I have mixed feelings about a new study I recently read.
Academics concluded that scheduling our leisure time is actually adding to our stress.
The reasoning is that we’re addicted to busyness and the idea of time management.
Feeling busy makes us feel like we’re accomplishing something. It makes us feel useful and important.
So, we’ve taken our obsession with “doing” and applied it even to our relaxation.
That mindset shifts the focus to accomplishment rather than enjoyment.
Think about the frame of mind difference between scheduling your visits to the gym and doing sets and reps versus a spontaneous game of Ultimate Frisbee in the park or something similar.
Researchers studied the good feelings associated with scheduling a simple and common leisure activity versus having one happen spontaneously.
The leisure breaks were things like grabbing a coffee with a friend or going to a movie.
When people had the breaks scheduled on their calendars, it ended up feeling like another thing on their to-do list, and there was less enjoyment.
Ok, I get that sometimes a social event that sounded like a great thing at the time can later turn into one more thing I have to do.
But I work from home, and if I don’t actively schedule get-togethers, they just wouldn’t happen.
I’ve never bumped into an old friend on the street to have us both exclaim, “Hey, let’s go to that theater right now and catch a movie!”
I feel like that scene would only happen in a movie.
Things that aren’t planned tend to not happen. Think about any goal you want to reach. You don’t just wait for it to happen spontaneously, you take steps and you do stuff to get there.
Having friends and having fun are goals I have, so I schedule things to nurture those goals.
Yes, it’s really fun to bump into someone unexpectedly, and grab a cup of coffee or walk together. But I can’t count on that happening frequently enough to keep my social tank filled.
Here’s my take.
I guess it’s like sex for new parents. Spontaneous is really fun and exciting, but babies and children make that difficult.
Like the experts say, scheduled sex is better than no sex at all. 😉
So, I’ll keep scheduling a few social events, and I’ll savor the unexpected ones that pop up now and then.
Even though they’re on my calendar, I’ll focus on enjoying the moment rather than having something to check off my list.
What do you think? Do you schedule your leisure activities?
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Originally published at theascent.pub