If you're less busy you're more likely to get things done, right? Wrong

Technology Eye | April. 18, 2016

Keeping busy is the best way to stay productive, and can help you to deal with missed deadlines, according to a new study.

The research, published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology , looked at five different studies to find out how people managed to complete tasks even when they were unable to get everything done on time.

Using data from a productivity app, the researchers from Columbia University looked at how often users rescheduled a deadline. They found that tasks with changed deadlines were less likely to be completed, which is consistent with previous research. However, the people most likely to complete them were the ones who kept busy.

The sense of failure you feel when you miss a deadline is key, say the researchers. For people who stay busy and continue working, the shame is less strong, meaning they are more likely to finish the project, even if it is late.

People identified as "non-busy" took an average of 37.6 days to complete a task with a missed deadline, a difference of 18 days compared with the time taken to finish one that had not been delayed.

Meanwhile, busy people took an average of 25.5 days to complete delayed tasks, only 13 days more than tasks completed on time.

The researchers also analysed data gathered from more than 28,000 people over an 18-month period. This data confirmed the findings from the productivity app – busier people are more likely to eventually complete tasks that have been delayed.

The report ended by noting: “This effect occurs because busy people tend to perceive that they are using their time effectively, which mitigates the sense of failure people have when they miss a task deadline.”

Have you read? 12 ways successful people boost their productivity Does working fewer hours make you more productive? This is how to be more productive in 2016

SOURCE: World Economic Forum

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