Long weekends offer a tiny pocket of extra time to unwind and reset. But the thing about long weekends is that they seem to come and go so quickly. You celebrate on Friday, chill out on Saturday and Sunday and then, before you know it, Monday evening’s arrived and you’re questioning where all that time went.
Well, science has figured out where all our time goes, and can even help us make the most of it. That’s right, there’s a scientific way to prolong your long weekend.
David Eagleman, a professor at Stanford University spoke to The Science Of Us about this very concept. He’s a neuroscientist who wrote a book called The Brain: The Story Of You. He suggests that, if you want the weekend to last longer, you should seek out completely new experiences. The time goes quicker if you’re relaxing and running errands than if you’re climbing mountains and seeking out new horizons.
He explains the phenomenon by comparing our current experiences to those we had as children. “When you’re a kid, everything is novel and you’re laying down new memories about it. So when you look back at the end of a childhood summer, it seems to have taken a long time because you remember this and that, this new thing, learning that, experiencing that,” Eagleman says. “But when you’re older, you’ve sort of seen all the patterns before.”
While it seems unlikely that the time spent in line at the post office goes quicker than a delicious lunch at a brand new restaurant, Eagleman explains that it’s only true in hindsight. “It’s exactly the opposite when you’re looking forward in time versus looking backwards,” he says.
He compares it to the experience on a long-haul flight. When you’re actually flying, it seems like time is taking forever to pass but once you’re off, you can hardly remember a thing.
“It seems like it was super fast,” says Eagleman. “In the sense that you don’t have any memory of it. There’s nothing novel about the experience, so time kind of disappears there.”
The takeaway? Don’t let your long weekend disappear from under your nose! Plan something. Escape the city. Go somewhere new. Spend it with friends. Book a trip overseas. Most importantly, use it wisely.
H/T: The Science Of Us