Balanced Scheduling to Reduce Procrastination
Can Scheduling Enjoyable Activities Increase Productivity and Satisfaction?
The present research examined the effectiveness of a novel scheduling application in which the emphasis is paradoxically on scheduling leisure activities before scheduling work activities. According to the developer of this method, when we neglect to prioritize leisure activities, work activities can become tedious to the point that we begin to procrastinate. To assess this possibility, undergraduate students (n = 27) completed a two-week baseline of their study activities, during which they recorded both the duration and satisfaction level of each study session. This was followed by a four-week intervention in which the participants were randomly assigned to one of two conditions: (1) a traditional scheduling condition in which they scheduled their study activities for the coming week, and (2) a balanced scheduling condition in which they scheduled their leisure activities first and study activities second. We found no significant difference between the traditional scheduling and balanced scheduling groups in either study duration or satisfaction. For the combined group, however, we did find an overall effect of scheduling, with improvements from baseline to treatment in study duration (p < .001) and study satisfaction (marginally significant, p = .07), as well as an overall decrease in scores from pre-study to post-study on a standardized measure of academic procrastination (p = .01). These findings suggest that weekly scheduling, regardless of whether it includes scheduling one’s leisure activities, may be an effective intervention for improving students’ study behaviour and reducing procrastination. Limitations of the study include a small sample size and lack of appropriate controls for possible confounds.
Keywords: balanced scheduling, traditional scheduling, study time, satisfaction, procrastination