Monday 18 December 2017

HOW DO WE SPEND OUR TIME?                                                    
Many years ago when my best friend was 50 years of age and I was attending his birthday celebration, I was asked to give a speech. Now I am not one to miss an opportunity to make fun of a friend so here is how I described what he did with his time.

When I reminded Felix that he was then celebrating his fiftieth  birthday, he replied, “So what is fifty years?” I gave him, his family and friends my answer to his question. Here it is.

Let’s look at Felix’s fifty years  another way. It is 600 months, which it is 2600 weeks and it is 18,250 days. It means his heart beat 60 times a minute at rest that means his heart beats—50 times which comes to 480,000 hours times 60 minutes times 26,280,000 minutes which equals 13 trillion, 140 billion times. This isn’t considering the five times in his life when his heart beat increased to 90 times a minute when he was making love to his wife or who else he has chosen to make love to.

Now the average person sleeps one third of his life in bed. Felix
sleeps four tenths of his life in bed so that means he is awake most of the time. This means that out of the last fifty years, he has been asleep in bed for 20 years. This isn’t accounting for the times he is asleep at the wheel, asleep on the toilet, asleep at the table and asleep when Morella is lecturing him on how to keep his hair—so we will add another two years of sleep to his 20 years asleep in bed.

Now he spends four hours a day eating and that is 832,00 hours since he was born. This means that he has spent in the last 50 years, three years stuffing his chops.

So far, he has spent half his life eating and sleeping. He reminds me of my cat.

Now he spends approximately two hours a day just waiting in line and talking nonsense to people beside ahead of him or behind him.. That comes to 18 months of wasting his time doing nothing worthwhile.

He also spends one hour a day on the toilet and that amounts to 18,250 hours on the crapper looking at dirty pictures in the latest edition of Playboy and that is 760 days which two years.

He watches TV four hours a day and that amounts to 73,000 hours which is 3041 days which is eight and a third years watching TV.

So far he has wasted 31.8 years of his life.

Now he went to school for 17,640 hours which is two and a half years of being in school learning absolutely nothing.

So far he has spent 34 years doing nothing useful.

He daydreams approximately seven hours a day and that means that he has spent another two and a half years at doing nothing.

He spend two hours a day bathing and looking at the mirror to admire himself and from that, we can add another half year.

Now we are at the 50th year point in his life.

For the first six years of his life he ate and slept and burped so that adds up to 43 years leaving him with seven years left.

He tinkers with cars and drives them going nowhere so we can add another three years to that. That leaves him with four years left.

He loves to go to stores and buy things with his credit cards so we can add another two years to that and he spends half that amount of time trying to duck his creditors so that leaves him with one year left.

Now he has spent eleven months and three weeks in hospitals trying to fix his body which he has so aptly destroyed so that leaves him with one week?

I have a rather pertinent question for you, Felix. In all honesty, could you please tell us what you have done with that one week that has been useful to anyone at all?

That was the end of my soliloquy to Felix.

Our time in our lives is undoubtedly our most precious resource.  It’s the one resource that every one of our days-aside from the day we are born and the day we die; we all get an equal amount of. Many factors including, but not limited to our geographic location, socioeconomic status, age, level of responsibility and values all play a role in how we choose to spend this resource daily.

We are given 86,400 seconds to work with daily. 86,400 seconds that we often take for granted, with the majority of it being spent daily on things that we barely give much conscious attention to such as breathing.

The average driver going to work spends as much as 38 hours per year sitting in traffic. That number jumps drastically to over 60 hours a year in certain heavily populated metropolitan cities.  Sixty hours a year may not seem overwhelming but when you equivocate to the fact that most of us work a 40-hour work week, we essentially spend an entire week each year sitting in our cars doing absolutely nothing but listening to the car radio.

A 2013 analysis revealed that the average person spends 11 hours a day engaged with some form of digital media. Whether it be our phone, the television or our computer, we’re spending just under half of every day on an electronic device. As connective and expansive as digital media can be it’s certainly not something most should be dedicating that much of our time to. There are exceptions of course. Newspaper people, TV and radio people and those who are editors of magazines spend a great deal of time being involved with some form of device.    

screens. People are spending twice as much time online compared to 10 years ago, fueled by increasing use of tablets and smartphones. The biggest increase has been among young adults, with time spent online almost tripling from 10 hours and 24 minutes each week in 2005 to 27 hours and 36 minutes in 2014. Teenagers spend 27 hours a week online looking at their computer or smart phones.

In total, the average adult spends more than 20 hours online a week, which includes time spent on the internet at work. Meanwhile the average person spends 2.5 hours every week “online while on the move” - away from their home, work or place of study. This is a five-fold increase from 2005, when the figure was just 30 minutes.

As a blogger and author of books (so far eight have been published since I retired from the practice of law) I spend on average, eight hours a day, seven days a week in my studio at home sitting in front of my computer researching and writing. That comes to 4,920 hours which is a little over 29 weeks which comes to a bit over half a year sitting on my ass.  

I once said in a speech many years ago that at first, writing was my mistress that I loved, then it became the woman I married and now it is the tyrant that has control of me. No matter what kind of work people do, many of them enjoy their work as I do even if I have to work under the tyrant’s whip.

The clothing company, Matalan, conducted a survey of nearly 2500 women between the ages of 16 and 60, to determine the average amount of time they spent picking out their wardrobe for various occasions. The results averaged out to an astonishing 287 days, that’s 6,888 hours spent choosing the clothes they want to wear in public.  Our clothing we wear certainly can play a role in how we feel and present ourselves but this certainly does say something about how much of a stranglehold our clothing has on our lives. That comes to 41 weeks. That leaves them only 11 weeks to do whatever is left of their time in each year to do other things that they want to do.

Imagine if you will the advantage that very poor people around the world have over the rest of us. With generally only one piece of clothing to wear, they have all the rest of their lives to do other things.

 Men spend 43 minutes per day staring at women. That means that 43 minutes a day adds up to 259 hours per year which is almost a week looking at women between the ages of 18 and 50.

Between the ages of 20 and 65, the average adult works 40 hours a week, a number that adds up to 10.3 years.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the average person spends 93% of their life indoors, 87% inside a building, 6% in a car. That means that the average person only spends 6% of their lives in the great outdoors. There is so much of the world to see outside of our homes and places of work that is not part of our lives.

Every day, people average a little more than half an hour as they prepare their meals and 43 minutes socializing and communicate with others.  

This trend is pronounced among parents of young children. Among fathers and mothers who have kids 6 and younger, dads spend, on average, almost one more hour at the office per day than moms (this includes part-time workers and both weekdays and weekends, hence the 5- and 6-hour workdays). But add in housework, childcare, and shopping, and moms end up working almost as much as dads. That said, dads also relax more, getting 40 minutes more leisure time per day, on average, than moms. Moms, meanwhile, get slightly more sleep and also spend slightly more time on educational activities, like going to school or doing homework.

Very few office workers actually work the full eight hours they spend at their desks. There are the coffee breaks and the water cooler chats, the personal texts and emails that just have to be dealt with immediately, In between these breaks, they might actually get some work done.  

Interestingly, time use varies a lot by educational attainment. People with lower educational attainment spend more time doing leisure activities, sleeping, and keeping house, while people with more education tend to be at work more. There are other patterns as well since more educated people also tend to spend slightly more time eating and drinking, as well as talking on the phone or using the computer to access their email.

How much slacking off at work is normal? At least half an hour a day, according to a working paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research that lends credence to the notion that long working hours aren't actually very productive. At least, workers report spending 34 minutes of company time a day on non-work activities, on average. When the researchers asked the workers who claimed they really did not deviate from work-related tasks at any point during the day—clearly an unreliable sample population—the average reported messing-around time jumped to 50 minutes a day. That is costing their employers a lot of money since that particular time is non-productive

Adults watch far more TV in their downtime than doing anything else. Of the 5.26 hours per day that adults had for leisure time on average in 2013, they spent most of it watching TV. Nothing else even comes close, whether it's being on the internet, exercising, or reading. I watch TV in the family room between seven in the evening until eleven every day. That comes to on average of 120 hours a month which also means that I spend five full days each month watching television. That also means that I watch TV 60 days (two months) every year. That leaves me ten months to do something else with the time allotted to me.

A recent study by has revealed that the average person spends 90 minutes a day on their cellphone. That figure may not sound like a lot but that amounts up to 23 days a year and 3.9 years of the average person's life is spent staring at their phone screen. I see so many people starting at their phone screen, I am wondering if they are doing anything else with their spare time.

I hope you enjoyed reading this article. 

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