Why Busy Bees Get Things Done

Do you fret about always being busy? There might be a silver lining to that.

Research suggests that busy people tend to procrastinate less. Even when they do miss deadlines, busier people are more likely to pick up where they left off and complete the task quickly.

In 2016, researchers from Columbia University and three other US institutions published a paper on the links between being busy, lower levels of procrastination and higher levels of productivity. They had studied more than 28,800 people and their task completion over 18 months using an unnamed productivity app.

Failing to achieve a goal, such as missing a deadline, makes people feel “negative self-conscious emotions” such as guilt. To cope with the emotional discomfort, people may mentally disengage from the task, perpetuating the cycle of procrastination and lowering the chance of the task eventually being completed.

In contrast, busy people are less likely to be so affected. Instead of putting too much blame on themselves, they tend to attribute missing deadlines to the fact that they were busy and then stay actively engaged in completing the task.

But before diving back into the continuous stream of emails, messages and activity at work or on social media, it is important to note that being busy for its own sake is no more helpful. Being productive despite being busy likely comes from having a more urgent need to prioritise, rather than multitasking. Productivity also gets a boost from having clarity in the purpose of the things you need to do.

So perhaps having just enough on your to-do list to motivate you, without being overwhelmed, can help keep your mind off missed deadlines and strengthen your focus on getting tasks done.
    Apr 4, 2017
    Joanne Yip
  • link facebook
  • link twitter
  • link whatsapp
  • link email