New Survey Reveals Busiest Times of Day for Women, Most Time-Consuming Activities

HealthyWomen Provides 12 Time-StretchingTips for Women—Just in Time for Daylight Savings!

Red Bank, N.J. – With Daylight Savings around the corner, many women will find that extra hour of sunshine in the morning comes at their most hectic time of the day. According to research released today by HealthyWomen (HW), women's busiest hours are closely connected to the work day–but the number one activity that takes time away from women is domestic chores. These findings affirm that despite women taking on greater roles outside the home, they are still very much constrained by household activities. Fortunately, they are also finding novel strategies to cope.


The survey of more than 1000 women, conducted by Harris interactive, shows that the largest percentage of women (38%) feel most pressed for time in the early morning hours of their day, from 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. and one-fifth of those surveyed (20%) report the biggest time pressures during early evening, from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., when many families are preparing for and eating dinner, as well as finishing up tasks from the day.

"What makes these findings so interesting is that they are connected to a typical work day," said Elizabeth Battaglino Cahill, RN, executive director of HealthyWomen. "The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that women will represent a majority of the workforce for the first time in history within the next year and despite women working outside the home more, we see from this survey that their time is still very much consumed by domestic duties."

How women actually spend their time vs. how they would like to spend it
When asked which activities kept them from doing the things they wanted to do, almost half of the women surveyed cited domestic chores (49%). A similar number (47%) cited paying bills or running errands. And almost a quarter of women (23%) included activities such as making phone calls, texting and emailing as significant time sinks.

If they had more time, the majority of women (65%) would use it for entertainment, such as reading, watching TV and using the internet. Many women would also choose to spend time with friends or family (54%) and on physical activities such as working out or running (46%).

Other findings from the survey include notable differences among older and younger women.

  • Digital overload for younger women. Younger women (ages 18-34) were more likely than those over 35 to cite communicating with others through phone calls, texts and email as an activity that keeps them from doing what they want.
  • Health and hygiene more time-consuming for younger women. Younger women also are much more likely to say that personal hygiene takes up too much time and dealing with their menstrual cycle/period keeps them from doing the things they want to do.
  • Younger women would like more "me time." If given more time, younger women were more likely to say that they would spend time 'doing nothing' or sleeping.

Simple, time-saving solutions
"Whatever their obligations, women are coming up with creative ways to conserve their time and cut down stress," explained Battaglino Cahill. "We asked the HealthyWomen community to give us their tips on saving time, and selected the best tips to share so we can all try to find more time for the things that are most important to us."

From hundreds of submissions, HealthyWomen selected the top 12 easiest and most practical ways to save time throughout the day–and to take advantage of that extra hour of morning sunshine that comes with Daylight Savings.

HealthyWomen's Top 12 Time-Saving Tips:

    Domestic Duties
  1. 1. Make Fridays leftover night. You will clean out the fridge and save time and money. Rose T., Washington
  2. 2. We know you want to be watching TV, but how about making that personal time a bit more productive? Use commercial breaks to squeeze in some of the end-of-day chores—sort laundry, start the washer, vacuum a room, unload the dishwasher, organize the kitchen counter. Isabel H., South Carolina
  3. 3. Sign up for free automatic bill-paying services for all recurring bills such as utility bills, etc. Then set up an online bank account for free, one-click payment of all other bills—saves time, postage and gas! Dorothea S., Washington

  4. Running Errands
  5. 4. Combine as many errands as you can into one outing, grouping them by location and reducing travel time. Julia W., Washington, D.C.
  6. 5. Ask for help! Keep a list of your errands and an ear open in case your spouse, relative or friend is headed to the same place. Anonymous
  7. 6. Ride your bike, walk or run to run local errands, eliminating the need to take time to exercise later. Rachel L., Georgia

  8. Communicating With Others
  9. 7. Set a schedule and establish boundaries throughout the day. For example, at the beginning of each conversation, tell others how much time you have available. It's as easy as saying, "I'm glad you called, but I've only got about 10 minutes to chat..." Shannon S., Texas
  10. 8. Make e-mail more efficient—spending the time to unsubscribe to all the junk e-mails will give you an inbox with just the information you want, and you'll spend less time deleting the stuff you don't. Marsha S., New Jersey
  11. 9. Take public transportation to work, and use that time to read, update your to-do list or answer personal e-mails. Anonymous

  12. Health and Beauty
  13. 10. Reconsider your definition of clean, and don't shampoo every day. Your hair will be healthier and shinier, and your shower will be shorter. Ute V., Florida
  14. 11. Keep your period light—at least packing for it. You can safely wear a menstrual cup all day, which saves time changing and packing your feminine protection. Anonymous
  15. 12. Tried and true: Set your clothes out the night before. Women who don't can waste time trying on different outfits or having to iron at the busiest time of the day. Deolinda J., New York

This survey was supported by an educational grant from Instead Softcup (www.softcup.com).

About the Survey
This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of HealthyWomen from October 13-15, 2010 among 1,015 women ages 18 and older. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact Tara May at tara.may@ogilvypr.com.

About HealthyWomen
HealthyWomen (HW) is the nation's leading independent health information source for women. For more than 20 years, women have been coming to the HW for answers to their most pressing and personal health care questions. HW provides health information through a wide array of online content and print publications that are original, objective and reviewed and approved by medical experts. Its website, www.HealthyWomen.org®, was recognized by ForbesWoman as one of the "Top 100 Websites for Women" and was named the top women's health website by Dr. Mehmet Oz in O, The Oprah Magazine and by Good Housekeeping magazine. To learn more, visit www.HealthyWomen.org.

About Instead Softcup
The Instead Softcup is a body-friendly, convenient alternative to tampons and pads. Designed by a woman, Softcup is a flexible menstrual cup worn internally, around the cervix, which collects rather than absorbs menstrual fluid. Women can wear Softcups for up to 12 hours, making it perfect for moms, runners/athletes, college students, women with irregular periods, peri-menopausal women, or any busy woman. It can be worn confidently during any type of activity, including sleeping, swimming, and sports, and even during intercourse for mess-free sex. Unlike tampons, the Softcup doesn't change the body's natural pH balance, contain dioxins, and it's made of a non-irritating, non-absorbent plastic material that isn't linked to toxic shock syndrome (TSS). To find store locations, visit www.softcup.com.

About Harris Interactive
Harris Interactive is one of the world's leading custom market research firms, leveraging research, technology, and business acumen to transform relevant insight into actionable foresight. Known widely for the Harris Poll and for pioneering innovative research methodologies, Harris offers expertise in a wide range of industries including healthcare, technology, public affairs, energy, telecommunications, financial services, insurance, media, retail, restaurant, and consumer package goods. Serving clients in over 215 countries and territories through our North American, European, and Asian offices and a network of independent market research firms, Harris specializes in delivering research solutions that help us – and our clients – stay ahead of what's next. For more information, please visit www.harrisinteractive.com.

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