A recent study asks the important question: Does time management work? Researchers recognize that there are merits to creating a structured work schedule, and that it is a “vital skill-set” for productivity. While the concept of time management was not being called into question in the research, there were questions about which environments and individuals benefit most from a strategy.1
For the study, researchers analyzed various databases for the keywords “time management.” They analyzed 158 studies from around the world with over 50,000 participants.
They determined that most strategies use three aspects: structuring, protecting, and adapting time to changing conditions:
- Structuring refers to scheduling and planning.
- Protecting refers to setting boundaries and blocking out distractions like social media and phone calls.
- Adapting refers to allowing flexibility in your schedule in case something arises.
What the Study Found
The results showed that time management benefited work productivity and empowered those with work autonomy, and it also showed benefits in academic environments. The effects were not as significant for academic work, and they did not extend to test scores in the way that overall intelligence can.
According to the study, “Results-based performance in academic settings depends less on time management than results-based performance in professional settings. This means that time management is more likely to get people a good performance review at work than a strong GPA in school.”
Many people are unconsciously pulled by the desires or demands of others and fill much of their time with things they don’t enjoy. When we get clear on what matters most to us, we can better schedule our time, and when it really matters, we find ways to make time.
— KRISTA-LYNN LANDOLFI
Even more than productivity, time management impacted well-being. The study results showed that it had a 72% stronger impact on life satisfaction than job satisfaction, which is equally valuable.
Researcher Brad Aeon explains, “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.”
Researchers also noted that time management skills can have an effect on anxiety and distress. They explored “work-life conflict,” which refers to imbalances with family and work life. As more people are working from home, these issues are more relevant than ever.