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Perceptions of secondary school principals in Saudi Arabia of time management techniques.

This study explored the perceptions of some secondary school principals in the eastern region of Saudi Arabia toward time management techniques, a random sample of (52) secondary school principals was selected. For the purpose of data collection, a two-domain questionnaire covering time management techniques was developed, and Cronbach alpha reliability coefficient for both domains of the questionnaire was (89.3). Findings of the study showed some time management Techniques that were adapted by school principals in their daily work. some obstacles of time management were also identified.


Success of any educational institution depends on the type of administration and its capabilities to drive the preplanned goals within the time framework set forth. The administrative work requires grate efforts and mental thinking on the part of staff running the institution during the stages of planning, organizing, directing and observing its activates. With hundreds of decisions to make in a day, managing time in such a way that allows principals to prioritize issues effectively is a necessity, The administrative process is complex and demanding with continuous change, high stakes testing, dealing with people and a myriad of tasks both planned and unplanned(e.g, phone calls, meetings, email, discipline). Therefore, it is critical that principals take control of their lives and identify ways to efficiently make use of their time (Hager, 2006). Tracy (2004) stated that people are surrounded by others and circumstances that waste time and undermine effectiveness all day long There have been some researchers who have found principals spend the majority of their time focused on instructional leadership items (Glodt, 2006; 1984; Wells, 1993). On the other hand, there have been other researchers who have found principals spend the majority of their time focused on managerial and organizational items, lack of planning, and weak responsibilities to maintain time (Katz, 1987; Larry, 2003). discovered that when principals make instructional leadership a priority; then most of their time is spent in that area despite the rest of the job requirements.

Similarly researcher in Saudi Arabia asserted that although of the educational development, and the government support for school principals, they still have many problems in different aspects: planning, coordinating, developing, and time management (AL-Zahrani, 1427h; AL-Sharari, 2004; al-athayleh, 2004; Al-hameedi;1415;qothay la, 1999).

The problem of time arises to school to principals because they often face the problem of performing the required works or tasks in the specified time, They focus on the time factor more that the other factors( Rino, 2000). The interest in time management started in the late fifties and early sixties of the twentieth century communication, The first scientific attempt to study the issue of time management has emerged through the book the management of time by James Mehoy in 1958(al-hameedi, 1415h).

It was important to co-ordinate all the various efforts in an administration working within a specific organized and planned timetable. This shows us the importance of time management for school participation which requires us to high light those definitions which refer us to the concept of time management. Al-gbari (2000)defines time management as the art and science of the rational use of time, It is the effective investment of time. and it is a process for planning, organization, co-ordination, motivation, guidance, follow-up and communication (Temb, 1411h) .Time management is a qualitative and quantitative process at the same time. Temp sees that time management can be understood as synonymous with order and regulation and the daily procedure, scheduled for work. And with time effectiveness of these items, time management is more complicated that. It is a psychological case and being ready for personal commitment and most importantly the recording of priorities and habits. In a comprehensive view of what the term time management. Time management means controlling, organizing and investing time for the benefit of the individual and society.

Fitzwater (1996) stated that time management helps school administrators get off the treadmill. Time cannot be borrowed, stored, or recycled; thus, time management ultimately means self-management in relation to a non-controllable resource, management categorized time-wasting activities according to the level of difficulty required to correct them (Cross & Rice, 2000; Hager, 2006).

The work time and the individuals' time are linked; each of them affects the other (Atwi, 2001). According to Hager (2006), the following is a list of the five worst mistakes people make with their time: Spending time on concerns that are not chosen priorities, underestimating the time tasks actually take, allowing too many interruptions, saying "yes" too often, and not getting help.

Study Problem and Questions

The position of school principal has become complex and pressure packed in the era of accountability and high-stakes testing(Abu Nasser, 2008). Hedges (1991) found many administrators waste time on low priority items, often without realizing it, and only recently has research on time. Time management can be viewed as a systematic approach to taking control of the issues that confront people on a day to day basis (Emmett, 2000) Research indicated that most time management techniques require minimal common sense strategies (Crouch, 2005; Hemphill, 2002; Kobert 1980) Principals' responsibilities include responding to demands from faculty and staff members, parents, central office and students. On top of those responsibilities. The follower of the studies in the field of general and in educational administration in particular finds that this topic had not received great attention, few studies have paid attention to secondary school principals in the last several years and the literature has suggested that principals need help identifying time management strategies to be successful instructional leaders and managers (Kennedy, 2002). Studying time management in schools, and identifying its obstacles has a high importance in achieving the objectives and the plans of the educational process, so this study problems was to answered the following questions:

1. What is the perception of secondary school principals of time management ?

2. What are the main obstacles to the appropriate investment of time allotted to the administrative process as seen by secondary school principals?

Study Objectives

This study explored the perceptions of school principals of techniques of time management. It also sought to identify some obstacles of appropriate time management in schools.

Significance of the Study

Significance of the study lies in its attempt to explore issues and concerns related to appropriate use of time by school principals in their daily administrative activities. Exploration of such issues and concerns is critical as it leads to figure out effective strategies for helping principals manage allotted time productively, which in turn leads to successful accomplishment of duties and/or tasks of school administration.

Limitations of the Study

There are two limitations to this study. First, this study focused on secondary school principals in the eastern region of Saudi Arabia which are only a sample of all principals nationwide, second it's limited to the most important obstacles to the administration of time allocated to school Administration.


Time management: The discovery and application of the most efficient method(s) of completing assignments or tasks of any length in the optimum time and with the highest quality.


The descriptive approach was used in this study that describes the most important factors in a particular position in addition to its interest in the analysis and interpretation of what is described previous studies.

Study Findings

Findings of question no 1: What is the perception of secondary school principals of time management ?Means of the responses of study sample were used on a measurement of five scale. The mean (3) is considered to stand for the response medium, table (1)shows the results.

Table (1) shows that the most important strategies of time management that got a high percentage is: to make sure of the capacities, of the individual to perform the tasks that are delegated to them. That means the delegation of tasks to the individuals and then to follow them and to make sure they perform the work delegated to them properly has a great importance for the rest of the methods of time management. This result matches, the results of these studies:(Glodt, 2006; Darash & male, 2004 ; Mahoney 1998; AL-Sharari, 2004).

Findings of equation no 2: What are the main obstacles to the appropriate investment of time allotted to the administrative process as seen by secondary school principals?

Frequency Ratings of response of the members of the study sample of school principals were used about the most important obstacles of time management. And it was as in Table 2.

The table shows that the most significant obstacles were those concerning the administrative pattern and the level of training of schools principals to follow the scientific methods of time management which requires the development of training programs, to school principals, dealing with aspects of time management .As the tables show that the social aspects and the social pattern play an important role in wasting the time of the members of the study sample Interviews increases during work, as well as telephone calls. These results match the results of A1-Zahrani's study (1427h) and AL-sharari's study (2004) and AL-Adhayler's study (2004).

Recommendations of the Study

The current study recommends adopting the strategies of time management that got high percentages. Also it recommends the need for good planning of the administrative process and to identify the job description for their employer, and to train school principal on the modern strategies of time management.


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Dr. Fathi Mohammed Abu-Nasser, Assistant Prof. of Educational Administration, The National Research Center for Giftedness & Creativity, King Faisal University.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Dr. Fathi Mohammed Abu-Nasser at
Table 1
Ranks and means of strategies Items

Rank   Strategies                             Means

1      Make sure of the capacity of the        4.43
       individual to perform The tasks
       that are delegated-to them

2      To have a plan to achieve the goals     4.32

3      Evaluate goals have been achieved       4.23
       that were set in Advance

4      Form committees with expertise and      4.19
       high efficiency

5      Help the employees to develop and       4.01
       improve their Performance

6      Identify the goals that are to be       3.96
       achieved accurately and Clearly

7      Encourage the employees in meetings     3.82
       to express

8      Knowledge of errors through             3.81
       avoiding them in the future

9      The use of the management method        3.34
       that is compatible With the event

10     Investment of the available human       2.23
       and material resource To achieve
       the best results

11     Provide encouragement and               3.11
       psychological support to the

12     Prioritization of tasks to be           3.10
       achieved by the degree of

13     The employees should take part in       3.00
       decision making to feel Responsible

14     Reduce the unintended mistakes of       2.97
       the employees and try To treat them

Table 2
Ranks and Frequency Ratings of the Obstacles of Time
Administration as Seen Study Sample

Rank   Obstacles                             Frequency Ratings

1      Poor planning of time and managing           31%
       it in a Scientific way.

2      The lack of sufficient                       23%
       administrative powers affair.

3      Many problems of students or                 15%
       teachers that Require continuous
       follow up

4      Many problems of students or                 15%
       teachers that Require continuous
       follow up.

5      Unofficial interviews during the             14%
       official work

6      The absence of clear and accurate            13%
       job description For all schools

7      Telephone calls.                              4%

       Total                                       100%
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Author:Abu-Nasser, Fathi Mohammed
Publication:Journal of Instructional Psychology
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:7SAUD
Date:Mar 1, 2011
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