Uncle Sam knows how we spend our time

Who hasn't made the excuse that they just can't find the time to exercise, or write thank-you cards, or volunteer, or repaint the living room? Well, our government knows how we spend our time in the average day, and its stats show that, frankly, we could probably find the time if we really wanted to.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistic's American Time Use Survey, the average American's day looks like this:

  • 8.57 hours of sleep
  • 0.67 hours grooming (wow!)
  • 1.11 hours eating and drinking
  • .64 hours of housework
  • .52 hours of food prep and cleanup
  • .21 hours of lawn care
  • .09 hours of pet maintenance
  • .78 hours purchasing goods and services
  • .53 hours caring for and helping household members
  • 5.11 hours leisure and sports, including 2.62 hours of television
  • 3.47 hours of work
  • .15 hours devoted to spiritual life
  • .16 hours of volunteer work
  • and numerous other smaller time-taking life support tasks.

I'm struck by how we devote more time, on average, to grooming than on church, volunteering, educating ourselves, preparing meals or keeping our house in order.

You'll note that the above are averages of all Americans. More telling is the time devoted to tasks by people that actually do the tasks:

  • On an average day, 83 percent of women and 66 percent of men spent some time doing housework, cooking, lawn care, or financial and other household management.
  • On the days that they did household activities, women spent an average of 2.7 hours, men 2.2 hours.
  • On an average day, 20 percent of men did housework--such as cleaning or doing laundry--compared with 52 percent of women. Thirty-seven percent of men cooked or cleaned up dishes compared with 64 percent of women.
  • Watching TV accounted for about half of leisure time, on average, for both men and women. Socializing was the next most common leisure activity, accounting for about three-quarters of an hour per day for both sexes.
  • Adults living in households with children under 6 spent an average of 2.0 hours per day providing primary childcare to household children.

The study is eye-opening and comprehensive. Take a look and see how the average Americans with your profile spends his/her day. One easy conclusion- television is the great time-eater.

Also read: Are you a workaholic?

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