Background: Many aspects of everyday life in westernized societies are organized around the clock.

Aim: The aim of this study was to explore how individuals with long term health problems experience ‘time’ in their daily lives.

Methods: A phenomenological approach was identified as the most appropriate way of studying the individuals’ experiences of time. Data were obtained by qualitative in-depth interviews. Four women and five men diagnosed with long term mental health or somatic illnesses were included in the study.

Results: Three major themes were identified; ‘periods of time’, ‘experiences of good times’, and ‘taking control over time’. Periods of time refers to the time before the health problems occurred, the period when the informants really were struggling in their daily lives, and finally when they had learned to deal with or to manage their everyday life situations with health problems.

Conclusion: Increased awareness of the meaning of time could enhance understanding and development of more genuine, helpful, and enriching client-provider relationships, and formation of the ideal, but often illusive, partnership.