One of the top complaints I hear as someone who writes about simplicity is, “I don’t have enough time.” People always complain they don’t get enough sleep, and they work too many hours. Plus all the housework and childcare.
But, it turns out much of what we think is not true.
For the gold standard in statistics on time we go to the American Time Use Survey from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Did you realize we sleep an average of 8 hours and 33 minutes on weekdays and 9 hours 28 minutes sleeping on weekends and holidays? We are sleeping more than we think.
As for work, it’s rare that people spend 50-80 hours on work. 89% of full-time workers spend about 8.5 hours at work. The actual work is about 7.62 hours a day.
Between cleaning, laundry, home maintenance, and cooking it’s about 77 minutes a day.
Caring for kids is 2 hours 49 minutes for women, 1 hour 18 minutes for men for kids under 6. And for parents with kids between 6 and 12, it’s about an hour a day. And the time going to plays, sports events, etc. averages to 6 minutes a day.
How much leisure time do we have? The average is 4 hours and 43 minutes on the weekday and 6 hours and 34 minutes on weekends and holidays. TV takes the most of that at 2 hours, 48 minutes a day. Socializing 38 minutes a day averaging out in the week. People 15-44 read less than 10 minutes a day.
Of course, the internet and smartphones also take a lot of our leisure time. Much of our leisure time is passive instead of active or creative. My phone has a Digital Wellbeing app that tells me how much time I spend on different apps. You can also use Quality Time or other app trackers. See how much you are actually spending on your apps and decide if that is how much you want to be spending.
These are all averages. We know people working multiple jobs, caring for elderly people, etc. But, for many of us – we have the time. It’s what we decide to prioritize. Instead of saying, “I don’t have time for that,” admit that it’s not a priority for you. Get honest with yourself and quit using time as an excuse.
Let’s let go of the phrase, “I don’t have time for…” We get to choose whether to make time for it or not.
Everyone has 168 hours in a week. What will you use yours for?