When Daily Planning Improves Employee Performance: The Importance of Planning Type, Engagement, and Interruptions

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Abstract

Does planning for a particular workday help employees perform better than on other days they fail to plan? We investigate this question by identifying 2 distinct types of daily work planning to explain why and when planning improves employees’ daily performance. The first type is time management planning (TMP)—creating task lists, prioritizing tasks, and determining how and when to perform them. We propose that TMP enhances employees’ performance by increasing their work engagement, but that these positive effects are weakened when employees face many interruptions in their day. The second type is contingent planning (CP) in which employees anticipate possible interruptions in their work and plan for them. We propose that CP helps employees stay engaged and perform well despite frequent interruptions. We investigate these hypotheses using a 2-week experience-sampling study. Our findings indicate that TMP’s positive effects are conditioned upon the amount of interruptions, but CP has positive effects that are not influenced by the level of interruptions. Through this study, we help inform workers of the different planning methods they can use to increase their daily motivation and performance in dynamic work environments.

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