A recent Dutch study of Research and Development Engineers investigated how task attributes, job characteristics, personality characteristics, and time management competence were related to the completion of their planned daily tasks.
The study found that only 73% of their planned daily tasks were completed by the end of each day.
The main reason? Interruptions. An average of 96 minutes worth of them every day.
- Attractiveness of the task was not related to completion.
- Less important tasks were usually completed rather than more important tasks.
- Tasks that are both important and urgent are more likely to be performed, but tasks that are only important and not urgent are unlikely to be completed.
- Personality—conscientiousness and emotional stability—and time management skills, were the most consistent factors in task completions.
- Time management training was most highly related to task completion of the variables included, even though only five people reported having gone through a program, and that was more than three years before.
Read the whole study here (pdf): Things to do today.