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How Daily Planning Can Improve Employee Performance

Employees often must perform at a high level while balancing a heavy workload. They are also expected to handle interruptions appropriately while still maintaining productivity. To achieve their performance goals, many employees plan their work days to ensure they are effectively completing their daily tasks. Despite the common use of planning across working professionals, limited research exists on how daily planning impacts work performance. 

Recent research in the Journal of Applied Psychology aimed to fill this gap. The researchers focused on two types of daily planning—time management planning and contingent planning. Time management planning can be described as creating task lists, prioritizing tasks, and determining how and when to perform them. Contingent planning refers to employees planning out their workday to account for disruptions.

The researchers conducted the two-week research study by recruiting full-time employees from various organizations. All participants were asked to complete a survey every morning to capture how they approach daily planning. They were also asked to complete a survey every evening to measure how their performed that day. The researchers found that time management planning was an effective daily planning approach at times when interruptions were less frequent. In contrast, contingent planning was a more effective daily planning approach when interruptions were more frequent. 

Parke, M. R., Weinhardt, J. M., Brodsky, A., Tangirala, S., & DeVoe, S. E., (2018). When daily planning improves employee performance: The importance of planning type, engagement, and interruptions. Journal of Applied Psychology103(3), 300-312.