It is true that the majority of the time, people learn to manage their time the proverbial hard way (i.e. working late at night, trial and error, barely meeting deadlines, etc.). The definition of time management can be stated to be the process of both controlling and understanding the time spent on a variety of activities. Time management is by and large affected by a variety of certain methods, techniques that are utilized to accomplish the goals, objectives and tasks at a company within a particular time frame. Time management has typically been discussed in business sectors, however, throughout the years; there have been an incorporation of personal activities within the topic.
Literature has noted that how one manages their time is a fundamental question that should be inquired upon within the business management arena. The subject of what is time has also been expressed in the business area in order to get individuals to better understand how to utilize it more effectively and more efficiently. The definition of effectiveness is being able to accomplish a given project in a prudent manner; while efficiency operates on ensuring that the tasks associated with the given project run as smoothly as they possibly can (Adair and Allen, 2003; Covey, 2004; Saunders et al., 2004).
Ritter (1989), Irons (2003) and Schwartz and McCarthy (2007) ruminate that the core issue surrounding time management is that time is a resource that is restricted and that employees have to have energy for a business to run successfully. There is a strong correlation between physical activity and workplace performance. Schwartz and McCarthy (2007) took a step further by stating that the behaviors and rituals associated with employees at companies have a direct effect on that company's revenue and reputation in addition to the factors of performance and productivity.
Hence, time management becomes an even more precise concept to both analyze and examine in order that businesses function to the best of their ability (Jex and Elacqua, 1999). Time management is a “balancing act” (Friemann, 2000). Employees and staff at certain companies and corporations have problems with time management mostly as a consequence of not learning how to manage their time prior to entering into the career world (Chase, 2003; Gamauf, 2012), personal and/or workplace stressors (Adebisi, 2013) and a lack of discipline (Viswanathan and Olsen, 1992; Kay, 2011; Mancini, 2003).
To combat the issue of time management, certain journal articles have posited that management needs to implement certain types of strategies that help employees, managers and staff manage time well within certain projects and tasks that they are given (Anonymous, 2009; Chesbrough and Appleyard, 2007; Oshagbemi, 1995; Oncken and Wass, 1999; Nagra, 2011). There is reason to believe that certain strategies along the lines of goal setting (Irons, 2003), Pareto analysis; and quadrant goal implementation also referred to as the Eisenhower Method (Adair and Allen, 2003; Mancini, 2003; Thatcher, 2006), as well the my time or yours strategy noted in (Saunders et al., 2004), which outlined the importance of time management for companies and corporations that operate on both virtual teams and what would be perceived as the typical 9-5 work routine.
Certain literature has even posited that certain strategies work better at particular times of the year (Bingham et al., 2011). What essentially then is the best practice associated with time management? How can companies and corporations ensure that their staff is managing time to the best of their ability so that they run smoothly?
Time management is a problem. Many companies and corporations often suffer at the hands of goals and projects not being completed on time. This results in cutbacks, frustrated employees and workers who are not being recognized accordingly (i.e. appraisals, compensation) (HRLook.com, 2007; Mancini, 2003) and a lack of output for the company's products. While trial and error are typically the best way individuals learn to manage their time better, it becomes all the more important in the business management setting that time is managed and managed properly; just not at the expense of the employees, managers and staff.
The focus of my research then will be to determine the best strategy (ies) that companies can implement to curtail the issue of time management. What courses of actions and methods best suit all sectors? While that is a loaded question, as there are many strategies that can be put into motion within companies and corporations, there is rationale to ascertain that one strategy or two at a minimum can be employed in all areas of business management (in all sectors). As aforementioned, there are many different courses of action that a company can take in terms of aiding employees and staff to manage their time better, so goals are properly executed.
Stephen Covey (2004), in his book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People stated that time management could be approached from any of his four categories: first generation, which was noted to be based on timepiece, whose job is alerting individuals that a duty needs to be completed; second generation, which was more along the lines of planning solely based on setting goals; third generation, which was a prioritization technique utilizing certain objects daily to elucidate priorities efficiently and fourth generation, which was a blend of the first through third categories with urgent matters taking precedence (Covey, 2004). Perhaps, his discussion on time management can be expounded upon in the research to better understand what strategy actually works and what does not, the best.
Each of the presented key terms will be used throughout the research to highlight the topic of time management in the business sector.
• Attention management - which relates to an individual's devotion of the resources mentally to a particular outcome or task (Mancini, 2003; Warren, 2008).
• The action item - which is defined as what needs to take place within a particular task (Mancini, 2003).
• Chronemics - the study of nonverbal contact within the field of business management. Perceptions associated with interfacing and promptness fall within the realm of chronemics (Mancini, 2003).
• Goal Matrix – technique associated with prioritizing what is most essential to be completed (Mancini, 2003).
• Pareto Analysis – a statistical technique used to have efficient use of resources (Mancini, 2003).
• Prospective memory – which is remembering to perform tasks when they are needing to be performed (Srivannaboon and Milosevic, 2006).
• Perception of time – a psychological term that refers to the subjective interpretation of what time is (Adair and Allen, 2003; Dight, n.d.).
• Time management systems – tools that aid and support employees and staff to better manage their time (Mancini, 2003).
Literature will be examined regarding time management. Each of the terms presented will be explicitly defined and discussed. In addition to the literature, questions will be asked throughout the research paper regarding time management such as why has certain strategies been more effective than others throughout the years; is it a manager’s job to build organizational morale and motivate their staff to properly carry out duties; what has happened to companies that did not employ any kind of time management skills and strategies to their business; why is time management such an issue; can time management really be trained.
In addition to these questions being answered in detail, much attention will be paid to the types of strategies associated with time management. Common strategies and not so common strategies will be important. With the methodology area of the research paper, interviews and/or surveys will be needed to assess and examine how individuals manage their time.
While the crux of the research paper is on time management in business, time management is an important component in daily living as well. Thus, the function of the interviews and/surveys will be twofold: to delineate whether time management is a problem or is it laziness; and whether certain strategies that are being implemented by individuals in their daily activities can be incorporated into the business arena and vice versa. This will serve to highlight both the importance of time management and efficient use of time. Additional methodologies may arise throughout the course of the research that may lend itself to more literature reviewing, and analysis of a quantitative nature.
Presently, there appear to be no limitations with this particular scope of topic, given the considerable and vast amount of information on it. While that does not contend that limitations will not present themselves over the course of the research, it can be posited that the research question will be answered.
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