Here’s Why Military Time Can Be Useful for Civilians


Here's Why Military Time Can Be Useful for Civilians

Military time is based on a 24 hour clock instead of regular time which splits the day into two twelve hour sections to distinguish between night and day. We have been making use of the twelve hour clock for a variety of reasons including because it is easier to indicate on a watch face. Imagine having to put 24 hours on one watch face instead of only twelve hours. It would become quite crowded and difficult to read.

However, military time is not only beneficial for the military. It can also be useful for civilians to know how to use the 24 hour clock correctly. Setting an alarm clock for 8:00 pm instead of 8:00 am can cause you to miss an important meeting or perhaps even a flight. In the medical profession it is crucial to get the time correct especially when medications have to be given to patients at exact times of the day.

The above examples are just some of the benefits of using military time in everyday life. Below are a few more reasons why we should all start using military time.

Benefits of using military time

Most countries in Europe have switched to using the 24 hour clock for formal communication, but the analogue clock (12 hour clock) still reigns supreme with most civilians as it has been around for much longer than its digital counterpart.

In business however one cannot afford to have mishaps regarding am / pm confusion and it is there for a good idea to use the 24 hour system, especially in written business communication. Military time also has an effective way of distinguishing between different time zones which makes it easier for international businesses to avoid confusion when scheduling times.

Here are 3 reasons why we should use military time:

1. Better time management

When using military time it is easy to convert time for events. For example, if someone says an event starts in 10 hours and it is currently 8:00 am, in military time you just add 10 hours (8 + 10 = 18) and automatically know that the event will start at 18:00 hours (6:00 pm). With a little practice, this will become second nature.

2. Avoid mishaps

One of the main reasons institutions such as aviation uses military time is to avoid any confusion with regards to am and pm. As a civilian, it is easy to set your smartphone to a 24 hour clock format to help you avoid setting alarms for the incorrect time of day.

3. A simpler life

There is no need to try and remember if your mother said you should meet her at eight am or eight pm. It’s also no longer necessary to ask the question whether someone is referring to morning or afternoon. Because each time is assigned a unique two-digit number, the time specified is clear and direct.

How does military time work?

The 24 hour clock starts from 0000 hours (Midnight or 12:00 am) to 2300 hours (11:00 pm). The hours and minutes are always indicted with two digits and the colon (:) as well as the am or pm suffix is omitted. This means that 1:00 am is written as 0100 hours, 2:00 am as 0200 and so on.

For different time zones a letter of the alphabet is assigned and used as a suffix to determine the time zone referred to. The standard time zone used is GMT (Greenwich Mean Time) and is indicated with a “Z”. This time is also called “Zulu Time” and is written as 1600Z hours (4:00 pm GMT). Each time zone has its own assigned letter and name.


Unless you grew up in a military household, you probably grew up learning the 12 hour clock. However, military time can be learned by everyone and has been proven to be very useful in day to day living. Just the fact that it can streamline daily living and prevent ugly mishaps or confusion is a great reason to learn this way of telling the time.