Brain power

How effective is time management?

Originally posted on The Horizons Tracker.

Time management is undoubtedly a hot topic, but does it actually result in professional success?  That was the question posed by research1 from the Université Laval in Quebec City.  The researchers examined over 150 time-management studies over the last four decades, with the papers collectively involving over 53,000 participants from six continents.

The research suggests that time management does work, albeit perhaps not as we might ordinarily believe it to.

“We found that it does have a moderate impact on work performance,” the researchers explain. “But we found that the relationship between time management and job performance actually increased over the years, and significantly so.”

A vital skill

The researchers argue that as working life has become more complicated, the ability to effectively manage our time is more important than ever.  This is especially so as individual autonomy increases.

“People have more leeway in deciding how to structure their own time, so it is up to them to manage their own time as well. If they are good at it, presumably they will have a better performance,” they explain. “And if they are not, they will have an even worse performance than they would have had 30 years ago, when they had more of their time managed for them.”

Effective time management also appeared to have a positive impact on people’s academic prospects, although this success was not as pronounced as in a professional context.  There also appeared to be a boost to our life satisfaction and overall wellbeing when we were effective at managing our time.

“Time management helps people feel better about their lives because it helps them schedule their day-to-day around their values and beliefs, giving them a feeling of self-accomplishment,” the researchers explain.

Managing our time

When the researchers broke the data down by age, gender, education, and personality, there appeared to be no real underlying factor, although conscientiousness was generally a positive influence on our time management ability.

“That involves people’s attention to details, their desire for organization, to be reliable and systematic,” the researchers explain. “That is understandable, because there is a lot of overlap there.”

There also appeared to be a correlation between the degree to which we feel in control of our life and our ability to manage time effectively, with those who feel in control generally being better time managers than those who don’t.

Article source: How Effective Is Time Management?

Header image source: Mohamed Hassan on Pixabay, Public Domain.


  1. Aeon, B., Faber, A., & Panaccio, A. (2021). Does time management work? A meta-analysis. PLOS ONE, 16(1), e0245066.
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Adi Gaskell

I'm an old school liberal with a love of self organizing systems. I hold a masters degree in IT, specializing in artificial intelligence and enjoy exploring the edge of organizational behavior. I specialize in finding the many great things that are happening in the world, and helping organizations apply these changes to their own environments. I also blog for some of the biggest sites in the industry, including Forbes, Social Business News, Social Media Today and, whilst also covering the latest trends in the social business world on my own website. I have also delivered talks on the subject for the likes of the NUJ, the Guardian, Stevenage Bioscience and CMI, whilst also appearing on shows such as BBC Radio 5 Live and Calgary Today.

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