This research tests the hypothesis that being busy increases motivation and reduces the time it takes to complete tasks for which people miss a deadline. 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. Studies 1 and 2 show that when people are busy, they are more motivated to complete a task after missing a deadline than those who are not busy, and that the perception that one is using time effectively mediates this effect. Studies 3 and 4 show that this process makes busy people more likely to complete real tasks than people who are not busy. Study 5 uses data from over half a million tasks submitted by thousands of users of a task management software application to show that busy people take less time to complete a task after they miss a deadline for completing it. The findings delineate the conditions under which being busy can mitigate the negative effects of missing a deadline and reduce the time it takes to complete tasks.
Wilcox, Keith, Juliano Laran, Andrew T. Stephen, and Peter Zubcsek. "How Being Busy Can Increase Motivation and Reduce Task Completion Time." Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 110, no. 3 (March 2016): 371-384.
Each author name for a Columbia Business School faculty member is linked to a faculty research page, which lists additional publications by that faculty member.
Each topic is linked to an index of publications on that topic.