The busier you are, the more likely you are to complete tasks, particularly those whose deadlines have been missed, found Keith Wilcox of Columbia University and his team. Getting behind is demoralising, but Professor Wilcox discovered that busier people are better at bouncing back from a missed deadline and are more likely to get the task done — and more quickly. The theory is that while you may have missed one deadline, with other tasks completed and with others on the go, you feel that you are still winning the productivity war.
According to the study, keeping yourself and your staff busy is a simple way to continue getting things done, even when deadlines have been missed. Rather than giving yourself or others more to do, you should instead break down larger tasks into smaller ones. This will make you feel busier without increasing your workload. But make sure you are busy with productive tasks and not simply those that occupy time, says Prof Wilcox.