Do we have more fun at work or at home?

We spend a lot more time in high-challenge, high-skill situations that encourage flow states during work hours. We’re more likely to feel apathy during leisure time at home.

From Sonja Lyubomirsky’s very interesting book, The How of Happiness:

…one study, adult workers were given pagers that beeped them at preprogrammed intervals as they went about their days. Each page was a signal to the participants to consider their at that very moment and to complete several rating scales—that is, how much were they concentrating, did they want to continue what they were doing, and how happy, strong, and creative they were feeling. Interestingly, though perhaps not surprisingly, the study found that while at work (relative to home/leisure), these individuals spent a great deal more time in high-challenge, high-skill situations (that is, those situations that foster flow) and less time in low-skill, low-challenge situations. Indeed, they were inclined to experience a sense of efficacy and self-confidence during work hours but to experience apathy at home. However, when probed about what they’d rather be doing, these participants uniformly stated that they’d rather be doing something else when working and that they preferred to continue what they were doing when at leisure.

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About Eric Barker