When an Hour Feels Shorter: Future Boundary Tasks Alter Consumption by Contracting Time

48 Pages Posted: 19 May 2018

See all articles by Gabriela Tonietto

Gabriela Tonietto

Rugers Business School

Selin A. Malkoc

Fisher College of Business, The Ohio State University

Stephen Nowlis

Washington University in St. Louis - John M. Olin Business School

Date Written: May 2018

Abstract

Consumers often organize their time by scheduling various tasks, but also leave some time unaccounted. The authors examine whether ending an interval of unaccounted time with an upcoming task systematically alters how this time is perceived and consumed. Eight studies conducted both in the lab and field show that bounded intervals of time (e.g., an hour before a scheduled meeting) feel prospectively shorter than unbounded intervals of time (e.g., an hour with nothing scheduled subsequently). Furthermore, consumers perform fewer tasks and are less likely to engage in relatively extended (though feasible) tasks during a bounded compared to an unbounded interval of time – even in the face of financial incentives. Finally, making a longer task easier to separate into subparts attenuates this effect.

Keywords: time management, scheduling, time consumption, well-being, subjective duration, prospective duration

JEL Classification: D90, D99, J22, M59, M31, E21

Suggested Citation

Tonietto, Gabriela and Malkoc, Selin A. and Nowlis, Stephen, When an Hour Feels Shorter: Future Boundary Tasks Alter Consumption by Contracting Time (May 2018). Journal of Consumer Research, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3173860

Gabriela Tonietto

Rugers Business School ( email )

The State University of New Jersey
1 Washington Park
Newark, NJ 07102-3122
United States

Selin A. Malkoc (Contact Author)

Fisher College of Business, The Ohio State University ( email )

2100 Neil Avenue
Columbus, OH 43210-1144
United States

HOME PAGE: http://https://fisher.osu.edu/people/malkocgoodman.1

Stephen Nowlis

Washington University in St. Louis - John M. Olin Business School ( email )

One Brookings Drive
Campus Box 1133
St. Louis, MO 63130-4899
United States

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
81
Abstract Views
454
rank
349,839
PlumX Metrics