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What is Time Management

We should define time management and distinguish it from personal organization, because the terms are frequently used to describe the same thing. Both organization and time management as we know it today have their roots in the scientific management era of the 20th century, during the period of rapid industrialization.

Organizing is the act of rearranging items that are in a disorganized, cluttered state so that everything can be retrieved quickly with less effort, maximizing both their utility and visual appeal.

Time management refers to increasing both the efficiency and the effectiveness of individuals and organizations through the organization of tasks and events by using tools such as planners and computers, and techniques and processes such as goal-setting, planning and scheduling.

Effectiveness refers to producing significant results. Efficiency refers to doing a task with little wasted effort. If a task does not produce significant results, it is not effective. It is either a very low priority task or an unnecessary task. It would be better delegated to someone else or ignored. Efficiency is doing a task in the best possible way while effectiveness is doing the best possible tasks. So we should always be concentrating on tasks that are effective, and doing those tasks efficiently.

From a corporate viewpoint, the purpose of time management is to increase productivity and ultimately, profit. From an individual standpoint, its purpose is to spend less time on the things we have to do so that we will have more time to spend on the things we want to do.

The major difference between organizing and time management is that in general, organizing deals with things and time management deals with activities that have a time dimension. Time management is more a thought process than it is physical activity. As Peg Dawson & Richard Guare describe time management in their book, Smart but Scattered, (2009) it is the ability to estimate how much time one has, how to allocate it, and how to stay within time limits and deadlines.

Time management and organizing go hand in hand. You can’t do the laundry efficiently & effectively if you keep tripping over the laundry basket. Your materials have to be organized. In the same ways, you can’t perform a task in the office efficiently if you can’t find the information you need. So we normally do not separate the two. We look at organizing as a part of the time management process. In fact if you are not organized, you will waste time.

There are many time management strategies. Each person selects those strategies that will work for him or her, and arranges them into a system. A system is a group of interacting, interrelated, or interdependent elements forming a complex whole. And the only time management system that will work perfectly for you is one that you design yourself or at least one that you adapt to your own needs.

Summary

What is Time Management – summed up:
Time management refers to increasing both the efficiency and the effectiveness of individuals and organizations through the organization of tasks and events by using tools such as planners and computers, and techniques and processes such as goal-setting, planning and scheduling.

Key points to take away:

  • Both organization and time management as we know it today have their roots in the scientific management era of the 20th century, during the period of rapid industrialization.
  • The major difference between organizing and time management is that in general, organizing deals with things and time management deals with activities that have a time dimension.
  • We normally do not separate the two (time management and organizing). We look at organizing as a part of the time management process.
  • There are many time management strategies. Each person selects those strategies that will work for him or her, and arranges them into a system.
  • The only time management system that will work perfectly for you is one that you design yourself or at least one that you adapt to your own needs.
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