This study investigates antecedents of procrastination, the tendency to delay the initiation or completion of work activities. We examine this phenomenon from a self-regulation perspective and argue that depleted self-regulatory resources are an important pathway to explain why and when employees procrastinate. The restoration of self-regulatory resources during episodes of non-work is a prerequisite for the ability to initiate action at work. As sleep offers the opportunity to replenish self-regulatory resources, employees should procrastinate more after nights with low-quality sleep and shorter sleep duration. We further propose that people's social sleep lag amplifies this relationship. Social sleep lag arises if individuals' preference for sleep and wake times, known as their chronotype, is misaligned with their work schedule. Over five consecutive workdays, 154 participants completed a diary study comprising online questionnaires. Multilevel analyses showed that employees procrastinated less on days when they had slept better. The more employees suffered from social sleep lag, the more they procrastinated when sleep quality was low. Day-specific sleep duration, by contrast, was not related to procrastination. We discuss the role of sleep for procrastination in the short run and relate our findings to research highlighting the role of sleep for well-being in the long run.
procrastination, self-regulation, sleep, chronotype, diary study
Organizational Behavior and Theory
Organisational Behaviour and Human Resources
Journal of Organizational Behavior
Wiley: 24 months
KUHNEL, Jana; Ronald BLEDOW; and FEUERHAHN, Nicolas.
When do you procrastinate? Sleep quality and social lag jointly predict self-regulatory failure at work. (2016). Journal of Organizational Behavior. 37, (7), 983-1002. Research Collection Lee Kong Chian School Of Business.
Available at: http://ink.library.smu.edu.sg/lkcsb_research/4965
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