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Time Management? Schmanagement!

We've all read the books on how managing your time is so important. But what if it's a waste of time, or just a moderate help?


A new study has found that yes, there's a benefit, but the correlation between it and professional or academic success is small, at best, according to newswise.com.


As John Molson School of Business Concordia graduate researcher Brad Aeon has discovered, "time management does work. Though maybe not as one might initially think," the web site reports.


Aeon and his colleagues Aïda Faber of Université Laval in Quebec City and Alexandra Panaccio, associate professor of management at John Molson, conducted a first-of-its-kind meta-analysis of time management literature. Their study pored over data from 158 separate studies spanning four decades, six continents and involving more than 53,000 respondents.


"We found that it does have a moderate impact on work performance," the web site quotes. "But we found that the relationship between time management and job performance actually increased over the years, and significantly so."


"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," he says at newswise.com. "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."


Time management also had a positive effect on academic success, though it was not as pronounced as on work. It had no discernible effect on standardized testing results, which Aeon says depend on a fluid type of intelligence that time management cannot address, the web site explains.


The researchers did find a stronger relationship between time management and overall well-being, in particular life satisfaction.


"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," he explains.


Conversely, there was a strong negative relationship between the practice and distress.


Finally, the researchers looked at the impact of time management across demographics, such as personality traits, age, gender, education and family status. They found the relationship far weaker than expected, though they had correctly anticipated that women would be slightly better at time management than men.


"The only trait that did correlate strongly with time management was conscientiousness," Aeon points out. "That involves people's attention to details, their desire for organization, to be reliable and systematic. That is understandable, because there is a lot of overlap there."

They noted that people who have what they call an internal locus of control --- meaning that they feel they have the ability to change or impact their lives -- are more successful at time management than those who say they are subject to an external locus of control.


So is time management important? Yes, if you want to have a good life, it seems. We all struggle through our work days, our parenting, our ability to meet our boss's needs (and our spouses), some days more successfully than others. Without time management, though, you can carve out more spaces for the things you really want to do in life, the researchers found.


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