Daily Planning Improves Employee Performance

Topic(s): engagement, performance
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology, 2018
Article: When Daily Planning Improves Employee Performance: The Importance of Planning Type, Engagement, and Interruptions
Authors: M.R. Parke, J.M. Weinhardt, A. Brodsky, S. Tangirala, S.E. DeVoe
Reviewed by: McKenzie Preston

Employees are often expected to perform at a high level while balancing an increasing workload and handling interruptions at work. Consequently, many employees seek out best practices that will enable them to achieve their performance goals. One common strategy that employees use is planning out their workday to ensure they are working efficiently to complete their daily tasks. While it is a widespread practice among professionals, little research has focused on how daily planning affects employee performance.


In this study, the researchers (Parke et al., 2018) focused on two distinct types of daily planning—time management planning and contingent planning. The researchers defined time management planning as creating task lists, prioritizing tasks, and determining how and when to perform them. They defined contingent planning as employees planning out their workday to account for possible interruptions.

To conduct the study, the researchers recruited full-time employees from a wide range of organizational contexts to participate in a two-week research study. Participants were sent a survey each morning to capture their approach to daily planning and a survey each evening to determine their performance for the day. The findings from the study revealed that time management planning was an effective approach to daily planning when interruptions were less frequent. Alternatively, contingent planning was an effective approach to daily planning even when interruptions were more frequent.


These results demonstrate that two different approaches to daily planning can improve employee performance—time management planning and contingent planning. The authors suggest that employees preferably engage in contingent planning. This strategy can add to the benefits provided by task management planning, while still enabling employees to maintain high engagement and performance during days with many interruptions.


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), 300-312.
doi: 10.1037/apl0000278