The calendar is an indispensable tool in our over-committed and over-stimulated culture, and one no longer reserved solely for work commitments and appointments. Many busy people, faced with ever-dwindling free time, resort to scheduling everything from time with friends and family to sex with a partner.
But is scheduling your free time a good idea?
Researchers from Ohio State University’s Fisher College of Business and Rutgers Business School evaluated existing research (much of it their own) on time management tactics and how they affect the uptake, outcome and enjoyment of various activities. Many of their assessments, which are published in the journal Current Opinion in Psychology, are in line with conventional productivity wisdom. They determined that scheduling an activity increases the likelihood that it’ll get done, for example, and that multitasking helps people achieve more, but with spottier results.
When it comes to enjoying leisure activities, however, the researchers found that classic time management strategies may backfire. Just as with work tasks or errands, science shows that getting fun activities on the calendar increases your chances of getting them done — but there’s a cost, according to the researchers’ analysis. Here’s how to plan your free time without sacrificing fun.