Sarasvathi. V

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We all have twenty-four hours a day to use in some way. Time is one resource that we all share, though it is one generally taken for granted. Most of us are so busy with what is happening that we pay little attention to the passage time. Developing the ability to locate ourselves in our environment with reference to time is an important part of time management. Time used in such manner that it will mean most in the attainment of individual and family goals is the real objective of time management.


Time Demands during Different Stages of the Family Life Cycle


Although certain problems in time’ management are common to all stages of the family life cycle, the emphasis on each will vary from stage to stage, in every family. Among these problems are:


(1)    Reorganizing the importance of securing a suitable balance between, work, rest and leisure time;

(2)   Considering all members of the family in making, time and activity plans;

(3)   Taking time costs into consideration when making choices of goods and plans of action; and

(4) lowering time costs of homemaking activities

(5)   Understanding the demands on the homemaker’s time during the different stages of the family life cycle will help families plan ahead and prepare themselves to meet new and changing time demands.



Stage Ithe beginning family-is a period of adjustment and child bearing and learning for young homemakers. At this stage, family goals, time and work patterns, work habits, and the division of responsibilities between husband and wife are established. Unless the home-maker is employed outside the home, demands on her time are light.


Stage IIthe expanding family-brings new and heavy demands on both parents. The coming of children requires the greatest adjustment in the time patterns of homemakers. Farm and city homemakers with children under a year old used from twenty-one to twenty-five hours a week in caring for their families, according to some studies. They used about thirteen hours


when the youngest child was one to two years old. Thereafter their time demands decreased steadily until the youngest child was about nine years old. While children are in grade school and high school their time demands, although different, remain high. They center around the problems of guiding and directing children in assuming their places as responsible members of the family, of making time plans together, and helping each one evaluate the use of time. As children approach and reach adulthood; demands on the homemaker’s time depend on whether the children go to college, marry and leave home, or whether they take jobs and live at home.


Stage III-the contracting family-covers the period during which the children have become independent. Mothers now have some free time to use as they wish. They can make the most of these years by learning to coordinate their time and recreation plans with those of their husbands.


Sample time schedules


As it is mentioned earlier, it is necessary for a homemaker to prepare time schedules. Weekly and seasonal plans for a homemaker, who is not gainfully employed during stage II of family life cycle with school going children. Among all the stages in a female life cycle, the highest demand on the time is felt at stage II. Since a time schedule requires more definite thought than a series of projects plan does, it should be carried out through a set of a fairly definite steps which are as follows:


Preparation of a Time Schedule


1. List all items to be Included, Grouping under Flexible and Inflexible


In some cases, there is only a fine line separating flexible from inflexible items. For example, going to classes is inflexible for a student, or feeding the baby is inflexible for a home maker, whereas dusting ones bedroom or living room is a flexible task, which need not be done at a fixed time. It is equally important to break down lengthy or complicated tasks into parts. Not only are parts easier to grasp and to check on later, but they are easier to face and perform. Thus these activities are to be listed and arranged in a sequential order


2. Set down as accurate an estimate of time for each task as is obtainable


Settings down of time estimates may be accomplished in one of two ways. Either the persons uses her own time norms found through long experience or through keeping a few records of repetitive tasks or she must estimates as best she can, the time required for each part of her schedule, get such information from the other sources such as friends, relatives or books. This time estimates are important, because the homemaker who takes two hours to clean a closet today should know that she cannot clean three closets in the same amount of time tomorrow or on any other day. Thus estimating the required time for each task is important prior to the preparation of a final time schedule.


3.Bring total estimated time needed and total available time available time into harmony:


The third step in making a time schedule brings needs and wants into harmony, is the same process as that applied to the more tangible resource-money. This is done generally and felt more in the preparation of a budget in the financial management. This step calls for adjustment, and listing the earlier activity of flexible and inflexible plays an important role here.


4. Determine time sequence:


.It requires both listing jobs in order and determining logical times when they are to be done. Such as, build around the tasks that are fixed both as to necessity of performing them and or cock time when they must be done, alternate light and heavy jobs as far as possible, include elasticity periods without fail. Sequence of activities can be planned most effectively, if we take into consideration the aspects such as fixed jobs, regular, routine, rest periods and the warming up period. This step requires a lot of care, since one has to bring good balance in the use of time resource.


5. Write out plan:


Now check the above sequence of activities before preparing the actual final plan of action. If the period planned for is short enough and soon enough, so that all the proceeding steps may be accomplished while the plan can be remembered. Forms for writing out time plans vary from a separate card for a day with a few notations to a week’s or even a month’s plan. It all depends upon the convenience of the person for whom the plan is made.


6. Merge individual plans with others for co-ordination:


The carrying out of the last step depends upon whether or not one working alone. A homemaker may need especially that of the adult members in the family, like her husband, grown up children, elderly parents etc. After a plan is made, it should be tried out carefully as possible and later evaluated. The time schedule can be altered slightly if there is a need for doing so. This may become necessary if some emergencies occur. Otherwise the times schedule can be periodically examined and reorganised to meet the changing situations and demands. Any tentative time plan must fulfill the following criteria:


1 .Strike a balance between work and rest.

2.  Equal sharing of work by the members of group.

3.  Work and time distributed as per capabilities and availability of time for each other.

4.  Provide time for leisure activities and self development.

5.  Is time being allotted as per importance of task?

6.  Does it allow for the smooth running of the home.


An aid to time plans for the employed homemaker:


The modern times have seen another change in the use of time by homemakers. Unlike her counterparts in the past, she has additional burden of gainful employment. When she is gainfully employed and goes out for work, then she has the dual responsibility of taking care of her career as well as home along with a possible third child rearing. And, her time demands are increased. If she is at home, then she can divide her timings for various activities and take out some time for rest and leisure whereas the gainfully employed homemaker is deprived of this pleasure of having enough rest and leisure.


The services used by the homemaker affect their time use. If there is home delivery of goods, laundry service etc. Then she can save time. The use of labour saving devices also reduces the time of the homemaker thus giving her time for rest and leisure. Age, education and experience of the homemaker and her own attitude towards work exert a great influence in the quality of work. If she is more experienced and skilled and has the right set of values and attitudes, she will carry out work more systematically and effectively. But, in lower income group Indian families, the time use patter of homemaker will be different. Hence, she has to manage her time for both the household chores and the employed work.


Time is the most difficult problem because of changes in the family life cycle. It is found that the time demands of a family growing in size, age, and social participation were hard to meet. Small children complicated their housekeeping problems; older children were encouraged to participate in outside activities to a larger extent, and this, in turn, led the parents into more activities. People were concerned with the increasing expenditures of both time and money that outside activities and transportation required. Studies have indicated that families gradually drifted into a pattern that increased consumption of time and money without regard to the future.


Tools in time management:


Although certain problems in time management are common to all stages of the family life cycle, the emphasis on each will vary from stage to stage in every family. Among these problems are:


Ø  Recognizing the importance of securing a suitable balance between work, rest and leisure time.

Ø  Considering all members of the family in making time and activity plans.

Ø  Taking time costs into consideration when making choices of goods and plans of action.

Ø  Lowering time cost of home making activities.


Bases for time plans: To built an efficient and workable time plan, each homemaker, with the help of her family, must decide which activities ought to be carried out each day, which during the week, which the most important ones are in case any must be left out, and what special and seasonal tasks should be fitted into daily and weekly plans. They also need to think through the problem of the time in which they can best do each task.


Although many daily and weekly tasks remain much the same throughout the year, special and seasonal tasks and recreational activities constantly change. Each of these makes different time and energy and may bring about other changes.


Factors to Consider in Making Time and Activity Plans Peak load:


Work and activities tend to pile up in most homes at certain periods. These peak load periods may occur at certain times of the day, week, month or season. For some homemakers the daily peak load may come when they are preparing dinner and getting the children off to bed. The weekly peak load would be doing the washing and ironing, wherein monthly peak load, cleaning the windows. And the seasonal peak load, preserving the food.


In all homes there is less danger of periods of overloading if the homemakers plan to distribute work and activities over the week, so that the demands on time and energy are about the same each day. Alternating heavy and more fatiguing jobs with lighter, less fatiguing ones and planning to day only comfortable heavy work at one time help distribute the energy cost expended during the day.


A yearly calendar of all special and seasonal activities, vacations, holidays, and anniversaries is a great help. It enables the home maker to look ahead and see when and where she can and must fit these special activities into current plans. Long range planning of this kind enables one to keep tasks from pilling up and eliminates the nervous strain and fatigue that come from carrying an excessive load and from working under pressure.


Time for emergencies: We sometimes find weekly plans difficult to follow because of unplanned and unexpected interruptions or demands that have to be met. Out of town guests may drop in and spend the night.


An aching tooth may require several trips to the dentist. A bad cold may keep one of the children in bed. A clogged sink may delay dishwashing. The appearance of moths in a closet may mean extra cleaning and spraying. A costume for a school play may have to be made. A special meeting may be called, and so on all un-expected, time-taking, and work-making demands. Such emergencies can best be met by allowing some free time in daily plans.


To meet emergencies in the family one can take flexibility in personal time patterns, Shift in management plans, and a resilience to recover when the trying hours are done.


Sequence of Activities: The sequence or order in which activities follow one another in the day’s schedule is in part determined by the definite time tasks, in part by the relationships of tasks to each other, and in part by ourselves. All activities should be arranged so that they can be carried out with the least amount of effort and tension. Time and motions can be saved by grouping activities that normally follow one another in a sequence and that fit into a time block and by allowing some activities to overlap. Overlapping activities are at least two activities that are going on at the same time; one is active, the other inactive in the sense that the worker only needs to keep her mind on it, or that it may require only occasional attention.


Time Required for Different Activities


Estimating the amount of time each activity or group of activities will probably take is important in making a workable plan. Without this information, arranging a closely knit plan or deciding how much work one can comfortably do each day is difficult. In all cases enough time should be allowed for doing each task satisfactorily and easily.


Nature of time and factors influencing time: Time and energy are closely related and the use of one affects the other. Time forms the framework in which various activities and work take place. With respect to time it has three divisions: 1) Work 2) Rest 3) Leisure. A good manager strikes a proper balance amongst all the three by prescribing sufficient time for work.


As stated earlier time and energy are closely related to each other. The management and the use of one affect the other. If a job can be done efficiently it requires less time. Generally certain patterns develop in our activities and we tend to have parts of the day or time set aside for various activities of work and leisure. Each family follows its own routine and this is learnt by the children.


Management of time entails the making of plans and their implementation. Most home makers follow some kind of time plan. Efficient management of time allows the individual to enjoy life and be relaxed and productive. Inefficient management makes one tense and worried besides being unproductive. Besides when time plans are made one can afford to find time for additional jobs. A time plan also helps in organizing our work and leisure and also in coordinating our activities with other members of the family.


Factors influencing time


A time plan as started earlier may cover daily, weekly or seasonal activities. Usually a time plan involves the following aspects:


1.  Type of activity.

2.  Different stages of life cycle.

3.  Peak loads.

4.  Leisure.

5.  Rest period


Types of activity:


This involves the listing of all the activities that need to be carried out, however big or small, and then listed according to the importance and specific time of undertaking:


a)   Daily activities: Dusting, sweeping, mopping, cleaning, making bed, arranging, cooking and serving meals, caring for children, elders, invalid, care of clothing, sleeping, personal care, shopping, marketing and leisure activities.

  b )Weekly activities: Changing linen, airing carpets, buying provisions, extra-cleaning, special meal preparation, socializing, medical care, repair of equipment, sewing etc. c)Seasonal activities and annual activities: Annual cleaning, painting, white washing of house, vacations and holidays, putting away or taking out of clothes and equipment due to change of season, sewing, pickling, preserving, preparation of festivals, etc.


There are a few activities that need to be carried on only at a fixed time. The school/office time determines the time of waking up, breakfast etc. The availability and non-availability of help whether hired or otherwise may place restriction on time for carrying out activities like cleaning, washing, cooking, etc, some activities need prompt attention (attending o an invalid or baby’s need and may at times involve sacrificing some activities (leisure, sleep)


Peak loads:


Activity at home is observed to be more concentrated in certain periods of time. These packed periods are called peak loads. It requires efficient planning to cope with these peak loads. This may require the home maker to wake up earlier, start earlier, organise her work, delegate responsibility in order to avoid being hurried and tensed during peak loads Ingenuity in planning could go a long way in coping up with peak loads; such as:


1.  Plan and organize work in advance. Don’t leave everything for last minute- shoes could be polished, clothes ironed and readied the previous night. Vegetables could be chopped, dough kneaded and other things can be easily done, attended to the previous night, to ease the morning rush.

2.    Alternate the heavy and more fatiguing tasks with the lighter and less fatiguing ones. Distribute energy expenditure.

3.   Distribute and share tasks with other members of the family. The children could be taught to make beds, ready themselves ad lay the tables, etc.

4.   Don’t undertake any activity that can be done at a later time or on an holiday (cleaning, dusting etc.)

5.    Follow a sequence of work that is comfortable and easy to undertake- combine tasks whenever possible (give breakfast to husband and children at the same time) to save on time, equipment and work.

6.  Invest in hired help, labour saving devices and equipments.

7.   Always finish one job first and then switch on to the other to increase efficiency and save on time and energy.

8   .The peak loads whether occurring daily, weekly or seasonal must be planned well in time to avoid fatigue. Distribute the work over a period of time if possible. Reasonable estimates of time need to be allowed for the tasks.




Any time hat is utilised for activities other than those of duty is termed as leisure. Leisure is essential, as it helps to relieve fatigue and renew ones zest for work, besides providing a sense of relaxation and personal satisfaction. The activities that are carried on during this time are those that are done for their own sale. They relax and refresh a person and may take a variety of form such socializing, playing games, pursuing a hobby, watching TV, listening to music, travelling, reading, undertaking activities of clubs and community etc. The activities undertaken are largely determined by ones interests- age, occupation, income and time available. Leisure is an important aspect of ones life and promotes good mental and physical well being. They create interest in work, improve efficiency, relax, refresh and even make one more energetic to tackle his duties and work. The home maker must include some leisure time in her time plan. The length and frequency is determined by the specific need of the home maker and the time at her disposal.


Time planning:


Having listed all the activities that need to be undertaken by the family, the home maker must then look into the time sequence and time limits of the activities. Some flexibility must be allowed for as one proceeds, there may be delays, accidents and emergencies that need to be accommodated. Personal needs and interests play an important role in time planning. A home maker who is obsessed with cleanliness may devote longer time period for tasks like cleaning, dusting, polishing, etc. If a home maker dislike ironing, then she could get outside help or hand over the task some other member, if not she could chose to iron half an hour a day rather than 2-3 hours at a stretch once a week. When allocating time periods, routine tasks like cooking, cleaning, washing etc, need o be accommodated first and then time available be allotted to other activities. The home maker must always maintain a balance between estimated time and available time. Indicate clearly extra-time apart from necessities and determine a time sequence.


Making a time plan alone does not assure efficiency. The Plans drawn so needs to be controlled and put into action and evaluated from time to time for its success. The home maker must try to adhere as closely as possible to the plan so drawn up. The use and practice of a time plan gives her ability to control and use time wisely. Its effectiveness needs to be evaluated both with regard to making and carrying out a time plan. Its workability depends on the results gained. A mental and physical evaluation will reveal whether the drawn up time plan was capable of meeting the needs of the family, improving the efficiency, bringing satisfaction. If it fails, then one needs to locate the reasons, and reasons, and areas where the home had failed to foresee, plan and control. Frequent checking can help bring the necessary changes.


Rest Periods:


This is the next tool for time management. All must have observed, it has a favorable influence on individual output of work. A rest period need not mean complete cessation from work. The greatest result can be expected if the worker lies down and relaxes completely, because reclining requires expenditure of energy than any other body positions.


Length and Frequency of Rest Periods:


The optimal length and frequency of rest tends to increase in production is more determined in home. Often it is difficult to convince the homemaker of the effectiveness of the rest period and here it must be remembered that the results are not always the same.


The homemaker should have no feeling of guilt when she lies down for a few minutes during the busy part of the day. The homemaker must determine for herself the frequency, length and type of rest. She should recognise that a change in job may rest her from doing the present task which can be is boring, or if a particular set of muscles are used, it can be tiresome For example, a homemaker stitching clothes on sewing machine can shift to put buttons or doing the same job continuously her leg muscles gets fatigued.


Work simplification:It is also one of the tools of time management which is related to energy management, as it includes improving methods of work which requires lowering both time and energy expenditure.




Time is a fixed resource but a resource unique because it is equally available to all. It is important to remember that the amount of time available to anyone is twenty four hours in a day. It is easily wasted and cannot be regained. This is hence a very precious resource and be used in an economical way so that one can get maximum from the minimum. One has to manage both the qualitative and quantitative use of time. A sense of time is a natural gift of God. But it can be acquired also through perseverance and practice. A clock helps us to keep track of time but depending on whether a job is dull or interesting, important or routine, new or familiar makes the time to pass quickly or slowly. Cultural influences also affect the passage of time. In cities where life is fast and with so much to be done within a short time, whereas in the village the pace if life is leisurely as the rural man has less to cope with and fewer tasks to perform. Time is generally taken for granted and one pays little attention to its passage. Developing the ability to locate ourselves in our environment with reference to time is an important part of time management.



Web links


  • www.dictionary.com/browse/balance
  • www.dictionary.com/browse/demand
  • https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/flexible
  • www.dictionary.com/browse/harmony
  • https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/inflexible
  • https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/leisure
  • https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/management
  • https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/peak
  • https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/and-all-the-rest