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A review of the time management literature

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Purpose ‐ The purpose of this article is to provide an overview for those interested in the current state-of-the-art in time management research. Design/methodology/approach ‐ This review includes 32 empirical studies on time management conducted between 1982 and 2004. Findings ‐ The review demonstrates that time management behaviours relate positively to perceived control of time, job satisfaction, and health, and negatively to stress. The relationship with work and academic performance is not clear. Time management training seems to enhance time management skills, but this does not automatically transfer to better performance. Research limitations/implications ‐ The reviewed research displays several limitations. First, time management has been defined and operationalised in a variety of ways. Some instruments were not reliable or valid, which could account for unstable findings. Second, many of the studies were based on cross-sectional surveys and used self-reports only. Third, very little attention was given to job and organizational factors. There is a need for more rigorous research into the mechanisms of time management and the factors that contribute to its effectiveness. The ways in which stable time management behaviours can be established also deserves further investigation. Practical implications ‐ This review makes clear which effects may be expected of time management, which aspects may be most useful for which individuals, and which work characteristics would enhance or hinder positive effects. Its outcomes may help to develop more effective time management practices. Originality/value ‐ This review is the first to offer an overview of empirical research on time management. Both practice and scientific research may benefit from the description of previous attempts to measure and test the popular notions of time management.

Keywords: Control; Job satisfaction; Performance management; Time measurement; Training

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: February 13, 2007


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