Why You May Have More Free Time Than You Think

It's easy to convince ourselves that there's no free time in our schedules for an extra cross-training session or catch-up dinner with an old friend, especially as spring performances and school deadlines approach. And sometimes that's true—but recent studies published in the Journal of Consumer Research found that we often have more time than we think.

Over three studies, the researchers found that people tend to feel busier the closer they come to reaching a goal or completing a task, even when they don't actually have any less time than usual. This means they became more likely to delay or turn down other activities, even ones that benefit their health and well-being. In one of the studies, people in an airport were asked to take a short survey on their way to boarding a plane. Those who had already arrived at the gate were more likely to take the extra time than those who were waiting for the train that would take them to the terminal. Even though the people at the gate actually had less time until departure, the others were closer to their immediate goal of boarding the train, which made them more impatient.  


Overbooking yourself is still not a good idea, but neither is neglecting your health because you don't think you have enough time. So maybe you don't have to sacrifice that rejuvenating yoga session just because your spring showcase is coming up. In fact, keeping it on your schedule might help you handle the stress that comes with feeling extra-busy.

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