Daily engagement you say?

Daily engagement you say?

Engagement has been all the rage in business climate research in the last decade.  Ideas of job satisfaction and motivation were reimagined, combined with energy and enthusiasm, and created a new holy grail for climate researchers.

This study from the latest Journal of Applied Psychology was conducted by researchers from the US, Canada, and UK.  It followed 187 workers across several industries.  Employees completed measures of planning, goal setting, interruptions, and accomplishments at the beginning and ending of each work day across several days, allowing for examination of within-person effects (what influences each individual). 

The research served to confirm the positive effects of planning on performance.  Spending time planning a workday each morning can help increase engagement and energy toward performance by setting goals, prioritizing, and focusing effort.  However, as many professionals have long since realized, a golden plan in the morning can be interrupted to the point of blocking progress on original goals.  Worse yet, interruptions often serve to add new tasks and goals.

It turns out that time-management planning (e.g., creating a to-do list) works less effectively as a motivator and performance enhancer when there are a lot of interruptions.  A second type of planning, contingent planning (e.g., planning contingencies for possible interruptions) also helps as a motivator even under conditions of frequent interruptions.

I suggest 15 minutes each morning on planning the day and 15 minutes reviewing your plan and thinking about possible interruptions and how to deal with them.  This will make your goals more realistic and attainable, and will help you to reframe interruptions as a normal part of the day rather than merely disruptions.


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 Psychology, 103 (3), pp. 300-312.