Australia's Time Use Survey – Online Diary Help
This page is for people selected in the Time Use Survey and looking for help completing the diary online. If you have incorrectly come to this page, you can return to the Time Use Diary Frequently Asked Questions page by clicking here. Alternatively, for help or more information please call us on 1800 246 878 during business hours. For help outside these hours, please leave a message with your contact details and we will return your call as soon as possible.
Frequently asked questions
The time use diary covers how you spend your time over a two-day period. The email we send you advises which two days have been allocated to you, and gives you instructions on how to get your diary started.
You can access your time use diary on a PC, laptop, tablet or on your smartphone. You will need to be connected to the internet.
There are questions at the beginning of the diary that you will answer before recording your activities.
After completing these initial questions, you will be taken to the main page for Day 1. On this page you will see the empty activity ring, which represents the 24 hours of the day, and will fill in as you start to record your activities. At the bottom of this page there is a list of activities where all the activities you enter will be displayed.
Below is an example of the main page.
How do I complete the time use diary?
You will complete the diary by recording what you do during the day as a series of activities, beginning at midnight on Day 1. If you were doing two things at a time (for example, cooking while looking after children, or knitting while talking on the phone), you will be able to record one as your ‘main activity’ and the second as your ‘other activity’ for that time.
Please provide as much detail as you can about what you did. It doesn’t matter how uninteresting or routine you think something is, please record it. Record everything you do, even if it takes only a few minutes.
Adding an activity
To begin, click ‘Add Activity’. We have provided 7 broad activity categories. Within these categories there are some common activities you can choose from. If you can't find the activity you are looking for please enter the name of the activity you were doing into any of the "Other (please specify)" text boxes, and then select the "Add activity" button near it.
After you select your main activity, you will then record details about that activity. Select a start and end time for when the activity took place by clicking on the time display. Below is an image of this screen.
After selecting the start and end time, answer the other questions on the page about the main activity, including whether you used a device, who you did it for and where you were. Then select the Next button.
On the following page you will record who you were with during that main activity. You can click on the blue 'i' icon for more information. If you select yes. we will ask you about who you were with. Once you have provided the details, press the Next button. Below is an image of this screen.
Recording another activity at the same time
Once you have recorded a main activity, you can add other things that you were doing at the same time. If you select yes, you will be asked to provide information on this other activity. Like with the main activity, you will select from the list of common activities, or can enter your own in the "Other (please specify)" Below is an image of this screen.
On the next page you will be asked to confirm the times you were completing this other activity and whether you used a smartphone, tablet or computer to complete it. If the start and end time for this other activity was different, you can adjust it on this screen. Below is an image of this screen.
Once you have entered these details for the other activity, you will be taken back to the main activity. You will be asked if you were doing anything else. Select No, and then Next to complete entering the activity and return to the main page. Below is an image of this screen.
Viewing activities you have recorded
After you finish entering details for each activity, you will return to the main page for the day. This will display an overview of your day.
On this page, you will see the activity ring, which represents the 24 hours of the day. You will notice that as you add activities, the corresponding parts of the ring will be coloured in. The larger outer ring represents main activities, and the smaller inside ring represents ‘other’ activities.
Another way to view the information you have entered for the day is at the bottom of the main page, where your main and other activities will be listed as you add them. You can click on the "Main activities" and "Other activities" headings to move between the two lists. Below is an example of the main page with activities entered.
Editing, changing or correcting diary information
If you wish to change information you have already entered into the diary, you can do so using the activity lists at the bottom of the main diary day page.
You can edit or remove a main activity by finding it in the list and clicking the button on the right with three dots. You cannot edit an activity in the "Other activities" list, but you can remove it by clicking the "Remove" button. Then, you can add the correct other activity information by editing the main activity for that corresponding time.
Below is an image of the main page, with the pointer highlighting the "Edit activity" button.
Completing your diary day
When you have finished your diary for the day, the outer activity ring will be completely covered, with no gaps in time (although there will be fine white lines between activities).
When you have completed the diary day, click the Submit Day button. If you have not entered a main activity for a time in the 24-hour cycle you will be alerted. You can add the missing activity, or edit the current main activity times to correctly reflect the time you spent.
When you submit your diary day you will be asked questions about your day, and at the end of your second diary day you will be asked a few questions about your health and voluntary work.
Finally, you will have a chance to provide comments if you would like to, then submit your diary. Once you have submitted the diary, you will not be able to return to your diary or change any information you entered.
When should I fill in the diary?
The email we sent you advises which two days have been allocated to you. They are also displayed at the top of the main page of the diary. Below is an image that highlights where you can find the diary day on the main page.
The diary starts at midnight on day one and covers the following two-day period. Please record your activities in the diary on the allocated days. This way, you are less likely to forget all the activities you have completed on those days.
You cannot change your diary days.
If you wish, you can use your smartphone to complete your diary, so you can easily make entries throughout the day. You will need an internet connection to do this.
Can someone else in my household complete the diary on my behalf?
It is best if each person allocated a diary records their own activities to ensure an accurate account. If you are unable to complete the diary yourself, then someone else can complete it on your behalf.
If you are completing the diary on behalf of someone else in your household, you will need to obtain their consent before doing so.
If you are not sure whether you should complete the diary please call our team on 1800 246 878 during business hours.
Can I change the diary days I’ve been allocated?
You cannot change your diary days. It is important for you to complete the diary on the days allocated to you. Diary days are allocated to each household in advance to ensure that we gather information which represents every day of the week. When choosing the diary days, we have taken into consideration the seasons and other times of the year that may influence people’s activities, such as public and school holidays.
What if my allocated diary days are not like my usual days?
If you are not doing what you would usually do on your allocated diary days; for example, if you were travelling, or you were sick, please continue to record what you did on each day as this information is just as important.
How do I record more than one activity at a time in the diary?
Once you have entered an activity, the diary will ask what else you were doing at the same time. You can record ‘other’ activities that lasted the whole length or only part of the length of the main activity. For instance, if your main activity was cooking dinner, but you were also washing dishes and talking to your partner, you can add both of these as other activities by tailoring the times the activity was completed.
First, add the details for the first activity and the correct start and end time, as well as whether you used a smartphone, tablet or computer to complete the activity. Below is an image of this screen.
You can add subsequent other activities by selecting "Yes" when asked "Were you doing anything else at the same time as this main activity?". Note, if you try to input more than one other activity for the same time you will be alerted and asked to update the time. Below is an example of this alert.
Once you have finished adding all the other activities for this activity, you can proceed back to the main page by selecting "No" when asked "were you doing anything else at the same time as this main activity?" and then "Next". Below is an image of this screen.
How do I know what is my main activity and my other activity?
A main activity is the primary activity you were doing at that time. It doesn't matter how uninteresting or routine you think something might be, please enter it. Please record all events, even if they only lasted a few minutes.
An other activity is any activity that you might be doing at the same time as a main activity. For example, if you are cleaning the dishes and listening to the radio at the same time, you can record cleaning the dishes as a main activity and listening to the radio as the other activity. Other examples of other activities can include minding children, watching television, listening to music, social media, instant messaging, etc.
How do I record paid work?
If you are doing paid work during your diary days, you do not need to record your specific work activities. From the list of common activities you can select "Work, volunteering or education" and then select "Work in main job (paid)" if you were working for the job/employment that you work the most hours, or select "Work in any other job (paid)" if you have more than one job and you were working at that other job, as you can see in the below image.
How do I record travelling or using transport?
If you were travelling or using transport, please select ‘Travelling’ from the list of activities. You will then be asked the mode of transport (such as car, walking or public transport) and the purpose of your travel.
Do I only record the people I was doing the activity with?
No. Please include people who are in the same place as you at the time, even if they were not doing the same activity.
How many activities do I need to complete?
There is no right or wrong answer for how many activities you should complete. Every day is unique and no two days will have the same activities. Below is an example of a list of activities for part of a completed day.
What happens after I've completed a day?
Once you have completed the day, you can submit it by selecting the "Submit Day" button on the main page. There will be questions to answer at the end of each day. When you have completed these questions you will be taken to the main page of the next day.
What happens after I’ve completed the diary?
When you have completed your diary for both days, you’ll be asked a few questions about your health and voluntary work. You will then be notified of any incomplete sections of the diary. Finally, you’ll have a chance to provide any comments you have, and submit your diary. Once you have submitted the diary, you will not be able to return to your diary or change any information you entered.
Who can I contact for help with completing the time use diary?
For help, or more information about completing the diary, please call us on 1800 246 878 during business hours. For help outside these hours, please leave a message with your contact details and we will return your call as soon as possible.
We acknowledge and value your time and effort participating in this survey. It is only with the support of people like you that we can continue to produce the statistics that inform Australia's important decisions.