The frantic pace of everyday life makes us feel that we do not have time for anything. We need more vacations, we would love to extend the weekends one more day, leave before work. We complain that we have hours to be with whoever we want, go where we want, do what we want. We are certain that if we had more free time we would be happier. But can there be disadvantages in having too much free time? It is the question that the investigation has tried to answer The effects of having a lot and little free time in life satisfaction, carried out by the universities of Pennsylvania and California (USA). And the answer is yes: too many free hours can also be harmful.
Previous research has shown that having very few hours of leisure is linked to more stress and lower levels of life satisfaction. On this occasion, the results conclude that, although having little time is bad, having more time is not always better: it undermines people's sense of productivity and purpose, leaving them less satisfied in general. The study involved more than 35,000 Americans representing active and unemployed workers. And they found some differences between them: life satisfaction reaches its peak when a worker has about two hours of free time per day. This time increases to three hours and 45 minutes among people who do not work or seek employment. Above those times, welfare decreases.
The big question is: why? One of the answers is in that we move the rhythm of work to the rest of aspects of our lives. We drag the frenzy of work in the office and at home at empty hours and we find ourselves with the impulse to do, plan and be busy. In free time there are no rules, it is unstructured and more difficult to configure. You find yourself rushing home after an intense day of work and then, when you arrive, after a while, you do not know what to do. And not doing anguish us, causing the sensation of wasting time. Instead of enjoying the rest we get bored for lack of experiences and the stress of free time comes over us.
Even so, it is necessary to take the results of this study with tweezers. One of the limitations of the research is the difficulty of covering all the variables that influence personal well-being, such as motivation, type of work or the importance we give to each facet of our life.