Making a minute-by-minute itinerary for your weekend might sound like a great way to get the most out of your days off, but a recent study suggests that it actually makes everything you do less fun.
Photo by Yin Zhou.
The study, led by Selin Malkoc, assistant professor of marketing at Ohio State University, and published in the Journal of Marketing Research, suggests that having a strict schedule for your weekend — even if it's filled entirely with fun stuff — makes it feel too much like work. Over the course of 13 separate experiments Malkoc and her colleagues found that weekend itineraries made most objectively enjoyable events far less enjoyable for participants.
Basically, too much advance planning turns fun things into work. Going out with your friends suddenly becomes an appointment to keep. Malkoc suggests that the best way to get the most joy out of your weekend is to make open-ended plans for "sometime Saturday" or a more general "sometime this weekend", then firm up those plans on the day of the event. That way you'll have things to look forward to, but you don't give up that sense of freedom that makes it feel carefree.
The Calendar Mindset: Scheduling Takes the Fun Out and Puts the Work In [Journal of Marketing Research via Science of Us]