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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Effective Time Management: Task and Assessment



Time management is of concern to most managers and employees that have some control of their daily schedules. It is also a concern to executives and managers that want their employees to be productive at work. Those employees who know how to effectively manage their time appear to have an advantage over those who don’t. Research helps highlight how successful employees are in finding appropriate strategies to put their efforts to maximum use.

Successful completion of goals and tasks requires employees to maintain the ability to schedule their time appropriately and make the most effective use of their efforts. The success of the business, as well as it managers, rely on strong and poor time management (Bahtijarevic, et. al., 2008). Time can be seen as a resource that when used effectively is a competitive advantage to organizations when compared to those organizations the ineffectively use time.

Successful time management can mean different things to different people and should have a process. Time management requires the ability to decide what should be accomplished, the importance of those tasks, and the priority of these tasks (Lakein, 1973).  With an effective method employees are more knowledgeable of the requirements each day and more focused in their efforts.

Effective time management requires a process that is helpful in conceptualizing available time resources as allocated to the organization. According to Macan et. al. it is necessary to 1.) set goals and priorities; 2.) making lists; and 3.) have a preference for the organizations needs (1990).  Not having a preference for the organization means that time will be used on more personal and less constructive activities.  

A study conducted by Mitrovic, et. al. (2013) helps to understand time usage within a Serbian company and how businesses can more effectively improve upon that time management. It aims to study the degree in which employees effectively schedule their time and helps to define factors in this effective time management.  A total of 180 employees out of a possible 220 responded to the survey.

Results:

-Daily planning of the day’s tasks was best done immediately after arriving at work. It is suggested that is a tallying of all required tasks, their arrangement and then understanding the amount of time each of them needs to be completed. 

-56% of employees plan their schedules daily, 24% do this irregularly, and 20% didn’t plan on a regular basis. This helps highlight the use of time resources are not being effectively utilized. 

-49% of employees know their most productive part of the day, 22% do not know when their most productive time is and 29% are unsure of when their most productive time is. Employees should understand when their most productive times are and utilize this time effectively. 

-70% of employees knew what the most important tasks for tomorrow were, 12% didn’t know what the most important tasks for tomorrow were and 17% were unsure. Employees should learn how to be more aware of upcoming tasks and learn how to be proactive in their scheduling of time. 

- 39% of employees did not update their project plans, 27% of employees were not sure, and 34% updated their project plans.  Employees had more difficulty managing their time on longer term projects.

The study helps highlight the necessity of training employees to effectively use their time in order to maximize time resources and human capital. The results indicate that effectively managing time requires the use of lists of tasks that are prioritized and have appropriate time allocated to each of these tasks. The best time of the day to prioritize tasks is early in the morning. The longer and more tasks the project requires the less ability employees have to plan their time accordingly.

Bahtijarevic, et. al (2008). Siivremeni menadzment.  Zagreb, Skolska knjiga
Lakein, A. (1973). How to get control of your time and your life. NY: New American Library.

Macan, et. al. (1990). College students time management: correlations with academic performance and stress. Journal of Educational Psychology, 82.

Mitrovic, S., Bozidar, L, Knoja, V. & Nesic, A. (2013). Employee time management: a case study from Serbia. Metalurgia International, 18 (1). 

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