Volume 90, Issue 3 p. 333-347

On the relationship between time management and time estimation

J. A. Francis-Smythe

Corresponding Author

J. A. Francis-Smythe

University College Worcester, UK

University College Worcester, Henwick Grove, Worcester WR2 6AJ, UK (e-mail: [email protected]).Search for more papers by this author
Ivan T. Robertson

Ivan T. Robertson

SHL/UMIST Centre for Research in Work and Organisational Psychology, Manchester School of Management, UK

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First published: 09 December 2011
Citations: 58


The study explores the relationship between people's self-report of the use of time management practices and estimates of task duration. The hypothesis is that those who are good time managers will be good at estimating how long a future task will take (expected); how long a previously executed task has taken (retrospective); and how long a task is taking while in process (prospective). In the expected setting results indicate that those who perceive themselves as good time managers are most accurate at estimating the duration of a future task. Of those who do not perceive themselves as good time managers, some grossly overestimate and many underestimate to quite a considerable extent. The latter finding thus provides support for the ‘planning fallacy’ (Kahneman & Tversky, 1979). In the prospective setting results indicate those who perceive themselves as good time managers tend to underestimate time passing. It is suggested that this is a motivational strategy designed to enhance a sense of control over time. Findings are discussed in relation to existing theories of time estimation.