Consumers often schedule their activities in an attempt to use their time more efficiently. Although the benefits of scheduling are well established, its potential downsides are not well understood. The authors examine whether scheduling uniquely undermines the benefits of leisure activities. In 13 studies using unambiguous leisure activities that consumers commonly schedule (e.g., movies, a coffee break), they find that scheduling a leisure activity (vs. experiencing it impromptu) makes it feel less free-flowing and more work-like. Furthermore, scheduling diminishes utility from leisure activities, in terms of both excitement in anticipation of the activities and experienced enjoyment. Importantly, the authors find that maintaining the free-flowing nature of the activity by "roughly scheduling" (without prespecified times) eliminates this effect, thus indicating that the effect is driven by a detriment from scheduling rather than by a boost from spontaneity. The reported findings highlight an important opportunity for marketers to improve consumers' experiences and utility by leveraging scheduling behavior while also providing important implications for consumer well-being from leisure consumption.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Business and International Management
- Economics and Econometrics
- Leisure consumption
- Time consumption