We tend to assume that pressure makes us more efficient. I work fastest when I’m on deadline. I stretch my grocery budget the most when my funds are running low. But in reality, it’s not that you’re working better when you’re stressed. It’s that the opposite situation, overabundance, often makes us less efficient.
It’s a fine balancing act: Overabundance makes us less efficient, but we need to reach a certain threshold of sufficiency before that effect kicks in. — Maria Konnikova, NYTimes.com.