Here's to the good times, all the time, now that a new study published in the Journal of Consumer Research has revealed the secret to maximum enjoyment — shortening what’s not-so-enjoyable in the process.

People tend to divide and conquer both their pleasant and unpleasant tasks. Think household chores. Some people go room by room — making the bed before scrubbing the toilet — while others go in-and-out of rooms, tackling whatever they happen upon until every room is cleaned-up. The same can be said for vacations. Go to all of the museums before all the restaurants, or a single museum and restaurant each day until it's time to (sigh) jet back home.

So researchers from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and New York University conducted a series of seven experiments, one including different brands of chocolate, to see if the way in which people completed their categorized tasks actually mattered. For the chocolate experiment, 40 undergraduate students chose three pieces of milk chocolate from one brand and another three pieces from another brand. Each student had two pieces from their first sample, or brand, and a single piece from their second. Researchers replicated this, too, with dark chocolate made from 99 percent cacao. Higher levels of cacao meant the chocolate would have a more bitter taste, thus making it the unpleasant option.

When it came to milk chocolate, researchers found 48 percent of students finished their first sample compared to the 79 percent that finished their first sample of dark chocolate. Why the huge jump? “For positive experiences, consumers are reluctant to eliminate categories, while the opposite is true for negative experiences because eliminating categories makes it feel like more of the experience has passed," the researchers explained.

In other words, to make the pleasant task last longer, students bounced between brands. And to make the unpleasant tasks go by quicker, students focused on one sample at a time in order to get it over with. The idea is that going back-and-forth between pleasant tasks leaves something to be desired, or something to look forward to. Yet, for unpleasant tasks, focusing on one category at a time is what promotoes that productive feeling, the feeling you got a whole lot done. People can cross bad tasks off their checklist without having to look back.