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.
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