A Matter of Time

New research from the University of Pennsylvania and University of California, Los Angeles describes the need for us to strike a balance with our free time. When we have too much or too little, we start to feel distress and, in some cases, overwhelmed. The authors offer some insight and advice to manage this.

Specifically, they acknowledge that many people living in modern society feel like they do not have enough time and are constantly searching for more. They asks the questions of to what degree having limited discretionary time actually detrimental, and if there can there be downsides of having too much discretionary time?

In their large-scale data sets spanning 35,375 Americans and two experiments, they explored the relationship between the amount of discretionary time individuals have and their subjective well-being.

Findings suggest that, whereas having too little time is indeed linked to lower subjective well-being caused by stress, having more time does not continually translate to greater subjective well-being. Having an abundance of discretionary time is sometimes even linked to lower subjective well-being because of a lacking sense of productivity. In such cases, the negative effect of having too much discretionary time can be attenuated when people spend this time on productive activities.

While there is no single “best” way to manage one’s time, Forbes.com provides a good overview of many common strategies people can use to manage their time best. Just be sure that among that activities you plan going forward is self-care!