4150.0 - Time Use Survey: User Guide, 2006  
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Contents >> Survey background and purpose >> ACTIVITY CLASSIFICATION

ACTIVITY CLASSIFICATION

The activities that people record in their diaries are classified according to the Time Use Activity Classification, which was redeveloped for the 1997 Time Use Survey to align with the four types of time:

      1. Necessary time; includes activities which serve basic physiological needs such as sleeping, eating, personal care, health and hygiene.
      2. Contracted time; includes paid work and regular education. Activities within this category have explicit contracts which control the periods of time in which they are performed. These activities, therefore, constrain the distribution of other activities over the rest of the day.
      3. Committed time; describes activities to which a person has committed him/herself because of previous acts or behaviours or community participation such as having children, setting up a household or doing voluntary work. The consequent housework, care of children, shopping or provision of help to others are committed activities. In most cases, services could be bought to provide the same activity (e.g. an exchange could be made of time for money). The unpaid work activities which are identified in the satellite national accounts are all committed time activities.
      4. Free time; is the amount of time left when the previous three types of time have been taken out of a person's day. Many free time activities are considered as leisure, but not all. Leisure time is subjective and depends on a particular person's point of view. In fact, many activities included in committed time can be considered to be leisure time activities by some people (e.g. gardening, furniture making). The only way to obtain more free time is for contracts and commitments to be changed or to spend less time on necessary time activities (e.g. sleep less).

The 2006 Time Use Activity Classification used nine major activity groups, arranged to relate to the above typology:
      Necessary time
          1. Personal care activities
      Contracted time
          2. Employment activities
          3. Education activities
      Committed time
          4. Domestic activities
          5. Child care activities
          6. Purchasing activities
          7. Voluntary work and care activities
      Free time
          8. Social and community interaction
          9. Recreation and leisure

A more detailed list of activity categories can be found in Appendix 1.

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