seems to end. But then at the end of the day, every leisure activity seems so boring and interesting.

A series of 13 studies was done by Olin Business School at Washington University in St Louis, shows that it's highly advisable not to schedule leisure activities in your calendar of activities. Leave that free time blank, and avoid penciling down an activity at that particular time. Studies from the series of research showed that scheduling a leisure activity makes the activities become less enjoyable. Well, that explains why suddenly that yoga class you used to love every Saturday become boring and less enjoyable. Leisure goes well with surprise and spontaneity. Selin Malloc an associate professor of Marketing at Washington University and also the coauthor in the study notes that when you schedule leisure it makes it more formal and hence looks more like work than a leisure activity. Hence, it’s easier for a person to become less excited during leisure, resentful and will enjoy unscheduled leisure activities more than scheduled activities.

Gabriela Tonietto who is a doctoral candidate was the fellow research that was working with Malkoc. The two keenly observed everything from test driving a car, going out for lunch with a friend, going to watch a play and the results from all these incidents were the same. The two further asked random people on what they thought of the last movie they saw, the ones who had a scheduled movie night seemed to find the movies less interesting compared to those who had unplanned movie nights. The latter seemed to have derived more pleasure from the leisure activity compared to their pals. This explains also why it’s more fun to take on a sudden plan and discard a leisure activity you have been planning for weeks. The thrill of something new and adventure makes leisure activities more fun. Planned leisure activities are like a work related assignment that you have to do. Going out for that dinner seems like that marketing project you have to submit by next week.

The solution to this seems to be in the schedule structure that most of us create. Malkoc suggests that we should have less structured schedules and avoid giving leisure activities fixed time, or in a specific way this makes it look like work. More open schedule of leisure activities will make them more fun. 

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Damon Jones

Editorial Boss

Damon is originally from Toronto, Canada so it should come to no surprise that he loves everything Toronto. From the Blue Jays to Drake, Damon loves his birthplace. He never saw himself as a writer, but when we brought him on as an intern, we gave him a shot at writing and we haven?t looked back since.