M.R. Thilagam

epgp books








Time is a central resource around the use of which clusters many management concepts and behaviours. It is the integrative resource in management when any other resource is being used such as money or skill, time is also being used. The importance of time as a resource is brought out in the familiar sayings as time and tide tarry for no man’. Time is fleeting’. Time is the stuff life is made up of and so on.


The major objectives of this presentation is


1.      To understand the tools in time management

2.      To know the factors influencing time use

3.      To gain knowledge on steps in time planning

4.      To learn few tips in managing time.




1.  Time is an intangible resource

2.  Time is limited in quantity.

3. Time is available in the same extent to all. It is one resource that is shared by all alike. It is one of life’s greatest equalizer.

4.  Time is moving forever, never standing still or waiting for anyone.

5.  Time cannot be saved for future.

6.  Time by itself has no value; it is the individual and what he does with time that gives time the greatest value.

7.  Time has no marginal utility. There is no saturation point in the use of it.

8.  Use of time directly affects the use of other resources.

9.  Allocation of time has major effect on quality of one’s life.


Cormier (1983) defines time management as gaining control over what you do, when you do it, how you do it and why you do it.


Perception of Time:


There are three perceptions of time. They are

Linear separable perception: Time stretches from the past into the future.

Circular perception: Same events are repeated according to some cyclic pattern.

Procedural perception: Some people are procedure driven rather than time driven.




1. Time could be measured as hours and minutes by the use of clock or similar devices and is known as clock time. The passage of time is noted by timing as hour; days, weeks, months and years.

2.The biological time is denoted by the internal clocks within the body and is revealed by physical changes in the body. The years of infancy, childhood, adolescence, adulthood, and old age are indicators of biological time.

3.  The psychological time denotes the awareness of passage of time. Some people are credited with time sense. To an energetic enthusiastic person, time runs quickly, but to an unhealthy or bored person time runs slowly.


Every individual has definite demands upon time and planning the use of time for the family happiness and goal realization is very essential.


The basic aims of time management are:

  • For reducing work time
  • To maintain a balance between work, rest and leisure.
  • It helps in know the time norms — the average time spent on various phases of work.
  • It makes one aware of the demands of time at a definite period eg. Different stages of family life cycle.
  • It gives an awareness to do the various day to day activities in a planned manner with complete satisfaction.



Whatever may be the stage of the family life cycle (beginning family, expanding family or contracting family) certain factors condition time management. Knowledge of tools is helpful to aid in effective use of time.




It is the average time taken for carrying out various household tasks as cooking, cleaning the utensils, mopping the floor or caring the infant.




Work unit helps to establish the time norm. Work unit is the amount of household work done in one hour, under average conditions by an average worker.




The work load is the sum of work units.




For most people, activities pile on each other at certain times of the day, week, month or the season. This is referred as peak load. The packed period may be reduced by:


a)Starting the work early

b)Completing other work in advance

c) Sharing some work with others.


5. Work curve


Work curve helps in studying changes in the output of work at different stages of work period or even a day. A typical work curve is described as Saddle-backed, starting sluggishly with a sharp rise as the worker gets into his stride. At the end of warming up period, production continues at a steady rate -the plateau. After the plateau, the work curve registers a decline in productivity with a fresh spurt as the work nears its end. There arises a second plateau after lunch or rest but it does not reach as high as the earlier one.




A rest period need not be necessarily complete cessation from work, but it is a need after heavy manual labour. This is essential while planning ones time. Planning for the rest period at the required time is very essential. It has a great influence on the output of work. Rest need not be always cessation from work.The ways of taking rest are:


1.Relaxation by lying down is most relieving since it requires less expenditure of energy than any other body position. It is desirable after heavy manual labour.

2.Complete relaxation in a sitting position gives relief.

3. Involving in alternate types of job and

4.Recreation in between as a pleasant conversation may help in providing rest period.


Length and frequency of rest period should be considered while planning one’s time. Rice et al (1986) states certain tools or strategies that are more specifically related to time

management as (a) Effectiveness or efficiency? (b) Pareto’s principle (c) Parkinson’s Law ( d)Prime time and ( e) Time logs.


a) Effectiveness or efficiency:- It is performing a task in the least wasteful manner usually measured in terms of time and energy. It is selecting or doing the most appropriate thing which requires priorities. It is essential to achieve effectiveness while performing activities.

b) Pareto’s principle:- This principle theorizes that 20 percent of the expended usually produces 80 percent of the results, while 80 percent of the time expended produces only 20 percent of the results. Hence while planning time for performing various activities allot minimum time required for doing the work efficiently. For this one should know about the time that may required for carrying out the activity one plans.

c) Parkinson’s Law:-This law stress that a job expands to fill the time available to accomplish the task. When time seems limited and people are busy, they tend to squeeze many activities into a short time span. Similarly an individual try to accomplish the job taking more time when they are under less pressure. It means work does expand to fill the time available.

d) Prime Time:-Knowing when one is more productive can improve both time use and output. This is internal prime time and corresponds to the period of the day when energy is high for the individual. This time should be preserved for high priority activities that require concentrated effort. External prime time is the best time to other people. This is the time that people at work should make available to meet with staff or visitors. During the quiet time only highest priority items should be worked on and no interruptions should be allowed.

e) Time Logs :-Time logs are not plans for future, but are records of how time was used in the past . Time logs help people see with observation, the changes that are needed in their time allocation.

Management of any resource includes planning, controlling and evaluating. Our Time Management should be in accordance with our long term and short term goal.





The three stages of the management process can be applied to time management.


There are three types of time plans.

a) List of jobs: Here all the jobs big or small are merely listed and the work is accomplished according to the fancy of the worker and the time available. This cannot be called a plan in the real sense.

    b)   Series of projects: This is more detailed and includes time sequence without definite time limits.


c)    Time schedule: This includes both, an order of work and approximate time limitation for different activities:

eg. 5.30 AM — 6.00 AM — Personal work 6.00 AM — 7.00 AM — Study

7.00 AM — 8.00 AM — Helping in the household

8.00 AM — 8.45 AM — Getting ready to college


Time schedule is a real plan. It is a device of special value of persons who has very little free time. Any time plan must take into account the personal needs, interests and difficulties in maintaining the plan. Plan can be a mental or written plan:




A time schedule requires more definite thought than a series of project plan. It consists of the following definite steps:

Listing all items of work, group them under flexible and nonflexible. Activities are to be listed and arranged in sequential order .All non flexible work should be given priority first while preparing a schedule.

Setting done and time required for each item of work .Setting down of time estimates may be accomplished by experience or by getting information from other sources.

Balancing estimated time with the total time available. Bring needs and wants into harmony with available time. These steps calls for adjustments with the activity listed earlier as flexible and non flexible.

Determining time sequence and order of work. It requires both listing jobs in order and determining logical time when they are to be done.

Writing out the plan. Check the above sequence of activities before preparing the actual final plan of action.

   Coordinating the plan so as to have harmony with others. If the plan is to coordinate with other family members than the plan should be coordinated with the other people involved.


Essential things to be taken care of first while making mental plans:


1.      The sequence of work should be arranged in a way best suited to family’s work habits.

2.      Peak load should be taken into consideration

3.      Time saving combinations of activities can be undertaken.

4.      Sufficient time should be allowed to perform each task satisfactorily and easily.

5.      Plans can be made flexible as far as possible so that it can meet unforeseen interruptions.

6.      Alternating light and heavy jobs is also important while planning.

7.      Time for emergencies, leisure and rest should be taken into consideration

8.      Include activities for long term goals

9.      Have catch up periods.


2.  Controlling the time plans


Controlling the series of projects plan is easier than schedule. Time plans in general can be controlled by Having catch up periods and flexibility in the plans. Catch up period are time allowances given while making time plan in order to complete the task in case if there is a delay in accomplishing the planned activity.Breaking large jobs into smaller jobs is easier to check. Having a routine checkup frequently.Getting help from others so that the work is shared and done within the period. Using work simplification tools and technique.Gauging the passage of time in relation to the work to be accomplished.


The individual who has a good sense of time has a valuable aid in controlling her time plan. For the person who finds it difficult to keep a plan in mind, a bulletin board in a convenient place may be an aid for constant check.




Evaluation is a flexible mental tool in time management. Evaluation of time management may be as simple as noting whether a plan worked or not or as fundamental as questioning the values upon which the time plan was based.


A chart for evaluating time plans is helpful tool in evaluation. Noting down whether a plan has been worked or not and suggesting possible methods of improvement, aid in evaluation.


Time is constant guide which helps in carrying out the day’s activities and distribution of various activities in an effective manner. In the past, the scarcity aspect of this resource was not felt and people used to spend it in their own way. In the recent years, with the advent of economic, technological and social development, people have started recognizing its existence as a scarce resource. Proper planning of time, effective follow up and constant improvement in the use of time have a great way for success in life.




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. Some of these problems are:


1.  Recognizing 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 actions.

4.  Lowering time costs of homemaking activities.


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 I: The beginning family is a period of adjustment and child bearing 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 homemaker is employed outside the home, demands on her time are light

Stage II: The expanding family brings new and heavy demands on both the parents. The coming of children requires the greatest adjustment in the time patterns of home .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 to evaluate their use of time. As children approach and reach adulthood, demands on the homemakers time depend on whether the children go to college, married and leaving the 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 co-ordinate their time and recreation plans with those of, their husbands. A gradual drop in their time demands comes with the approach of retirement period.



  1. 1.  The efficiency in using time is broadly based on the concept and importance a person or family holds for it.
  2. 2.  Economic and social status. A person, who has got his /her business (es) or get, engaged with various problems or activities of personal or others in the society, needs more time. Especially if they are working for the welfare of community through voluntary organizations the time demands will be more.
  3. Education The education plays a major role in effective time usage. It is understood that an educated understands about life and management, better and they are quick in taking decisions at different situations and for various activities and avoids time wastage when compared to an illiterate with little awareness.
  4. Area/distance The locality in which a person lives does have an impact in the use of time. If the house is very far off from the heart of city or shopping complex schools etc. children and grownups need to spend more time on transportation.
  5. Special interests in creative activities If a person is talented he would not mind consuming much of his time in getting material to complete creative project work which in turn gives him greater satisfaction.
  6. Congenial conditions While playing any role either inside or outside home, a congenial, comfortable environment with innovative, simple operating work simplification equipment will enable a house wife to use her time effectively. She can conserve time for recreational activities and can refresh herself from existence of routine household chores
  7.  Health, age and sex A healthy young individual is generally energetic and his capacity in doing a job is faster when compared to an old person. Old people, on an average are either anemic or malnourished; also food habits are poor, resulting to weak body. Automatically their work turnover will be less and consuming more time through delayed or slow, fatigued work methods.
  8. Family size Size of family is a factor that affects the time spent in home making. In a family with five or more children, home maker spends more time than a family with two children.
  9. Division of labour When chores in the family are shouldered by all members in the family, work to furnish needs less time. A mother may receive help from children or in-laws or grandparents who live with the family, or from servant maid..
  10. The management through tools The philosophy of the management is based on realization of time availability and her attitude toward management. Knowledge of time patterns of various households’ activities is an aid for effective time management. Time norms, peak loads, work curves and work simplification principles are some of the tools for time management. Time patterns can be obtained by observing daily records (diaries) of home-makers time usage on various household chores etc. Most Indian women spend more time on food activities and less time on group activities.

Constraints on effective Time Management


The most common constraints on managing time are personal habits, Workaholism , procrastination, and interruptions.




The routine parts of a person’s day are usually habitual and offer possibilities for improved time management. First it is essential to spot the time wasters and plan to replace them with more effective habits.Habits are changed only when people want to change.




It may surprise to know that Workaholism is considered as a constraint on achievement. Generally they put in long hours of activity that looks like work and is physically tiring which lead to fatigue, stress causing ineffective periods during long hours of work. They may waste their time and energy on insignificant chores.




It is the habit of postponing things. This may be due to fear of being disliked, fear of working hard, fear of failure, or fear of losing oneself in work, lack of confidence, lack of adequate information on how to proceed with the work etc. Procrastination appears in many forms – laziness, indifference, forgetfulness, and day dreams.


Interruptions Interruptions in the form of phone calls, unwanted visitors, guests may be the major constraint in time management.


Before I finish this programme I would like to give some simple tips that anybody could follow to manage their time in an efficient manner.

  • Write your goals so as to be clear about what you would like to accomplish.
  • Maintain a pocket diary or a table diary or event diary for daily schedule.
  • Prioritize your work.
  • Audit the time spent regularly.
  • Work under a pleasant work environment. It may generate enthusiasm to work. Set practical deadlines.
  • As lack of confidence may lead to procrastination learn the skills required before you
  • start any work. It will save your time as well as improve the quality of work.
  • Delegate responsibilities to others who are competent to do the job. Complete and clear and effective communication saves time.
  • If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing with enthusiasm. Start the day early.
  • Have catch up periods between engagements. Work smarter than working hard.
  • Take decision with knowledge, experience, commitment and competence.
  • Don’t delay in taking decision.
  • Plan not only for official time but plan for the whole day.
  • Learn the art of saying ‘ no’ to what we cannot and do not wish to handle. Be polite but assertive while saying no.
  • Be punctual
  • Do the most important work during your best time
  • Have quiet hour for creative work.
  • Devote at least 15 minutes for regular physical axcercise or 30 minutes of walk every day.
  • Meditate and pray for some time daily. Spare time for relaxation and recreation. Place everything in its place.
  • Control interruption in the work.
  • Use time savers- like computers, e-mail, calculators etc. Listen attentively.
  • Train the staff well enough.
  • Make the most of travel and commuting time. Remain calm, control your anger.
  • Spend adequate time with your family. Use phone effectively.
  • Deal effectively and politely with unwanted wrong time callers
  • Distribute tasks systematically and appropriately to your subordinates.




To be an effective positive producer, we need to invest our time and energy widely consciously leading yourself and empowering others to do the same” “Take care of your minutes, and the hours will take care of themselves” -Lord Chesterfield

you can view video on TIME MANAGEMENT



1) Mann,M.K.,(2004), Home Management for Indian Families . Kalyani Publications

2) Shukul, Maneesha and Gandotra Veena.,(2006) Home Management and Family Finance, Dominant Publishers.

3) M,A.,Ogale.M.N.,and Srinivasan .K.(2001)., Home Management, Wiley Eastern Limited. Vibha Sharma.,(2005)., Modern Home Management Shree Niwas Publication