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Doesn’t it feel like sometimes you never have enough time? Where are all those seconds going? Why am I always running behind?

Time is the equalizer of all life on earth. You have the same amount of time in a day as everyone else: 24 hours. What you do with the 24 hours you’re given determines your successes, failures and contentment in life. Life is not about getting more time, it’s a hard practice of managing the time you have left.

To get a better grasp on the time you spend living, you need to ask yourself:

How am I currently spending my time?

It’s shocking just how much time we spent doing tasks that don’t serve us. When you add it up and show these hours spent over a year or a lifetime, it makes you rethink how you are passing time.

Here are some recent facts on how we spend time at work, in play and in front of our screens.

Work time

  • Full-time employees work an average of 8.5 hours per weekday and 5.4 hours per day on a weekend day. (BLS, 2019)
  • The average employee spends 2 hours per day recovering from distractions. (Atlassian, 2019)
  • The average knowledge worker checks email and IM every 6 minutes. (RescueTime, 2019)
  • The average employee only works for a total of 3 minutes before switching to another task. (Atlassian, 2019)
  • The Netherlands ranks among the best work/life balanced countries with an average 29-hour workweek. (Small Business Trends, 2018)

Play time

  • Watching TV is the most enjoyed form of leisure, accounting for 2.8 hours per day. That works out to 42.6 days per year! (BLS, 2019)
  • Socializing with friends (not online) accounts for an average of 38 minutes per day. (BLS, 2019)
  • We spent twice as much time socializing per day on the weekend (59 minutes) as on weekdays (29 minutes). (BLS, 2019)
  • Gaming accounts for about 1 hour per day on average for people aged 15 to 24. (BLS, 2019)

Screen time

  • On average, we spend 3 hours and 15 minutes a day (49.4 days per year) on our phones. (RescueTime, 2018)
  • Most people check their phones an average of 58 times per day. (RescueTime, 2018)
  • Half of all phone checks happen within 3 minutes of a previous one. (RescueTime, 2018)
  • In 2018, we spent an average of 142 minutes per day on social media, that’s up from 90 minutes in 2012. (Digital Information World, 2019)
  • You will spend an average of 5 years and 4 months of your life on social media, but only 1 year and 3 months socializing with real people. (MediaKix, 2016)

How can I get better at managing my time?

Dr. Donald Wetmore of The Productivity Institute shares many tips and tricks on how you can manage your time more effectively. He has dedicated his life’s work to helping people manage their time better. His blog post titled: “Time Management Facts and Figures” is commonly shared and often referenced.

While many of the facts and figures shared in this blog post may be outdated, they still give you pause to think about how you spend your time. Please read the following post by Dr. Wetmore and then reflect on the meaning of your time.

Time Management Facts and Figures

During the last twenty years, after making over 2,000 presentations around the world, I have gathered some interesting facts and figures about Time Management and Personal Productivity for your use and enjoyment.

  1. There will be 2.2 million deaths in this country this year. 75% are from causes that are largely preventable.
  2. There will be 2 million marriages in this country this year and 1 million divorces.
  3. 95% of divorces are caused by a “lack of communication
  4. The average working person spends less than 2 minutes per day in meaningful communication with their spouse or “significant other”.
  5. The average working person spends less than 30 seconds a day in meaningful communication with their children.
  6. 80% of employees do not want to go to work on Monday morning. By Friday, the rate only drops to 60%.
  7. The average person uses 13 different methods to control and manage their time.
  8. The average person gets 1 interruption every 8 minutes, or approximately 7 an hour, or 50–60 per day. The average interruption takes 5 minutes, totalling about 4 hours or 50% of the average workday. 80% of those interruptions are typically rated as “little value” or “no value” creating approximately 3 hours of wasted time per day.
  9. On an average day, there are 17 million meetings in America.
  10. By taking 1 hour per day for independent study, 7 hours per week, 365 hours in a year, one can learn at the rate of a full-time student. In 3–5 years, the average person can become an expert in the topic of their choice, by spending only one hour per day.
  11. 95% of the books in this country are purchased by 5% of the population. 95% of self-improvement books, audio tapes, and video tapes purchased are not used.
  12. 97% of workers, if they became financially independent, would not continue with their current employer or in their current occupation.
  13. 20% of the average workday is spent on “crucial” and “important” things, while 80% of the average workday is spent on things that have “little value” or “no value”.
  14. In the last 20 years, working time has increased by 15% and leisure time has decreased by 33%.
  15. A person who works with a “messy” or cluttered desk spends, on average, 1 1/2 hours per day looking for things or being distracted by things or approximately 7 1/2 hours per workweek. “Out of sight; out of mind.” When it’s in sight, it’s in mind.
  16. The average reading speed is approximately 200 words per minute. The average working person reads 2 hours per day. A Speed Reading course that will improve the reading rate to 400 words per minute will save an hour per day.
  17. 90% of those who join health and fitness clubs will stop going within the first 90 days.
  18. 9 out of 10 people daydream in meetings.
  19. 60% of meeting attendees take notes to appear as if they are listening.
  20. 40% of working people skip breakfast. 39% skip lunch. Of those who take a lunch break, 50% allow only 15 minutes of less.
  21. It takes approximately 30 days to establish a new physical or emotional habit.
  22. The average worker sends and receives 190 messages per day.
  23. The average American watches 28 hours of television per week.
  24. 78% of workers in America wish they had more time to “smell the roses”.
  25. 49% of workers in America complain that they are on a treadmill.
  26. Angry people are twice as likely to suffer a heart attack as a person in better control of their emotions.
  27. 75% of heart attacks occur between the hours of 5:00 a.m.-8:00 a.m., local time.
  28. More heart attacks occur on Monday than on any other day of the week.
  29. 25% of sick days are taken for illness. 75% of sick days are taken for other reasons.
  30. 95% of the things we fear will occur, do not occur.
  31. Taking 5 minutes per day, 5 days per week to improve one’s job will create 1,200 little improvements to a job over a 5 year period.
  32. 1 out of 3 workers changes jobs every year.
  33. 1 out of 5 people moves every year.
  34. 70% of American workers desire to own their own business.
  35. 75% of American workers complain that they are tired.
  36. The average worker gets a 6 hours and 57 minutes of sleep per night.
  37. 80% of “Crisis Management” events are preventable.
  38. The average worker spends 35 minutes per day commuting.
  39. When someone is asking for our time for a meeting, 80% of the time, there is an alternate date and time that will be acceptable.
  40. Good Time Managers do not allocate their time to those who “demand” it, but rather, to those who “deserve” it.
  41. The most powerful word in our Time Management vocabulary is “no
  42. 70% of business and professional people use a “to dolist on a regular basis to administer their “have to’s”.
  43. 5% of business and professional people use a “to do” list on a regular basis to administer not only their “have to’s”, but also their “want to’s”.
  44. If you want to get something done, give it to a busy person.
  45. It almost always takes twice as long to complete a task as what we originally thought it would take.
  46. A project tends to expand with the time allocated for it.” If you give yourself one thing to do, it will take all day. If you give yourself two things to do, you get them both done. If you give yourself a dozen things to do, you may not get 12 done, but you’ll get 7 or 8 completed.
  47. Delegation is an unlimited method to multiply time for achieving results.
  48. The hardest part about delegation is simply letting go. “If you want a job done right, you have to do it yourself.”
  49. 1 hour of planning will save 10 hours of doing.
  50. Hiring a college student to do routine tasks (grocery shopping, yard work, household chores, etc.) will free up as much as 20 hours per week for the average person to devote to more productive uses.
  51. The average person today (1999) receives more information on a daily basis, than the average person received in a lifetime in 1900.
  52. The “20/80 Rule” tells us we will typically accomplish 80% of our results through 20% of our effort. The other 20% of additional results comes from about 80% of additional effort.
  53. Stressed” spelled backwards is “desserts”.
  54. We retain 10% of what we read. We retain 20% of what we hear. We retain 30% of what we see. We retain 50% of what we hear and see. We retain 70% of what we say. We retain 90% of what we do.
  55. Half of what is known today, we did not know 10 years ago. The amount of knowledge in the world has doubled in the last 10 years. And it is said to be doubling again every 18 months.
  56. Time Management is not doing the wrong things quicker. That just gets us nowhere faster. Time Management is doing the right things.
  57. “If you always do what you’ve always done, you always get what you’ve always got.” To change our output, we must change our input.

Dr. Donald E. Wetmore
Certified Executive Coach, Consultant and Trainer
Author, “Organizing Your Life” and “The Productivity Handbook”
Productivity Institute

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About the Author

For 30 years, Dovico has been providing time tracking and timesheet software for clients worldwide. Manage your projects and teams, capture time and generate reports.

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