- According to recent studies, about half of people surveyed felt like their vacation would end as soon as it started.
- Turns out, the idiom “time flies when you’re having fun” contains some actual truth because we make it that way.
- More studies here.
How many times in your life have you really looked forward to doing something exciting, like taking a vacation, only for it to come and go so fast that you feel like you didn’t get the experience you had anticipated? You are far from alone if this has ever happened to you.
According to recent studies published in the Journal of Consumer Psychology, about half of the people surveyed indicated that their upcoming weekend trip felt like it would be over as quickly as it started.
One of the authors of these studies, Selin Malkoc, discussed their findings on TheConversation.com.
“When people look forward to something, they usually want it to happen as soon as possible and last as long as possible,” she writes.
However, when we focus too much on that feeling and less on objectively looking at how much time we will get to enjoy ourselves, that’s when things can go off the rails.
“This feeling can have a ripple effect. It can change the way trips are planned – you might, for example, be less likely to schedule extra activities. At the same time, you might be more likely to splurge on an expensive dinner because you want to make the best of the little time you think you have.”
Unfortunately, for many people, the more they look forward to a certain event like a vacation, the farther away it seemed to be in the future, and the shorter it felt when it happened.
…people tend to reflexively assume that fun events – like vacations – will go by really quickly. Meanwhile, pining for something can make the time leading up to the event seem to drag. The combination of its beginning pushed farther away in their minds – with its end pulled closer – resulted in our participants’ anticipating that something they looked forward would feel as if it had almost no duration at all.
To combat this feeling, the researchers conducted a study where instead of focusing on when a vacation will begin and end leading up to it, they had the subjects objectively focus on the number of days their vacation would take.
As a result, they were able to rely less on their subjective feelings and more on objective measures of time when deciding how long a period of time will feel and how to best use it.
“So when looking forward to much-anticipated events like vacations, it’s important to remind yourself just how many days it will last,” Malkoc writes.
“You’ll get more out of the experience – and, hopefully, put yourself in a better position to take advantage of the time you do have.”
So, basically, just chill out, enjoy yourself, quit worrying about when your vacation will be over before you’ve even start it, and you’ll be golden.