Time management has been a very important skill since the dawn of time. Many students and employees need to learn time management skills in order to effectively balance their studies, work, social life, and various day-to-day activities.
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Studies show that in most cases, both understand the importance of time management and have basic time management skills, but are unable to implement them properly due to procrastination, the influence of social media, and other factors. This research is aimed to study the opinions and attitudes towards time management among the students in Bahrain University and the country’s financial sector.
Time management is considered to be the very core of our civilization. Many historians consider the invention of the clock to be more significant to the world than the creation of the first steam engine, as the clock allowed individuals, communities, and even entire nations manage their schedules, work, and day-to-day practices in an organized and timely manner.
Back then, personal clocks were the items of wealth and privilege, and large public clocks were found on top of city halls and town centres. Nowadays, due to technology becoming increasingly available, a clock is considered a mundane item.
We have clocks on our wrists, in our homes, and in our phones. Our schedules have become more and more elaborate, as we are expected to complete a great multitude of tasks within the same 24 hours. This is especially true for students and workers in the Bahrain banking and financial sector, as they have to manage a great multitude of tasks during daytime.
The overabundance of tasks to complete can be the leading cause of burnout, stress, and exhaustion. Therefore, time management skills are of paramount importance. However, the extent to which the population understands this varies and is related to educational efforts in promoting healthy time management and teaching time management techniques.
Purpose of Research
The purpose of this research is to study the attitudes and opinions of the students of Bahrain University and of various workers in Bahrain financial operations sector towards time management and their perception towards its importance.
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This data will be compared with similar academic researches. It will allow the researchers to construct an analysis and gain an understanding of the situation in regards to time management among students banking sector employees and offer suggestions for improving the situation.
The study is aimed to answer the following questions:
- Do the respondents perceive time management as important?
- How do they manage their time and do they find the techniques they implement as reliable?
- How frequent time management becomes an issue in achieving certain tasks?
- How does the social media affect time management?
- What motivates the students to complete their tasks and assignments?
All dedicated studies concur that time management is important in the successful completion of complicated tasks, relieving stress, and spending time more efficiently. At the same time, the perceived importance and implementation of time management strategies among students vary.
MacCann, Fogarty, and Roberts (2012) have discovered that time management is more critical for part-time students than for full-time students. The study was performed among 556 college community students. According to the research, most part-time students also had to work during daytime, which motivated them to plan their time more carefully. Full-time students, in contrast, did not feel as pressured to manage their time and viewed it as non-critical.
This information is backed up by the study of non-traditional and traditional students in terms of their time management behaviours, performed by Forbus, Newbold, and Mehta (2011). The study was conducted in a four-year south-western university and studied stress factors and methods of coping with them while connecting it all to time management strategies.
As the study discovered, non-traditional students, especially those that find part-time or full-time employment, were more interested in scholarly and study activities rather than leisure and social activities within the university, which contributed to their dedication to time management strategies.
Elliot Panek (2014) studied the effects of social media on time management and commitment to daily studies and routine tasks.
The study found that while the majority of the respondents (n=458) were aware of the importance of time management and commitment to completion of certain tasks, they were unable to stop themselves from overusing mass media and prioritizing it over critical tasks. This shows that the use of gadgets, the Internet, and social media is detrimental to proper time management among students.
Research conducted by Xu, Du, and Fan (2013) indicated that time management could be possibly influenced by a number of social and psychological factors. It was conducted among 204 graduate students of South Eastern universities, split into 61 study groups. The research concluded that peer-oriented reasons, individual feedback, and arrangements in the workplace had a positive influence on the students’ time management skills.
Some student communities show a poor understanding of the importance of time management and the development of time managing skills. According to Kebriaei, Sabahi, and Saeedi (2014), students of Zahedan University of Medical Sciences (n=332) displayed low to moderate skills in managing their time, with the higher skills at time management displayed among female students.
The study concluded that the lack of time management skills is associated with the lack of dedicated material on the subject available to the students and the lack of interest among the university staff to promote efficient time management strategies.
Some research dedicated to time management highlights the importance of differentiating between studies and leisure activities. Mirzaei, Oskouie, and Rafii (2012) indicate that most medical students in Iranian universities use unidirectional time management strategies in order to cope with the stressful study environment.
In an attempt to alleviate stress, they dedicated most of their time to academic studies, which did not help them alleviate the feelings of tension. The researchers suggest that allocating time to leisure tasks and stress-coping strategies is paramount in proper time management.
While many studies indicate that the use of online tools, social media, and other Internet-based technological tools is detrimental to time management, not all researchers agree with this assessment of the situation.
Armstrong (2011) states that while online studying has a certain degree of influence on the respondents’ performance due to how easy it is to be distracted by nonessential tasks and information available on the web, the benefits of extensive online education outweighs the trade-offs. The research concludes that any negative effects on the students’ time management can be overcome through self-discipline and peer control.
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In this study, questionnaires were dispensed to 40 students and employees in Bahrain banking sector. The sampling method used during the data collection period was the opportunity sampling, enlisting any students willing to participate in our research. The study included 23 female and 17 male students, with the majority of them being between 21 and 26 years of age.
The data gathered from the questionnaires was then uploaded and analysed with the use of computerized survey software. The limitations of the sampling method include the fact that the distribution between male and female participants is uneven, and no thought was given to diversifying the sample size to accurately represent all racial and age groups present among the population.
The survey found that among the sample group, nearly 40% of all respondents were either working full-time or part-time, with their occupation lying within the financial sector of Bahrain. When asked their opinion about the importance of time management, all of the respondents (100%) confirmed that it was important and necessary in their day-to-day lives.
The most common ways of time management among the respondents include the use of schedules (40%), sticky notes (10%) and reminders on smartphones (~50%). While the majority described their time management techniques as efficient and reliable (75% of respondents), roughly a quarter of the students (25%) were dissatisfied with the effectiveness of their chosen method of time management.
Despite the fact all respondents acknowledged the importance of time management and used a medium of some kind, be it schedules, sticky notes, or reminders, to manage their tasks, nearly all respondents have confirmed that time management was an issue on a frequent or even regular basis.
Only three out of 40 stated to have no issues with time management and completion of important tasks, whereas the rest have indicated they encounter problems with time management all the time (36%) or frequently (56%). The majority of respondents (74%) have acknowledged that social media serves as a big detriment to effective time management.
When inquired about willingness to undertake unexpected or unplanned tasks which were not accounted for in the schedule, the majority of respondents answered “Yes” (72%), whereas the rest would either reject these tasks or accept them under certain conditions.
When asked about motivations to complete tasks and reach objectives, the majority of the respondents answered that peer support (31%) and family support (44%) were the primary motivating factors. Rewards and benefits, surprisingly, were the core motivators for only 20% of respondents.
The results of our survey mirror the statements made in various dedicated literature articles published in scientific journals in the last 5 years. The majority of the respondents acknowledge time management as a legitimate and useful concept that could be implemented in their student lives.
In particular, the results of the survey resonated with the study conducted by Elliot Panek, which indicated that while the respondents are consciously aware of the importance of time management, they are not always ready or eager to actually implement the concept in real life (Panek, 2014).
Another similarity between the studies lies in the fact that social media tends to be among the main detriments to dedicated and timely studying efforts. The reasons for that likely correlate with the factors that motivate the students to commit to their own time schedules to a greater degree.
According to the results of the survey, peer support and family support are the two main factors that motivate the majority of the respondents to avoid procrastination and complete their assignments on time. This is supported by Xu, Du, and Fan (2013).
At the same time, the majority of the assignments students receive are individual and require no peer feedback or group effort. With many students living in dorms, family participation and support is also rarely present. The absence of these motivating factors could be the reason why the majority of the students struggle with adequate time management.
The majority of the respondents displayed satisfaction with their chosen methods of time management. At the same time, the majority of the respondents claimed to have significant troubles with following their own time schedules and stated that time management is a frequent or a constant issue to them.
This correlation indicates that time management methods have very little impact on the actual effectiveness of time management, as the greatest problem seems to lie in committing oneself to following the rules and time constraints that students establish for themselves.
Despite the fact that nearly a half of the respondents were part-time students or full-time workers occupied in Bahrain banking sector, the necessity to schedule time appropriately did not improve time management rates among them. Instead, it seemed to have worsened the situation for some of them, as lack of time management skills and dedicated efforts among part-time students and full-time workers brought unnecessary stress on them.
This contradicts the studies conducted MacCann et al. (2012), who stated that non-traditional students and people that have jobs tend to have greater dedication and discipline, as time management becomes necessary for them to succeed both in studies and work.
This is likely due to the fact that the university does not feature any programs or educational information on time management. As a result, students are unable to use time management skills they do not have. While they have the tools, they do not have the knowledge nor dedication to use them properly.
In addition, when they leave university and seek employment in Bahrain banking sector, the issue of time-management skills becomes an even more pressing matter, as the intensity of working process grows, and there is little tolerance for failure.
Conclusions and Recommendations
As evidenced by the survey and the accompanying literature, the majority of the respondents realize the importance of time management and even use certain tools available at their disposal in order to do so.
The issue in most cases lies in the fact that they are unable to follow their own time schedules due to a lack of motivation and self-discipline. Thus, recommendations and actions taken with the aim of improving said motivation and self-discipline, in order to improve the effectiveness of time management efforts.
Since peer-to-peer support has been stated as very important in actually following the established time constraints, it is recommended that a number of individual assignments and tasks is to be reduced in favour of group projects and peer-reviewed tasks.
Once the respondents would be faced with the possibility of failing not only themselves but their friends and peers also, they ought to be more motivated in completing their assignments on time and making more use of time management strategies. This measure can be implemented both within a University and a financial sector setting, as collaborative and individual effort are present in both.
Family involvement and parental control are also important in preventing procrastination, which serves as one of the major detriments in proper time management. Feeling encouraged to complete the tasks on time, as well as the desire not to disappoint their families, could serve as a powerful catalyst to self-discipline.
The university must strive for greater involvement of families in learning activities. Inviting family members to participate in communal projects and offering them tools to observe and control the academic efforts of their children in Universities is likely to improve accountability and willingness to follow self-established schedules and time constraints.
Eventually, once time management skills in a person would grow, these skills would transition well into a working environment, and provide a solid backbone for handling real-life managerial tasks and situations
Lastly, an effort must be made to promote proper planning and time-management skills. Both the students and the novice employees in Bahrain financial sector need to be explained about the dangers of social media and be taught effective strategies to counteract and resist its pull.
The majority of the respondents simply do not know how to do it, and would never research the subject on their own. Offering training and information on time management is likely to improve the situation and help them become more efficient in managing their time.
Armstrong, D.A. (2011). Students’ perceptions of online learning and instructional tools: A qualitative study of undergraduate students’ use of online tools. The Turkish Online Journal of Educational Technology, 10(3), 222-227.
Forbus, P., Newbold, J.J., & Mehta, S.S. (2011). A study of non-traditional and traditional students in terms of their time management behaviors, stress factors, and coping strategies. Academy of Educational Leadership Journal, 15, 109-125.
Kebriaei, A., Sabahi, B.M., & Saeedi, A. (2014). Relationship between use of time management skills and satisfaction with spending time among students of Zahedan University of Medical Sciences. Journal of Medical Education Development, 6(12), 79-88.
MacCann, C., Fogarty, G.J., & Roberts, R.D. (2012). Strategies for success in education: Time management is more important for part-time than full-time community college students. Learning and Individual Differences, 22(5), 618-623.
Mirzaei, T., Oskouie, F., & Rafii, F. (2012). Nursing students’ time management, reducing stress and gaining satisfaction: A grounded theory study. Nursing & Health Sciences, 14(1), 46-51.
Panek, E. (2014). Left to their own devices: College students’ “guilty pleasure” media use and time management. Communication Research, 41(4), 561-577.
Xu, J., Du, J., & Fan, X. (2013). “Finding our time”: Predicting students’ time management in online collaborative groupwork. Computers and Education, 69, 139-147.