So What if the Clock Strikes: Scheduling Style, Control and Well-Being


Journal of Personality and Social Psychology

November 2014, vol. 107, n°5, pp.791-808

Keywords: Scheduling style, Clock-time, Personal control well-being, Self-regulation

Individuals vary in the way they schedule their daily tasks and activities. In particular, two scheduling styles are commonly followed: clock-time (where tasks are organized based on a clock) and event-time (where tasks are organized based on their order of completion). This research shows that adopting a clock-time or an event-time scheduling style has consequences that go beyond the direct effect on task organization. In particular, adopting one scheduling style versus the other is shown to potentially influence personal control and well-being. We demonstrate that the reliance on clock- versus event-time affects individuals’ perception of the causal relationship between events in the social world (experiments 1 and 2). Specifically, we show that individuals following clock-time rather than event-time discriminate less between causally related and causally unrelated events, which in turn increases their belief that the world is controlled by chance or fate. In contrast, individuals following event-time (vs. clock-time) appear to believe that things happen more as a result of their own actions. We further show that this difference in internal locus of control compromises the ability of individuals following clock-time to savor positive emotions (experiments 3a-5). We discuss the implications of these findings for future research in social and cognitive psychology