That old maxim 'if you want something done, ask a busy person' has just been scientifically proven - meaning that next time you need a favour, it's best to message your friend that looks the most stressed all the time. Also, it turns out that the more you put something off, the less likely you're going to do it at all.
Researchers at Columbia University studied the productivity habits of 25,000 people and found that, the busier the person, the better they were at bouncing back after a missed deadline. Whereas those who had way more time to hit said deadline, would actually let the task drag on and sometimes never complete it.
Using information from an unnamed productivity app, the study looked at how often people would set back deadlines and rearrange times for tasks - and the more stuff they had on, the more likely they were to complete a rescheduled deadline. Interestingly, once a deadline was rescheduled, researchers found that non-busy people took an average 37.6 days to complete a task in comparison to 25.5 days for busy people. And when a deadline wasn't rescheduled, it took just 19.4 days for non-busy people and 12.2 days for busy people.
After the initial study of app users, students were given a survey and then tested on how long it took them to complete it (clever!) - and researchers found that, again, busier students completed the survey a lot more quickly, backing up the results from the app-based data.
Basically - busy people are better at doing stuff, but if you reschedule something, then you're going to take way longer to do it regardless of how productive you are.
So next time you consider postponing doing that really boring thing that has to get done (Taxes! Buying kitchen roll! Getting a spare key cut!) just do it. Or ask your really busy mate to do it.
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This article originally appeared on The Debrief.