New research at the Ohio State University has found that humans experience time as subjectively shorter when time is experienced right before a scheduled appointment or task. This was determined by the research team after a series of 8 different studies.
The research seems to hold up not just “in the lab,” but in real life as well. The team found that people really do get more done when they don’t have a task or meeting coming up at a particular time. This likely explains why people feel like they don’t get anything done on days when they have a bunch of meetings scheduled and they are scattered throughout the work day.
The core of the issue is that the anticipation of the scheduled activity becomes a distraction.
One solution suggested by researchers was to try and lump all your meetings together if you can. This will leave long stretches of time for larger projects and your mind won’t wander to the immediate future. They also said to look at the clock, remind yourself that you do, in fact, have plenty of time.
The research has been published in the Journal of Consumer Research.