How To Time In Python

Working with time is a common task in programming, whether you are tracking the time elapsed during a process, displaying the current time to users, or scheduling tasks to run at specific intervals. In this blog post, we will explore various ways to work with time in Python, including the time module, the datetime module, and the calendar module.

1. The time Module

The time module in Python provides various functions to work with time, such as getting the current time, pausing program execution, and converting between different time representations.

1.1 Getting the Current Time

To get the current time, we can use the time() function from the time module, which returns the time as a floating-point number of seconds since the epoch (January 1, 1970, 00:00:00 UTC).

Here’s an example to get the current time:

    import time

    current_time = time.time()
    print(f"The current time is {current_time} seconds since the epoch.")

1.2 Sleeping and Pausing Program Execution

The sleep() function in the time module can be used to pause the execution of a program for a specified number of seconds. This is useful, for example, when you want to wait for a process to complete or implement a delay between retries in case of a network failure.

Here’s an example of how to use the sleep() function:

    import time

    time.sleep(3)  # Sleep for 3 seconds

2. The datetime Module

The datetime module in Python is more powerful and flexible than the time module, providing classes for manipulating dates, times, and timedeltas. We will explore some of the most commonly used classes and functions in this module.

2.1 Working with Dates and Times

The datetime class in the datetime module represents a single point in time, including both the date (year, month, and day) and the time (hour, minute, second, and microsecond).

Here’s how to create a datetime object representing the current time:

    from datetime import datetime

    current_time =
    print(f"The current time is {current_time}.")

You can also create a datetime object for a specific date and time using the datetime() constructor:

    from datetime import datetime

    my_birthday = datetime(1990, 1, 1, 12, 0, 0)
    print(f"My birthday is on {my_birthday}.")

2.2 Formatting Dates and Times

The strftime() method of a datetime object allows you to format the date and time as a string, using format codes as placeholders. For example:

    from datetime import datetime

    current_time =
    formatted_time = current_time.strftime("%Y-%m-%d %H:%M:%S")
    print(f"The current time is {formatted_time}.")

2.3 Parsing Dates and Times

The strptime() function of the datetime class allows you to parse a string representing a date and time and convert it to a datetime object, using format codes to specify the expected format. For example:

    from datetime import datetime

    date_string = "2021-05-01 12:34:56"
    parsed_date = datetime.strptime(date_string, "%Y-%m-%d %H:%M:%S")
    print(f"The parsed date is {parsed_date}.")

3. The calendar Module

The calendar module in Python provides various functions to work with calendars, such as generating plain text or HTML calendars for a specific month or year, and checking if a year is a leap year.

Here’s an example of how to generate an HTML calendar for May 2021:

    import calendar

    cal = calendar.HTMLCalendar()
    html_calendar = cal.formatmonth(2021, 5)

And here’s how to check if a year is a leap year:

    import calendar

    year = 2021
    is_leap = calendar.isleap(year)
    print(f"{year} is a leap year: {is_leap}")


In this blog post, we’ve explored the time, datetime, and calendar modules in Python, which provide various functions and classes to work with time. By utilizing these modules, you can efficiently manage and manipulate time-related tasks in your Python programs.