What you need to know:
- Chances are, you are likely to feel happier if you spend some of your time engaged in social activities such as sports.
- Research also shows that when people spend their surplus time together socially, they’re more likely to enjoy the extra time.
- Viewing leisure time as a waste makes it harder for you to enjoy the period, and you are highly likely to feel like a fraud.
“The sweet spot is a moderate amount of free time,” Dr Marissa Sharif, co-author of the study on leisure whose results were published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, wrote of their latest study published this year.
She continued: “We found that having too much free time was associated with lower subjective wellbeing due to a lacking sense of productivity and purpose.”
Their study also found out that “having a moderate amount of discretionary time leads people to be happier than having too little amount, because it relieves that time stress. However, with a large amount of free time people feel a profound lacking sense of productivity and purpose.”
In light of the latest developments, just how much leisure time should you allow yourself? Here are a few tips to optimise your free time.
If you feel like you have too much leisure time:
Reach out to others
Chances are, you are likely to feel happier if you spend some of your time engaged in social activities such as sports.
Research also shows that when people spend their surplus time together socially, they’re more likely to enjoy the extra time.
Flip your attitude
Viewing leisure time as a waste makes it harder for you to enjoy the period, and you are highly likely to feel like a fraud. You will be stressed and anxious during your leisure time. To shake the attitude, remind yourself that everything serves a purpose, including doing nothing. And, focus on enjoying the moment as opposed to clouding your mind with thoughts that make it difficult for you to enjoy the free time.
Reconsider your pastime activities
You could spend your free time learning new things or developing new hobbies such bowling, biking or any activity that you really enjoy. When learning a new leisure activity, you are likely to be too occupied to feel that you are wasting the “excess time”.
If you feel like you have too little leisure time:
Put your calendar away
Researchers have found that scheduling free time takes the fun out of it. They also argued that planning your free time decreases your anticipation for it. How about letting leisure be spontaneous, and review the results after a while? And, even if you have a plan, you could still leave room for spontaneity to make everything fresh.
Aim for at least two hours of leisure daily
Ideal leisure time, researchers argue, can be anything between two hours and five hours every day. Coffee breaks, short walks and reading or watching TV can be factored into your discretionary time, and you don’t have to stop undertaking your important daily obligations. Finding two hours every day to engage in the things you love or enjoy shouldn’t be difficult.