How can weekend expectations ruin it?
Making plans is like reading spoilers or ripping off the wrapping of a gift – once that happens, the intrigue disappears. Interest in the TV show fades, the gift ceases to be an object of joyful anticipation, and what is planned simply becomes what needs to be done. In other words, abstract ideas are always more attractive than concrete calendar entries.
Have you ever felt that having a pre-planned dinner with friends or going out to bars with a close friend becomes a burden if forced into action at a certain time? And that with the approach of the X-hour, from somewhere comes a dislike for these seemingly attractive events?
WHY WE ARE ANNOYED BY THE PLANS
Everything is understandable. In a recent review published in the Journal of Marketing Research, a tandem of psychologists and marketers confirms that the more rigorously planned the events, the less enjoyment they come with – even if the plans seem pleasant in every way.
To come to this conclusion, the study participants were involved in various non-painful experiments. For example, they asked to meet for coffee with a friend. Moreover, half of the respondents were asked to plan this in advance, in a particular cafeteria and mark it on the calendar, while the other half could agree to meet spontaneously at any time during the week. It turned out that planned communication was somehow associated with responsibilities, and not with pleasure – compared to impromptu events.
In another experiment, participants were asked to spend a day at the beach enjoying various activities such as canoeing and guided walks. Half of the participants were asked to try two types of entertainment before the lunchtime picnic. The second half had to make an appointment for a certain time, say, from 11.00 to 14.00, and so as to catch a picnic. The first group happily tried everything they could, but the enthusiasm of the second group left much to be desired – the routine clearly reduced the desire to participate in entertainment. As the scientists summarized, even a leisure activity begins to look like work when it is overly structured. Planning ahead turns fun into a duty and an idle get-together into an appointment.
AND HOW TO PLAN IF YOU REALLY WANT
Vacation plans fundamentally contradict what we associate it with – relaxation and freedom. Time flies differently, acquiring a different emotional color, when what is happening is not subject to control and schedule.
However, if planning for you is synonymous with happiness and an integral part of life, there is no need to burn out the habit with a hot iron. You don’t have to drown the weekend in a swamp of spontaneity – master soft planning, the right compromise for those who need to schedule a few days or weeks in advance.
By adopting a flexible schedule, you will feel more relaxed and more likely to be satisfied with the weekend. For example, if you have a shopping schedule with a friend, do not set a specific hour, but agree to meet at the mall in the afternoon, between three and five. Removing unnecessary boundaries not only enhances the pleasure of anticipation, but also brings an element of exciting spontaneity into your measured life.
Is the idea clear? If the line between “doing something on the weekend” and “getting it all done in a weekend” is thin for you, choose an option between a busy schedule and doing nothing, so as not to turn the weekend into a slalom with obstacles. Allow yourself to breathe freely, strengthen your immunity from internal burnout. And by the way, who said that idleness is unworthy?