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The Washington Post: Why is having too much free time as bad for you as having too little?

From The Washington Post: Have you ever had one of those days — that turned into weeks — when you had approximately 645 things to do and not a single minute for leisure time? According to study results published earlier this month in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, an individual’s well-being increases in correlation with their free time — but only to a certain point. While having too little free time isn’t healthy, having too much also diminishes well-being.

“What we found is that a moderate amount of free time or discretionary time is kind of the sweet spot that people are happiest with,” says lead author Marissa Sharif, an assistant professor of marketing at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania who collaborated on the new study with Holmes and Hal E. Hershfield.

“Having a moderate amount of discretionary time leads people to be happier than having a small amount, because it relieves that time stress,” Sharif says. “But perhaps the more interesting part is that a moderate amount of discretionary time leads people to be better off or happier compared to having a large amount of free time. And that’s because with a large amount of free time, people feel this lacking sense of productivity and purpose.”

Read the full story in The Washington Post.