Self-regulation is the dynamic process by which people manage competing demands on their time and resources as they strive to achieve desired outcomes, while simultaneously preventing or avoiding undesired outcomes. In this article, we review the current state of knowledge regarding the process by which people manage these types of demands. We review studies in the organizational, cognitive, social psychology, and human factors literatures that have examined the process by which people () manage task demands when working on a single task or goal; () select which tasks or goals they work on, and the timing and order in which they work on them; and () make adjustments to the goals that they are pursuing. We review formal theories that have been developed to account for these phenomena and examine the prospects for an integrative account of self-regulation that can explain the broad range of empirical phenomena examined across different subdisciplines within psychology.


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