Scheduling Leisure Activities Makes Them Less Fun

Fisher Faculty News

Nothing ruins a potentially fun event like putting it on your calendar.

In a series of studies, researchers found that scheduling a leisure activity like seeing a movie or taking a coffee break led people to anticipate less enjoyment and actually enjoy the event less than if the same activities were unplanned…

Planning Research Discussed on NBC Today Show

Around minute 41 minute mark, the Today show discusses Selin Malkoc’s research on how planning can take the fun out of leisure. It’s sandwiched between their discussions of celebration penalties in the NFL and a video of a guy boxing a Kangaroo to save his dog. Just another day on Today…


How making fun weekend plans can actually ruin your weekend

Selin Malkoc, The Ohio State University

Have you ever found yourself dreading a leisurely activity you had eagerly scheduled days or weeks in advance?

I first caught myself doing this a few years ago when I was traveling home to Turkey. I had excitedly made plans to meet up with some old friends. But to my surprise, as the date approached, I started to feel reluctant and unenthusiastic about these long-awaited reunions.

“I have to go get lunch with my friend,” I’d grouse to others, making it sound like a chore.

Was I an anomaly? Or do other people feel this way too?

Read the full full article here.

The Art of Making (and Not Making) Plans

New York Times


Adult life is full of commitments: bills to pay, family to see and a job you probably have to show up for. But in a world where many of us complain of being overscheduled, there’s something uniquely depressing about having no control over the time once quaintly called “personal” and “free.”

A recent study by The Ohio State University found that scheduling leisure time with friends — for movies, drinks, bike rides — can make these otherwise enjoyable activities feel like chores, which is often why we cancel them.

Other Media Mentions on this Research

For an interview on the topic, see BYU radio.

To-do lists may make leisure time less enjoyableDeccan Herald – Online | 04/12/2016To-do lists may make leisure time less enjoyableBusiness Standard (in) | 04/12/2016 (2 hours, 29 minutes ago)To-do lists may make leisure time less enjoyableBusiness Standard – Online | 04/12/2016 (3 hours, 22 minutes ago)Do not plan your leisure time it may fizzle out the funThe Economic Times | 04/12/2016 (11 hours, 5 minutes ago)Here’s why you shouldn’t schedule ‘fun’, according to scienceScienceAlert | 04/11/2016 (1 day, 8 hours ago)The scientific reason you aren’t enjoying your free timeWZVN-TV Online | 03/27/2016 (2 weeks, 1 day ago)The Scientific Reason You Aren’t Enjoying Your Free TimeABC News Online | 03/25/2016 (2 weeks, 3 days ago)This Is What Makes You Enjoy Your Free Time LessIMAGE – Online | 03/24/2016 (2 weeks, 5 days ago)The scientific reason you aren’t enjoying your free time | Fox NewsFOX News Channel Online | 03/24/2016 (2 weeks, 5 days ago)The scientific reason you aren’t enjoying your free | 03/24/2016 (2 weeks, 5 days ago)The scientific reason you aren’t enjoying your free timeThe World | 03/24/2016 (2 weeks, 5 days ago)Scheduling Time For Leisure Activities Takes Away From The FunHeadlines & Global News | 03/23/2016 (2 weeks, 5 days ago)The Scientific Reason You Aren’t Enjoying Your Free TimeThe Huffington Post | 03/22/2016 (2 weeks, 6 days ago)The Scientific Reason You Aren’t Enjoying Your Free TimeTIME Online | 03/22/2016 (3 weeks, 1 day ago)Why You Should Never Schedule Fun, According To This StudyBustle | 03/18/2016 (3 weeks, 4 days ago)The Scientific Reason You Aren’t Enjoying Your Free | 03/15/2016 (3 weeks, 6 days ago)Scheduling Leisure Time Makes Fun Feel Like a ChoreLaboratory Equipment Online | 03/14/2016 (4 weeks, 1 day ago)Missouri Ag Connection – How Scheduling Takes the Fun Out of Free TimeMissouri Ag Connection | 03/13/2016 (4 weeks, 1 day ago)How To Make Sure Having Fun Doesn’t Feel Like WorkAskMen | 03/12/2016 (4 weeks, 3 days ago)Do Your Social Engagements Feel Like Chores? Here’s What You Need To ChangeAskMen UK | 03/12/2016 (4 weeks, 3 days ago)The Simple Trick That Will De-Stress Your WeekendReal Simple Online | 03/11/2016 (4 weeks, 3 days ago)New Study Confirms That Scheduling Your Free Time Takes the Fun Out of ItGlamour Online | 03/11/2016 (4 weeks, 3 days ago)Having Fun?CKIZ-FM – Online | 03/11/2016 (4 weeks, 4 days ago)Why Vacations Have Become Less FunBellaOnline | 03/11/2016 (4 weeks, 4 days ago)Why vacations have become less funExaminer | 03/10/2016 (4 weeks, 4 days ago)Scientists say schedulers have less funUnited Press International Online | 03/09/2016 (4 weeks, 5 days ago)How scheduling takes the fun out of free timeScienceDaily | 03/09/2016 (4 weeks, 5 days ago)How scheduling takes the fun out of free | 03/09/2016 (4 weeks, 6 days ago)

Celebrate or Commemorate?

Celebrate or Commemorate?

New research from researchers at Ohio State shows material goods might win out over experiences when marking special life events

Graduation, marriage, the birth of a child. All are significant life events that people want to remember as vividly as they can. We often mark these events with a purchase: either a celebratory experience or a material commemoration. Recent research has indicated a general consumer preference for experiences over material goods when it comes to giving and receiving gifts. but perhaps material goods have an advantage when it comes to marking significant life events?

New research shows when marking a major life event, consumers might be better off with material items as opposed to experiences.









For an interview on the topic, see BYU radio.


Joe Goodman


Joe’s research investigates choice overload, variety seeking, and consumers’ attraction to large product and feature assortments. He also investigates Internet research methodology (aka, Mturk), as well as the consumption and purchase of experiences and material goods and its effect on happiness. Joe received his PhD from The University of Texas at Austin, and enjoys travelling, pick-up ball, Europe ’72, Friendster, and consuming in the natural habitat.

Selin Malkoc


Selin’s research specialties include inter-temporal choice, the role of consumer mindsets and representations in decision making. Her research also examines how consumers can make better decisions, increase happiness, and simply be more spontaneous. She holds a B.A. from Bilkent University and a Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina. She enjoys travelling, Jeffrey Campbells, Tarkan, and experimenting in both the lab and her Turkish kitchen.

Gabbie Tonietto


Gabriela (Gabbie) Tonietto holds a B.S.B.A. and expects to complete her Ph.D. in 2017, both from Washington University in St. Louis. Tonietto’s research interests include time perception and consumption, scheduling, and intertemporal preferences. Her research focuses on helping consumers to make better decisions about their time, and the research based on the first essay of her dissertation is forthcoming in the Journal of Marketing Research.


Affiliates, Co-Authors, & Alumni

Cynthia Cryder. Cindy was a long time faculty member of the lab and is Associate Professor at Washington University in St. Louis


Rebecca Reczek. Rebecca is a coauthor and lab affiliate, and Irwin Lab alum. She is currently Associate Professor at The Ohio State University.


Joshua Morris. Former RA and current PhD student at Stanford


Kelly Lee. Former Post-Doc and current faculty at Oklahoma State University.


Brittney D. Stephenson. Former RA and current PhD student at Wash U.



More Media Mentions…

All things Consumer Behavior

Gift Giving

Happiness, Materialism, and Consuming Experiences

Music and Familiarity


New Products

Consumer Choice and Retail Assortment

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