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Time Management May Ease Work-Related Anxiety, Overall Wellbeing

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Key Takeaways

  • Time management has proven effective as a tool for productivity.
  • Those who excel at time management perform well and have an improved sense of well-being.


A recent study asks the important question, does time management work? Researchers recognize that there are merits to creating a structured work schedule, and that it is a “vital skill-set” for productivity. While the concept of time management was not being called into question in the research, there were questions about which environments and individuals benefit most from a strategy.

For the study, researchers analyzed various databases for the keywords “time management.” They analyzed 158 studies from around the world with over 50,000 participants.

They determined that most strategies use three aspects: structuring, protecting, and adapting time to changing conditions:

  • Structuring refers to scheduling and planning.
  • Protecting refers to setting boundaries and blocking out distractions like social media and phone calls.
  • Adapting refers to allowing flexibility in your schedule in case something arises. 

What the Study Found 


The results showed that time management benefited work productivity and empowered those with work autonomy, and it also showed benefits to academic environments. The effects were not as significant for academic work, and they did not extend to test scores in the way that overall intelligence can.

According to the study, “Results-based performance in academic settings depends less on time management than results-based performance in professional settings. This means that time management is more likely to get people a good performance review at work than a strong GPA in school.”

Krista-Lynn Landolfi

Many people are unconsciously pulled by the desires or demands of others and fill much of their time with things they don't enjoy. When we get clear on what matters most to us, we can better schedule our time, and when it really matters, we find ways to make time.

— Krista-Lynn Landolfi


Even more than productivity, time management impacted well-being. The study results showed that it had a 72% stronger impact on life satisfaction than job satisfaction, which is equally valuable.

Researcher Brad Aeon explains, "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."

Researchers also noted that time management skills can have an effect on anxiety and distress. They explored “work-life conflict,” which refers to imbalances with family and work life. At a time when many people are working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic, these issues are more relevant than ever.

As someone who struggled with being a type-A personality, life coach Krista-Lynn Landolfi believes that the distress comes from putting too much pressure on ourselves. “We are driven to succeed—at any cost, which is how Type As typically operate. My own life was centered around goals, and I was constantly trying to outdo what I'd previously done, and squeeze more into every day.”

She explains that this is a problem she works on remedying with her clients, who range from top executives to celebrities. “They all have one thing in common-no matter how wealthy and successful, ultimately, they were not happy with their life or enjoying the spoils of their success," said Landolfi. "That's because when you're always focused on 'bigger, better, more,' nothing is ever enough.”

What Does It Look Like to Adopt a Time Management Strategy?  


The study finds that while time management is helpful, not every method works for everyone. For instance, a low-level employee can’t delegate tasks to an assistant, and, oftentimes, they are the one taking on the insignificant tasks. Someone like a caretaker has to balance their needs with those of the person they are responsible for.

Brad Aeon

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.

— Brad Aeon


Landolfi developed a Time Bank Management System, which compares time to money. She explains, “In every moment we are literally ‘spending’ time. I had to learn how to better invest my time to ensure the highest return on investment. Time is money. It is our greatest commodity and the one thing that will eventually run out.”

Planners are her favorite tools, and they help with visualization and sticking to a schedule. She also recommends assessing your values. Landolfi says, “Many people are unconsciously pulled by the desires or demands of others and fill much of their time with things they don't enjoy. When we get clear on what matters most to us, we can better schedule our time, and when it really matters, we find ways to make time.”

She says that this could look like declining lunch with someone you don’t enjoy being around, or not participating in activities just to impress others. “There are things we must do, like work, if we're not independently wealthy," she says. "Everything else is negotiable, and when we start scheduling our time focused on cultivating joy, our lives improve beyond measure.”

What This Means For You

To determine if a time management regimen could be beneficial for you, Landolfi recommends reflecting on how your recent workload makes you feel.

She says, “Look at how you spent yesterday, last week, or the past month. On a scale of 0 to 10, rate your level of satisfaction and sense of fulfillment. Anything less than an eight is not bringing you a positive return on your time investment. Aim for at least 80% of your 'free will' time, the time you get to spend however you choose, to be highly fulfilling, which for some will require learning how to say no to others, so they can say yes to themselves."

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  1. Aeon B, Faber A, Panaccio A (2021) Does time management work? A meta-analysis. PLoS ONE. Published January 11, 2021;16(1):e0245066. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0245066