7400.362 - Family Life Management
School of Family and Consumer Sciences
Instructor: David D. Witt, Ph.D.
Topic 9 -Time Management


In economics, time is considered as a nonrenewable resource because it is a scare commodity. Time is saved, spent, and allocated to get something wanted. A resourceful person uses time effectively or imaginatively, especially in difficult situations.Monet is sometimes traded off for time, as when a busy person hires someone to clean the house or take care of the yard

  • Time is a measured or measurable period.
  • Time displacement a central management concept, which is concern over how much time spent in one activity takes away from time spent in another activity. For e.g., choosing to watch television rather than studying will affect the goal of academic achievement.
  • Time is a resource related to fulfillment of wants, needs and goals.
  • Time Management is the conscious control of time to fulfill needs and achieve goals.
  • Time allocation is based on an individual’s values, what is important to that person. For e.g., if a family values a shared dinner hour with a multicourse meal, then the family members will set aside time for meal preparation and eating together.
  • Time can be measures in units (i.e., minutes, hours, days).
  • It is difficult to comprehend time since each individual’s perceptions and use of time affects the ways they think about it.

Discretionary Versus Nondiscretionary Time

Time can be categorized as
1. Discretionary - Is the free time an individual can use any way she or he wants.  During the day nearly all people have some discretionary time For example, when people take breaks, use the bathroom, eat meals, and come and go between the activities. Evening and weekends generally offer most of the discretionary time.

Usually children have more discretionary time than adults, but this situation may be changing.David Elkind in his book The Hurried Child makes the point that children today are overcommitted and are growing up too fast and too soon. He argues that they have too little free, unstructured, discretionary time. This lack of free time leads to stress. It allows the individual to make choices about whom to be with and what to do.

2. Nondiscretionary - Is the time that an individual cannot control totally by himself or herself. For example, class time – they are set by the school or college; Opening and closing of banks, post office, stores and also restaurants.

Suggestions to help in managing both discretionary and nondiscretionary time:

  • Make a daily: things to do list” or keep a calendar.
  • Say “no” to request for time that keep one from finishing projects already under way.
  • Make use of the telephone and the computer whenever possible
  • Delegate
  • Keep a flexible schedule that allows for unexpected events
  • Ask, “Is this the best possible use of my time at the moment?”

The ABC Method Of Time Control

Many books have been published that suggests ways an individual and families can improve their use of time. One of the best- known book is “ How to Get Control Of Your Time and Your Life” by Alan Lakein.
The book explains how to

· Set short –term and long-term goals
· Establish priorities
· Organize a daily schedule
· Achieve self understanding
Lakeins encourages the use of the ABC method in which
· A activities are the top priority and have to accomplished first
· B activities are less priority and have to accomplishes next
· C activities are to be least priority, which can be accomplished if time is left.
Another important concept in Lakein’ s book is that daily time should be directly related to goals.

Time Perception
Perception refers to the process whereby sensory stimulation is translated into organized experience.
Time Perception is the awareness of the passage of time.
People’s time perception can differ due to following reasons

· Drugs and alcohol consumption alters time perception
· Changes in body temperature
· Lack of exposure to natural daylight
· Temperament
· Culture Environment
· Absorption in the task at hand may also affect perception
Estimating Duration
  • Watches, clocks, newspaper, radio and television serve as a guide for estimating how much time has passed.
  • Being active seems to make time go faster than being passive.
  • An individual who is motivated is able to concentrate longer on a task and enjoy it more.
  • Time seems to move faster when one is not bored.
  • Age is one of the factors for marked individual difference in the ability to estimate time. For example, elderly people tend to find time shorter than young people. According to Jean Piaget’s theory of concrete cognitive operations, children can only accurately estimate time after age of 7 or 8.
Practical Uses of Time Measurement
Although perception and estimations of time vary from person to person, time itself is one of the most accurately measured physical quantities. Study of time can be a very practical subject. In the early 20th century, time and motion studies were conducted in offices and factories throughout the “U.S. These studies evaluated industrial performance and analyzed the time spent in producing a product such as car.

Fredrick Taylor (1911) who is widely considered to be the father of time and motion introduced the idea of measuring time precisely in order to examine specific activities with the intent of finding way to reduce the amount of time they required. These studies aimed at improving efficiency through saving time and energy used. As a result of these findings assembly line work in factories became more standardized and efficient. Many of principles and methods derived from industrial performance studies, such as those conducted by Taylor, were applied to household efficiency.

The time and product use of individuals and the families are being studies by manufactures and marketers of appliances, food and household products. They are interested in identifying the trends in who does what in home and learning how many minutes a day are spent in preparing food, eating, cleaning up etc so that they can tailor their product and advertising to fit current household practices and hence increase the sale by bettering consumer needs. For example, a fast food chain might use several methods of inquiry, including

· In restaurant consumer survey
· Focus groups (selected groups of people who are questioned by a discussion leader or moderator about what they think about different topics, in this case products and service)
· Observation
· Self – reports
· Point of sale information – obtained when bar code from products are entered into cash register
Time measurement is also has practical applications in evaluating skills such as word processing (no. of words per min), sales (no of sales per min), library uses (no of books checked out per week) and etc. The amount of Social Security retired people receive is based on the number of years they have been employed and how much they earned. Divorce Settlements take into account the number of year of marriage. Even on daily basis people try to determine if they will be on time for work, school and appointment.  People are engaged in time management from the moment they wake up until they go to sleep. Even sleeping is a times event ending when one awakens at sound of radio or an alarm clock.

Perception Of Time Across Cultures
E.T Hall, the author of The Silent Languages studied how culture influences the way people think about time.
He provided three anthropological models of time, which were further delineated by Robert Graham and Alma Owen.
These models define time in the context of various activities, life stages, or time of year. The models illustrate what time means to different cultural groups and also the ways in which they process and structure time.
The models are as following

1) Linear- Separable Model of Time - Linear-separable time processing is related to economic time.
Long –term planning is accepted as normal in the linear-separable model. The model also treats the past, present, and future as distinct entities that are broken down into units. In linear-separable time orientations, stories, steps, and procedures are usually told in chronological order. Speed of preparation is valued, so time saving products such as cake mixes and canned soup are accepted. Time is measures by clocks and calendars. Appointments are kept on time It is assumed that the future will bring better things. The model represents and optimistic point of view because improvements are expected over the time.
Most Western European culture and other culture that have been strongly influence by Western Europe View time as linear.

2) Procedural – Traditional Model of Time - Individuals, with a procedural perception consider the actual steps, event, or procedure to be more important than time spent in the activity. Being prompt is not as critical as doing things correctly or when conditions are right. This model is characterized by staying with a task until it is completed no matter how much time it takes.
Several tribes of American Indians and Alaskan Eskimos ascribe to a procedural perception of time. Scientists looking for cures and people who quilt or do other arts and crafts may also subscribe to this model. For example, Martha Stewart, an icon of home decorating and gourmet cooking, takes elaborate steps to produce something of unusually high and unique quality.

3) Circular- Traditional Model of Time - A circular or cyclical perception emphasizes the repetitive nature of time.
The model assumes that today will be much likely like yesterday and tomorrow will be more of the same. Time follows a rhythmic pattern with regular beginnings and ends, but without discrete units of past, present, and future. In this model, things may move forward or may remain the same. The circular perception is often associated with poverty because life for the poor, regardless of country, may change little from day to day. People living in primitive or agricultural subsistence culture may also subscribe to the circular perception since they may be born, live, raise their families, and die on the same land as thin grandparents.

Some Effects of Cultural Differences.
None of these models of time perceptions is good or bad; they simply illustrate cultural differences that affects managerial and consumption behavior. Many countries use a combination of the models or include cultural groups that ascribe more to one model than another. In Western culture, all three models exist, although the linear-separable model is dominant.

Latin American provides an example of how perception of time can affect consumption behavior. Latin Americans generally view time as less concrete and less subject to scheduling than North Americans. Consequently, appointments and meetings rarely start at the schedule time. Also Latin Americans do not value eating fast in an impersonal setting. Thus Wimpy- Kentucky Fried Chicken, and McDonald had difficult time penetrating in the Latin American market.

In circular perception, the concept of the future is vague. Southeast Asian, for instance, tends to think of the future in terms of hundreds or thousands of years. This perception leads to a different sense of urgency. In Asian countries, businesses are planned for the long run over several decades rather than for the short term. Whereas Japanese have been very receptive to many American- European time –saving convenience goods.

Research studies done on 48 East and Southeast Asian students show that they most frequently used procedural processing followed by circular and rarely used linear procedural. On the other hand U.S. students appeared to use linear processing most, followed by procedural processing and then circular processing. U.S. students were more likely to view time as valuable and limited commodity- something to be scheduled- whereas the Asian students were more concerned with the task itself rather than time.

Biological Time Patterns
Each person has an internal clock that tells her or him when to wake, go to sleep, and eat. Circadian rhythms are the daily rhythmic activity cycles, based on 24- hour intervals, that human experience. The word circadian comes from the Latin words meaning about and dies meaning day. Before birth, babies are exposed to these daily rhythms from their mother’s eating and sleeping patterns. Jet lag and the disorientation caused by changing work shifts are example of human reacts when their rhythms are disturbed. In case of jet lag, people experience psychological dislocation and disruption of bodily rhythms caused by high-speed travel across several time zones in an airplane.

A quantitative time measure refers to the number, kind, and duration (e.g., minutes, hours, day) of activity that occur at specific point of time. A quantitative time researcher would be interested in how many minutes a day an individual spends in food preparation, shopping, eating, driving, grooming, playing, child care, elder care, and working.

Quantitative time- use data are gathered in four ways:
1) Self- report or Diary Method.
Individual records his or her own time-use data on a form provided by the researcher

2) Recall Method
Individual are asked to think back (recall) and explain in detail a previous day’s activity to an interviewer in person, or over the telephone, or by self- report on a form provided by the researcher.

3) Observation Method
A trained researcher observes and records the precise way, duration and sequencing of an individual’s activities. This method has been extensively used in anthropology and child development.

4) Self- observation control-signaling Method
Is rarely used for collecting data on household time use.
Is extensively used in business management studies.
In this method, subjects are asked to record their time use at a given signals, such as when a bell sounds, a telephone rings, or a light flashes. The reports in the control-signaling method are required at random times and are less expected and less time- consuming for the subject than lengthy ongoing diary self- reports. Some researchers conclude that the control- signaling method produces more accurate results than other methods since signals occur sporadically and the subject responds immediately.

Using a combination of methods with built-in crosschecks is generally considered to be the best way to obtain accurate data.

Qualitative time measurement
Investigates the meaning or significance of time use as well as how individuals feel about their time use that is the satisfaction it generates. It also measures who they are spending time with. The “ who “ part of how time is spent is important because daily life is not defined solely by what we do, but also by who we are with. Milaly Csiksezentmihalyi (1997) estimates that people spend roughly equal amounts of time in three social contexts.

1. Strangers, coworkers, fellow students. This is “ public” space where one’s actions are evaluated by others and where one competes for resources.

2. Family and friends. This is a place of kinship, special bonds, and home.

3. Solitude. Time spent alone.

In technological societies, more time spent alone than was common in tribal societies, where being alone was considered dangerous. According to Csiksezentmihalyi (1997) it important to learn to tolerate solitude or else the quality of our lives is bound to suffer. The popularity of chat rooms and email may be partially explained by this need to connect with others even if physically alone. Prior to 1970’s all time –use measurements was quantitative. Since then lot of studies have used both qualitative and quantitative measures. Asking qualitative questions also lets the researcher to know how the individual feels; thus, the burden of interpretation is no longer on the researcher where obvious bias or perceptual errors could occur.

As an example of a study investigating the qualitative aspect of time use, Hafstorm and Paynter (1991) studies data collected on farm wives in 7 states and found although farm wives appeared to assume a large share of the workload- a combination of home, farm, and labor force- they remained satisfies with management in the home and the farm. They also found that satisfaction with time use was affected by variety of factors, including the wife’s sense of control over her own life. So, even though wives reported being overloaded with work and family demands, they still were relatively satisfies with their lifestyle and accepted its complexity.

Demands, Sequencing, And Standards
Demands, sequencing, and standards- are an integral part of the discussion of time from a managerial perspective. Since time is a limited resource, individuals have to make decision about how to allocated their time. Demands, sequencing, and standards affect these decisions.

As lives become more complicated, increasing demands are place on time. Demands are events or goals that necessitate or motivate action. For example, school demand attendance, workplace demand a certain numbers of hour of work. Parent demand safe neighborhood for their children, the children’s coach demands that they spend time practicing, and citizen demand fair government. Many of these demands may not be met, but they are goals or ideals worth striving for.

It is not necessary that people buy and use appliances because they want to save time. Research done in U.S. suggests that the average women aged 18 to 50 spend 57 minutes a day cooking. The difference between women with microwave ovens and those without is just 4 minutes.

Demands on time within families and organization may conflict. For example, one child may want parents to attend the school play whereas the other sibling wants the parent to attend soccer game. Stretching limited resources, including time, to meet conflicting demands is a dilemma all people experience.

Families with young children or disabled family members may face even greater demand on the family, and meeting those demands take time. Unfortunately, demands are often strongest when resources are weakest, as in a young married couple who are trying to set up a household, have children, and become established in their career- all at the same time. Time demands are also high for families trying to balance more established careers and home responsibilities.

Besides external demands to the person, there are internal demands as well. All individuals have a tempo, meaning a time pattern or pace that feels comfortable to them.  Some people may be on “ high energy, always on the go, or hyper,” whereas there are some people who are “ slow, thoughtful, and deliberate.” Successful organizations thrive on having members with both types of temperaments.

Sometimes demands for time are uneven and difficult to manage. For example, bicycle stores may be empty during weekdays, but crowded on weekends with children and parents

Demands can range from none to all to excessive and can be irregular as well. When shopping, customers should gauge when demand will low, lines short, and stores uncrowded. All the above example illustrate, the concept of demand can be applied to time as well as to other constructs and contexts, such as shopping demands and energy demands.

Sequencing is a following of one thing after another in a series or an arrangement. Also can be defined as the order of activities in time, as in a series of events. For example, sharpening a pencil before writing with it, unlock in a door before entering a house, or making an appointment before ones goes to a dentist.

Sequencing may be simple or complex. In a simple sequence, one person performs one task. A complicated sequencing plan involves many people and many tasks. A large family with children at different ages will have more trouble completing tasks and holding to a set sequence than a person living alone,

Schedules, which are sets of time- bounded activities, are made up of two mental processes

Time- tagging  is a mental estimation of the sequences that should take place, the approximate amount of time required for each activity in the sequence, and the starting and ending times for each activity. Repeatedly following the same sequences with the same sequences with same starting and ending points leads to a procedural routines where the person no longer has to think about individual steps in the sequence. For example, while learning how to drive a car at first one is slow and has to think carefully about each step. In time, the sequence becomes faster and more natural. Schedules and sequences can be mental or they can be written, as in a schedule of college classes or a program of forthcoming events.

Many indivuals, and families feel overwhelmed by demands on their time. They feel short of time because of the phenomenon of multitasking, which is becoming more and more than norm.

Tasks can be divided into three main categories:

1. Interdependent
In interdependent activities, one task must be completed before the next task can begin.
For example, for mailing a letter the has to be written and the enveloped stamped and addressed before mailing

2. Dovetailing
Doing two or more activities at the same time. For example, a person may fold laundry and watch television at the same time.
Many dull, repetitive activities lend themselves to dovetailing
The only drawback of dovetailing is by doing too many things at the same time, the end result may be less than desired. A meal can be burned or even message can be misinterpreted

3. Overlapping
Involves giving intermittent attention to two or more activities until they are completed.
For example, a parent might put a baby to bed, then read while partly listening to hear if the baby is falling asleep.

On a given day, people use all three types of sequencing. Each individual ma favor a certain type of sequencing based on his or her style, pace, or tempo. Most people go through a certain sequence of events when they first awaken in the morning like going to bathroom, taking a shower etc. As the day progresses, they move on to more complicated sequencing involving dovetailing and overlapping activities. Then at bedtime they revert back to more habitual sequential mode.

Is a habitual way of doing things that save time and energy for other activities
Routine and habits provide stability to our lives
Learning logical ways of sequencing activities is a part of the socialization process
Young children thrive on routines at home and preschool.

A standard is an acknowledgment measure of comparison or a criterion.
The notion of standards incorporates the concept of value
Standards serve as guides or measures of human behavior
More detailed definition of standards by DeMerchant (1993) describes them as quantitative and/or qualitative criteria, or measures of values and goals, that reconciles resources with demands and affect how certain tasks or activities are completed.

In today’s fast- moving world, individuals and families often do not have enough time or energy to meet the standards they would like to in keeping their home cleans, exercising regularly, meeting family needs, and accomplish work.
Clearly to maintaing standards in all areas under these conditions is difficult.

Standards have both qualitative and quantitative aspects:

Quantity refers to a measurable amount and quality refers to a degree or grade of excellence, the essential character or nature of something.

Quantitatively, teacher may set a standard of grading 59-math papers an hour. Qualitatively, a person may want his or her food to b prepared to a certain standard of nutrition, taste, and attractiveness.

Conflict arises in homes and organizations when people have different standards. For example in a restaurant, if food is not prepared to the expected standards, a customer may send the food back to the kitchen. In a home, some family members may be perfectly happy living in a mess that other members cannot tolerate.

Standards of quality and quantity form the criteria for action. Demand leads to an alteration of standards. For example s student preparing for an exam cannot cook dinner. Preparing for test demands all their time and attention, so housel old can wait.

The more complex the lifestyle and the greater number of people involved, the more regular standard have to be if everyone involved is going to survive and thrive

Electronic Resources
· Report on “ The New Millennium American: by Paine Webber”- includes info on stress less leisure and time- efficient leisure and on multitasking and is implication for investments and consumption patterns.- http://www.painewebber.com/

· Latest public poll info from Gallup Organization- http://www.gallup.com/

· IBM – company is offering variable hours- http://www.ibm.com/diversity