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Science Says Being Spontaneous Is Better Than Planning

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No big plans for the Fourth of July weekend? Don't sweat it. Not scheduling activities in advance could actually be a good thing, according to a study from the Journal of Marketing Research. Even though many people fill up their summers with family barbecues, concerts, day trips to the beach, and week long yoga retreats, the very act of putting these activities on your calendar could take away from the fun.

The researchers looked at 13 studies that focused on people who scheduled leisure activities, such as taking a coffee break or going to the movies. No matter how fun the activity was, scheduling it in advance made it seem more like work than pure entertainment. And that killed the anticipation leading up to the event as well as the joy people experienced during it. Womp womp.

Of course, there are many things you can't just play by ear, like whether you'll attend the slew of summer weddings on your cal. But instead of making a calendar appointment for the events you do have control over, like a Sunday night trip to your favorite frozen yogurt spot or an afternoon spent on rented kayaks, try adding the activities to a loose summer bucket list without specifying the exact day and time you'll do them. The researchers say you'll have a more positive experience that way. Another plus to making this the summer of spontaneity: Not being tied down to a specific day means there's no way for bad weather to mess with your free time. Not exactly ready to let go of your calendar? Here's How to Be More Spontaneous.

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