The Importance of Time Management

By John Dudovskiy
February 25, 2013

Time Management

The definition of the concept of time has been associated with ambiguities and even contradictions. For instance, time has been described as “time nothing more than the occurrence of events in sequence, on after another” (Olpin and Hessen, 2012, p.167), and “a resource that, when lost or misplaced, is gone forever” (Kerzner, 2009, p.286).

The definition of time management has been offered as “the process of skilfully applying time to finish and perfect a specific activity within time constraint” (Harris, 2008, p.22). However, there is no single definition of time that fully captures all aspects of the concept.

Becker and Mustric (2008) divide time into two categories: quantitative and qualitative. It can be specified that “quantitative time is seen to represent time as quantities, that is, time can be measured and counted into seconds, minutes, days, weeks, months, and years” (Wu, 2009, p.5). Qualitative time, on the other hand, is associated with a meaning of an activity the time is spent on.

Similar to the concept of time, there are varying opinions amongst secondary data authors regarding the definition and role of time management. For instance, it has been noted that “time management is about taking charge, carefully, consciously, purposefully – not shrinking from difficulties, but engaging them” (Kristan, 2010, p.4).  Moreover, some secondary data authors also note that “time management is not an end itself. It is the means to an end. When linked with setting and meeting goals it provided a way of getting really high achievement out of individuals and others with whom they come into contact” (Pearson and Thomas, 2010, p.49).

Marquis and Huston (2009), on the other hand, disagree with the term of time management, and argue that time cannot be managed in any ways, but rather individuals can manage events in their lives in relation to time.

At the same time, it has been warned by some secondary data authors that “time management must not be seen as only concerned with packing more activity on the available time, though this may be part of it; it must be in ensuring that objectives are met” (Forsyth, 2010, p.13). Moreover, it has also been stated that  “time management is not about creating more time but rather about making the best use of the time we have” (Hansen, 2011, p.3).

The majority of publications devoted to the issues of time management discuss the advantages of effective management of time and offer techniques that can be used in order to achieve this objective.

For instance it has been stated that “when we manage our time more effectively and efficiently, we reduce stress and frustration, we become more confident, and we feel better” (Mancini, 2007, p.viii). Moreover, some secondary data authors convincingly argue that “with proper planning and some self-discipline, many urgent matters disappear altogether or, when they do surface, your planning and discipline makes them less urgent and easier to deal with” (Rivera, 2007, p.51).

Moreover, authors state that “the benefits of time management are many. Rather than running around in a state of frenzy, you feel a sense of empowerment from getting things done and having the time to enjoy life’s simple pleasures” (Seaward, 2011, p.134).

Furthermore, the additional advantages of time management have been highlighted by secondary data authors as being more productive (Green and Skinner, 2005, Alexander and Dobson, 2008), having more energy to accomplish tasks (Limoncelli, 2006, Becker and Mustric, 2008, Christie, 2009), feeling less stressed (Bhugra and Howes, 2007, Brott, 2008, Christie, 2009), possibility to pursue personal interests (Felton and Sims, 2009), getting more things done (Green and Skinner, 2005, Mustric, 2008), relating to others in more positive manner (Bhugra and Howes, 2007), and feeling better about self (Brott, 2008).

Secondary data authors stress that time management principles can be and have to be mastered by everyone regardless the nature of the their employment, age, religion or any other demographic or other variables. Namely, it has been said that “given the right intention, and motivation, it is possible for anyone to improve their time utilisation and to do so markedly of you have not thought about it recently” (Forsyth, 2010, p.8).


Major Concepts and Ideas Associated with Time Management

First of all, it is important to note that “in spite of all popular attention to managing time, relatively little research has been conducted on the process involved in using one’s time effectively (e.g. by using “prime time” to carry out important tasks) and completing work within deadlines” (Claessens et al, 2007, p.256)

According to Fleming (2011) an effective time management is closely associated with an understanding the difference between efficiency and effectiveness. Fleming (2011) clarifies that while efficiency involves completing specified tasks in a right manner, effectiveness relates to identifying the right tasks to be accomplished in the first place.

A similar viewpoint is expressed by Fleming (2011) as well, who argues that the practice of identification of strategic tasks in an appropriate manner, and the selection of appropriate tools and techniques for the completion of those tasks can be considered the most basic conditions of effective time management.

Singh (2008) points to two fundamental aspects associated with the concept of time:

a)    The sequence, and more precisely, the order of the changes;

b)    The duration of the changes or of the period between them.

Felton and Sims (2009), on the other hand, closely associate the concept of time management with one’s self management. The authors assert that “the focus of time management is priorities and stems from self-management. Self-management is the powerhouse of time management” (Felton and Sims, 2009, p.21).

Zeller (2008) expands this idea and stresses the importance of having an effective personal system of time management along with a comprehensive Specifically, the author reasons that “effective time management requires more than good intent and self-knowledge” (Zeller, 2008, p.14), and a good system consisting of specific processes need to be put in place in order to engaged in time management in an efficient manner. The specific processes involved in time management are specified by Downs (2008) as setting priorities, analysing, filtering, scheduling and executing.

The importance of environmental factors in effective management of time has been mentioned by Singh (2008), Forsyth (2010), and Silvis (2011). All of these authors give credit to Schematic Model of Factors Affecting Time Use proposed by Robinson (1977) in terms of classification and presentation of environmental factors affecting use of time in an effective manner. Moreover, Singh (2008) argues that despite the fact that more than three decades have passed from the introduction of Schematic Model of Factors Affecting Time Use the importance of the model has not been compromised.

Time management



Adair, J & Allen, M. (1999) “Time Management and Personal Development” Hawksmere
Alexander, R & Dobson, M.S. (2008) “Real-world time management” AMACOM
Barling, J., Kelloway, E. K. & Cheung, D. (1996). “Time management and achievement striving interact to predict car sale performance” Journal of Applied Psychology81, 821-826.
Becker, H & Mustric, F. (2008) “Can I Have 5 Minutes of Your Time?” Morgan James Publishing
Beevers, R. (2006) “Customer Service Excellence in the Public Sector”, Northern Housing Consortium
Bhugra, D. & Howes, O. (2007) “Handbook of Psychiatric Trainees” RCPsych Publications
Blaxter, L, Hughes,C & Tight, M. (2006) “How To Research” 3rd edition, McGraw-Hill
Bond, M. & Feather, N. (1988) “Some correlates of structure and purpose in the use of time” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology
Boone, LE & Kurtz, DL (2010) “Contemporary Business” John Wiley & Sons
Brink, H, Walt, C.V & Rensburg, G.V. (2005) “Fundamentals of Research Methodology for Helath-Care Professionals” Juta Online
Brott, R. (2008) “Successful Time Management: Be the Productive Person You Want to Be” ANC Book Publishing
Buchbinder, S.B & Thompson, J.M. (2010) “Career opportunities in health care management” Jones and Bartlett Learning
Butler, G & Hope, T. (2007) “Managing Your Mind: The Mental Fitness Guide” Oxford
Christie, S. (2009) “Effective time management for doctors” Developmedica
Claessens, J.C., Eerde, W. & Rutte, C.G. (2007) “A Review of the time management literature” Personnel Review, Vol. 36, pp. 255 – 276
Covey, S. (1990) “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” Fireside
Denscombe, M. (2010) “The Good Research Guide for Small-Scale Social Research Projects” fourth edition.
Denhardt, R.B. (2010) “Theories of Public Organisation” Cengage Learning
Decrop, A. (2006) “Vacation decision making” CABI
Dodd, P & Sundheim, D. (2011) “The 25 Best Time Management Tools and Techniques: How to Get More Done Without Driving Yourself Crazy” John Wiley & Sons
Downs, L.J. (2008) “Time Management Training2 ASTD
Engel, R.J. & Schutt, R.K. (2009) “Fundamentals of Social Work Research” SAGE Publications
Evans, C. (2008) “Time Management for Dummies” John Wiley & Sons
Felton, S & Sims, M. (2009) “Organising Your Day: Time Management Techniques That Will Work for You” Revell
Fleming, I. (2011) “The Time Management Pocketbook” 6th edition, Management Pocketbooks
Flynn, N. (2007) “Public Sector Management” 5th edition, SAGE Publications
Forsyth, P. (2010) “Successful Time Management” Kogan Page
Green, P & Skinner, D. (2005) “Does time management training work? An evaluation” International Journal of Training and Development Volume 9, Issue 2, pp. 124 – 139

Harris, J. (2008) “Time Management 100 Success Secrets: The 100 Most Asked Questions on Skills, Tips, Training, Tools and Techniques for Effective Time Management” Lulu Publications

Hillestad, S.G & Berkowitz, E.N. (2004) “Health care market strategy: from planning to action” Jones and Bartlett Learning
Kassel, D.S. (2010) “Managing Public Sector Projects: A Strategic Framework for Success in an Era of Downsized Government” Taylor & Francis

Kerzner, H. (2009) “Project Management: A Systems Approach to Planning, Scheduling, and Controlling” John Wiley & Sons

Kristan, P. (2010) “Awakening in Time: Practical Time Management for Those on a Spiritual Path” Dog Ear Publishing

Lakein, A. (1973) “How to Get Control of Your Time and Your Life” P.H. Wyden New York
Limoncelli, T. (2006) “Time management for system administrators” O’Reilly
Macan, T. H. (1996 “Time management training: Effects on time behaviours, attitudes, and job performance” Journal of Psychology130, 229-236
Managing Interruptions. (2011) Available at:  Accessed November 13, 2011

Marquis, B.L. & Huston, C.J. (2009) “Leadership roles and management functions in nursing: theory and application” Wolters Kluwer Health

Matsuo, M. (2005) “The role of internal competition in knowledge creation: an empirical study of Japanese firms” Peter Lang
Mancini, M. (2007) “Time Management: 24 Techniques to Make Each Minute Work” McGrow-Hill
Mudrack, P. E. (1997) “The structure of perceptions of time” Educational and Psychological Measurement57, 222-240

Olpin, M. & Hesson, M. (2012) “Stress Management for Life: A Research – Based Experiential Approach” Cengage Learning
Randel, J.(2010) “The Skinny on Time Management: How to Maximise Your 24-Hour Gift” RAND Media Co
Rivera, C. (2007) “Time Management” Global Media
Seaward, B.L. (2011) “Essentials of Managing Stress” Jones and Bartlett Learning
Seaward, B.L & Seaward, B. (2011) “Managing Stress: Principles and Strategies for Health and Well-Being” Jones and Bartlett Learning
Secunda, A. (1999) “The 15 second principle : short, simple steps to achieving long-term goals” Berkley Books
Silvis, C. (2011) “Time Management and Organisation for Writers” in 2012 Writer’s Market
Simmons, S. (2011) “9 Ways to Handle Interruptions Like a Pro” Available at:  Accessed December, 2, 2011.
Singh, U.B. (2008) “Time Management: A Study of HRD Managers” Kalpaz Publications
Starling, G. (2010) “Managing the Public Sector” Wadsworth
Tobis, M & Tobis, I. (2002) “Managing multiple projects” McGraw-Hill Professional
Tracy, B. (2007) “Eat That Frog! 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time” Berrett-Koehler Store
Walsh, R. (2008) “Time Management: Proven Techniques for Making Every Minute Count”  Adams Media
Waterworth, S. (2003) “Time management strategies in nursing practice” Journal of Advanced Nursing, Volume 43, Issue 5, pp. 432 – 440
Wirick, D.W. (2009) “Public-Sector Project Management: Meeting the Challenges and Achieving the Results” John Wiles & Sons

Wu, D. (2009) “Temporal Structures in Individual Time Management: Practices to Enhance Calendar Tool Design” IGI

Wysocki, D.K. (2007) “Readings in Social Research Methods” Cengage Learning
Yager, J. (2008) “Work Less, Do More: The 14-Day Productivity Makeover, Barnes & Noble
Zapico-Goni, E & Wholey, J. (2007) “Monitoring Performance in the Public Sector,” Transaction Books
Zeller, D. (2008) “Successful Time Management for Dummies” For Dummies

Category: Management