What is Time Management? - Definition, Examples & Studies Video

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  • 0:01 What Is Time Management?
  • 0:25 Why Manage Time?
  • 0:50 Examples
  • 2:18 Stephen Covey's Time…
  • 3:18 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Carol Woods

Carol has taught college Finance, Accounting, Management and Business courses and has a MBA in Finance.

There are more options today than ever before for ways to spend our time - or waste it! Read on to learn why and how we can better manage our most scarce resource.

What Is Time Management?

The modern concept of time management - the act of planning the amount of time you spend on which activities - really began with Frederick Taylor's scientific management techniques. His goal was to increase worker productivity. To do this, he conducted time and motion studies and began to focus on the best ways for jobs to be performed to maximize the work completed in a given amount of time.

Why Manage Time?

Time management has come up as a subject in the management field to reach the goal of increasing productivity, especially among white-collar workers for whom work output may be hard to measure. For example, an assembly line worker's output of 60 widgets per hour can be compared to a factory average and deemed as acceptable or not; however, white collar outputs tend to be difficult to compare to standards. So, modern managers in these areas look for ways to monitor worker productivity in terms of time use.

Examples

Modern time management goals are still to increase productivity, but the best way remains elusive. Many researchers have explored the subject and come up with different theories on effective time management. Here are the theories of a few big names in the time management field:

In her 1994 book, Thinking Smarter: Skills for Academic Success, Carla Crutsinger defined effective time management as the process of:

  1. Setting goals
  2. Prioritizing those goals
  3. Deciding how much time to allocate to specific tasks
  4. Adjusting plans as they change
  5. Revisiting the goals and priorities regularly
  6. Observing results

Academic leader Neil Shipman feels that the critical skills for time management are:

  • Being aware of yourself - your habits and your ways of working
  • Structuring your time
  • Setting goals and priorities
  • Increasing personal efficiency and effectiveness
  • Scheduling specific time for each activity
  • Scheduling relaxation time in order to regenerate

William E. Kelly, in his 2002 article on time management, defined critical time management skills as:

  • Making task lists
  • Organizing resources and work
  • Setting goals
  • Creating and reviewing a schedule
  • Breaking down large tasks into smaller pieces

Stephen Covey's Time Management Research

One big name in time management is Stephen Covey, a businessman and professor who has done his own, extensive research into the subject. In fact, Covey put together a matrix, which he published in his book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. In this matrix, the categories 'urgent' and 'not urgent' appear across the top, and the categories 'important' and 'not important' appear down the side.

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