Study Explores How Busy Schedules Affect Well-Being

stressed man at his deskIf you’re like most people, you spend some portion of every day stressed about time, obligations, and your ability to get everything done. In an increasingly fast-paced world, where everyone wants a response yesterday, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by unceasing demands.

According to a study published in the Journal of Marketing Research, it’s not necessarily time constraints that lead to chronic stress. Instead, time constraints may affect how people spend their time, and these choices may lead to even more stress.

Understanding How Busy Schedules Cause Pressure

The study’s authors theorized that conflicting demands could be a significant source of stress. For instance, having to be two places at once or needing to complete two tasks that demand different emotional or intellectual resources could be more challenging.

To test this theory, researchers asked study participants to list tasks according to the amount of time they took, and to then picture themselves completing those tasks. They then asked participants to pretend the duties conflicted with one another. Some tasks were conflicted such that participants would be able to complete only one. Others involved emotional or financial conflicts. Participants reported more stress associated with conflicting tasks, regardless of the reason for the conflict.

The study’s authors believe that the way we think about stress may affect how we deal with it. It doesn’t matter if tasks actually conflict with one another; when people think of them that way, they have more difficulties with time management. When people feel pressed for time, they may struggle to sleep, be willing to spend more money to save time, or experience depression. These issues can all lead to even more stress.

Simple Strategies for Coping With Time Pressures

Researchers suggest that two easy strategies may help people more effectively cope with stress. Slow breathing can help to refocus the mind and calm feelings of anxiety. When feelings of stress become unmanageable, researchers suggest, it may be better to express them in the form of intense emotions such as excitement. Both approaches helped study participants feel less pressed for time.


Is your busy schedule affecting your health? Time might not be the problem. (2015, February 25). Retrieved from

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  • cole

    February 26th, 2015 at 3:49 PM

    When you have all of this time constriction then the time that you do have often feels like it is time doing yet more things that you don’t necessarily want to do, all just in an effort to get caught up! It is almost as if you get into this viscous cycle of trying to get ahead, trying to get more time for yourself but you wind up being even more stressed in the dash to do it.

  • Tim

    February 27th, 2015 at 4:10 AM

    Stress for me is like a motivational tool

    I don’t let it get me down- I let it get me moving

  • Mara

    February 27th, 2015 at 1:00 PM

    I have a pretty busy schedule and of course I am like most everyone in that there are always a certain number of things that I have to accomplish every day. When I find that things are not going quite as planned it always helps me just to step away from it all for a little bit and take some time to refocus. I know that this takes away from the time that I could be using to get things done but if I am not able to concentrate and give it 100% then it isn’t worth the time I am wasting otherwise.

  • toby g.

    February 28th, 2015 at 12:23 PM

    Well, think about it this way. If you are that busy then the last thing that most of us are going to consider taking care of would be ourselves. We are naturally going to focus on marking the most things possible off of those to do lists.

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