The Time Budget

woman washing dishes

Sometimes time seems to fly by and I get little accomplished. Maybe I need a “time budget.” A hundred-year-old magazine had an article written by a homemaker who described how she used a time budget to keep organized:

The Time Budget 

Before I discovered the magic secret of the time budget my housekeeping drove me to despair. There was always a mob of duties clamoring for my attention at the same time, and not enough hours in the day for half of them, to say nothing of opportunity for needed rest and recreation.

A magazine article opened my eyes to the possibilities of a definite plan for the housewife’s working day. At once I adapted the suggested schedule to my particular needs and began to follow it. And, what a transformation it worked!

Formerly, on some days, I would drudge from morning till night, not even taking time to put on a fresh dress for evening, and sometimes I would give up the unequal struggle and simply loaf through the day. Now, instead of either dawdling along aimlessly, or desperately attacking anything I happened to think of, everything goes by the clock. There was a definite time for getting breakfast, washing dishes, cleaning the kitchen, setting other rooms to rights, bedmaking, each day’s special task, lunch, washing dishes, rest period, dressing for the afternoon, several hours for recreation or congenial employment, dinner, and an outing or a restful evening at home.

The daily time budget involves several other worry-saving methods. One is the children’s schedule, by which the routine of their day is fitted into my plans. Another is the making of menus for a week at a time. The plan which contributes most to my own health and happiness is the weekly schedule, by which the various tasks necessary for the upkeep of the house are allotted to particular days. I no longer bear the burden all at once, but do each days’ allowance- clearning the kitchen, polishing the silver, or mending – and everything is kept in order with a minimum of worry and drudgery.

The use of a time budget is a financial blessing as well. Supplies can be bought more economically for a week or a month, than if someone is sent in frantic haste for a can of something or other a few minutes before the meal. Then, too, the practice of economizing, in time leads, to a greater care in the expenditure of the household money.

In my case the time budget has proved to be an undoubted success, and I am sure my family now enjoys my society more than when they sed to find me discouraged, cross, and – I may as well admit it – untidy, at the end of a far form perfect day. H.S.S.

American Cookery (August/September, 1922)

7 thoughts on “The Time Budget

  1. I didn’t read the article but I have a time budget too! It makes things much easier to keep under control and she is absolutely correct – my money budget and my cooking are simplified to the point of being a breeze!!

  2. I don’t keep a rigid schedule of doing the same task each week, but I do keep and old fashioned date book that gives me a week at a time to look at, with a good-sized place on the side for general notes that I can refer back to. I tried keeping this on the computer, but it didn’t work for me; I don’t always have the computer on, and it is easy to just walk to my desk and glance.

  3. I’ve tried something similar, but my problem is that when it’s time to do the specific task….I don’t want to, so I don’t! Good idea to be mindful of our time!

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