How to Create Timer Function in Python: Timer, Sleep, Delay [ With Code Example ]

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Welcome! In this article, we will show you how to create timer functions in Python. Timers are an essential part of many Python programs where we need to perform a task after a certain amount of time. By using timer functions, we can schedule and execute tasks effectively in our code.

Python has several built-in timer functions that we are going to explore in this article. We will also provide you with a code example to help you better understand the concepts.

So, let’s get started and explore the world of timer functions in Python!

Understanding Timer Functions in Python

Before we dive into the specifics of creating a timer function in Python, we first need to understand what timer functions are and how they work.

Put simply, a timer function executes a piece of code after a certain amount of time has passed. This can be useful in various situations, such as creating a countdown for a game or program, scheduling tasks at specific intervals, or implementing timeouts for network requests.

In Python, we can create timer functions using the built-in time module, which provides several functions for dealing with time-related operations.

Using the time Module

The time module provides two main functions for creating timers: sleep() and perf_counter().

The sleep() function pauses the execution of the program for a specified number of seconds. For example, the following code waits for 5 seconds before printing “Hello, world!”:

import time

print("Hello, world!")

The perf_counter() function returns the current value of a performance counter, which can be used to measure the elapsed time between two points in the program. For example, the following code measures the time it takes to execute a loop:

import time

start_time = time.perf_counter()

for i in range(1000000):

end_time = time.perf_counter()

print("Elapsed time:", end_time - start_time)

These two functions can be used together to create a basic timer function in Python. For example, the following code prints a message every 5 seconds:

import time

def timer():
    while True:
        print("Hello, world!")


As you can see, the timer() function uses an infinite loop to repeatedly call the print() function, and uses sleep() to pause execution for 5 seconds between each call.

In the next section, we’ll take a closer look at using sleep() and delay() in timer functions.

Using Sleep and Delay in Python Timers

Now that we have a basic understanding of timers, let’s dive into using the sleep and delay functions in Python timers.

Sleep Function

The sleep function is a time-delay function that pauses the execution of a program for a specified amount of time. We can use this function to create time intervals between events or actions in our program. The code example below shows how to use the sleep function:

import time

print("Waiting for 2 seconds...")
print("2 seconds have passed.")

In the example above, the program will print “Waiting for 2 seconds…”, wait for 2 seconds using the sleep function, and then print “2 seconds have passed.”. This function is particularly useful when we want to wait for a specific amount of time before executing the next step in our program.

Delay Function

The delay function is another time-delay function in Python timers. Similar to the sleep function, we can use this function to create time intervals between actions. The difference is that the delay function is non-blocking, meaning that it does not pause the entire program. Instead, it allows the program to continue executing and only delays the action that is specified. The code example below shows how to use the delay function:

import threading

def delayed_action():
    print("This is a delayed action.")

timer = threading.Timer(2, delayed_action)
print("Action has been initiated.")

# The program will continue executing here while 
# the delay function is running in the background.

In the example above, we create a function called delayed_action and use the timer function from the threading module to delay its execution for 2 seconds. The program will print “Starting…”, initiate the timer, print “Action has been initiated.”, and then continue executing while the timer is running in the background. After 2 seconds, the delayed_action function will execute, and the program will print “This is a delayed action.”. This function is particularly useful when we want to delay a specific action without pausing the entire program.

In conclusion, the sleep and delay functions are important tools to have in our programming arsenal. They allow us to create time intervals and delays between actions in our programs and can be used in various applications.

Implementing a Timer Class in Python

Timer functions in Python can be utilized for scheduling tasks that need to be repeated or executed at specific intervals. While Python offers built-in timer functions like sleep and delay, we can also create our timer class to meet specific requirements. In this section, we will walk you through the steps needed to implement a timer class in Python.

Step 1: Import the Required Modules

First, we need to import the Timer and Thread modules from the threading package.

import threading
from threading import Timer

Step 2: Define the Timer Class

Next, we will define our timer class. In our implementation, the timer class takes two parameters: the duration of the timer and the function that needs to be executed at the end of the timer.

class MyTimer:
    def __init__(self, duration, function):
        self.duration = duration
        self.function = function

    def start(self):
        t = Timer(self.duration, self.function)

Step 3: Create an Instance of the Timer Class

Once the Timer class is defined, we can create an instance of the class by specifying the duration and the function to be executed.

def my_function():
    print("Timer has ended.")

timer = MyTimer(5, my_function)

Step 4: Run the Timer

Finally, we can start the timer by calling the start method of the timer instance. This will execute the specified function after the specified duration has elapsed.

The output of the above code will be:

Timer has ended.

Using a timer class in Python offers greater flexibility in scheduling tasks as it allows us to define our timer rules. You can also expand on our implementation to include additional functionalities based on your requirements.


In conclusion, we have learned that creating timer functions in Python can be achieved through various methods such as using the Timer, Sleep, and Delay functions. The Timer function is useful for executing a function at a specific time, while the Sleep and Delay functions allow for a pause in the program’s execution.

Understanding the different types of timer functions in Python and how they can be utilized is essential for efficient programming. Additionally, we have explored the implementation of a Timer Class, which offers more flexibility and customization for timed events in Python.

Overall, Python provides powerful and versatile timer functions that can be applied in many different applications. By incorporating these techniques, we can improve our programming skills and create more efficient and effective programs.

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