What are Time Management Skills?

By Dr. Randy Kulman on Friday, October 16, 2015
Agenda CEI 2007 by Joaquin Souyris I., on FlickrTime management skills can be described as a skill that helps individuals to prioritize and accomplish tasks in a timely manner. Successful time management requires the ability to correctly estimate the amount of time necessary in order to finish a specific task. This also requires some skill in persistence and task initiation. In other words, a child would need to have an appropriate sense of urgency and the ability to monitor his or her own efforts in order to succeed at managing time. A child who struggles with time management may experience difficulty estimating how long it will take to complete a specific task and may also spend a lot of time procrastinating rather than beginning this task.

At school, a child who struggles with time management may have difficulty with timely completion of homework. Additionally, a child with this issue may have a hard time sticking to a schedule. This can result in school work that was completed in a rush or not completed at all. Another potential sign of time management difficulties would be a student who needs to stay up late in order to complete homework assignments or often requests extensions.

Time Management is often included as a component of planning and self-management. Robbins (1996) identifies it as reflected in choosing “appropriate sequences of responses [that] must be selected and scheduled.” Norman and Shallice (1986) describes it as “scheduling and coordination.” Banich (2009) describes it as part of prioritizing and sequencing behavior.

Neuropsychological assessment of time management is sometimes assessed by measures of processing speed, such as the Coding Subtest of the WISC-IV, verbal fluency tests, such as the FAS, or the Speeded Naming Subtest of a NEPSY-II. Tests such as the Woodcock-Johnson III Tests of Academic Fluency or the WIAT III Oral Reading Fluency and Math Fluency often tap into time management skills as well.

Behavior rating measures of time management on the Executive Skills Questionnaire focus on efficiency in completing expected daily activities and routines. The Barkley Deficits of Executive Functioning Scale has a number of items on the self-management to time scale that reflects issues such as procrastination, poor sense of time, and response to deadlines. The Behavior Rating Inventory for Executive Function has a number of items in the plan/organize scale that reflects difficulties around estimating time necessary to complete tasks and the capacity to start tasks in a timely fashion. The Brown ADD Scales assess time management on the regulating alertness, sustaining effort, and processing speed scale.   


For More Information on Time Management, Please Visit The Following Links:

LearningWorks For Kids: The premier resource for executive function information, offering a detailed explanation of time management, tips for parents, and activities to improve this skill.

University of Florida: This site provides comprehensive tips for helping your child with developing positive time management skills. It will help with time management in areas from waking up in the morning, to after school activities, to a bedtime routine.

ADDitudes: This article focuses on how to instill time management skills in children with ADHD in the classroom. Many of the same techniques can be applied within the home.

New York Kids Club: This blog is a great way to learn some new ways to help your child with time management, providing five distinct ways to go about achieving this executive function.


Photo Credits: “Agenda CEI 2007” (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) by  Joaquin Souyris I.