How Do You Spend Your Time?

I recently came across this survey in the Wall Street Journal that tracks how you spend your time versus the average American. You enter the amount of time you spend on various tasks on an average day, and the survey compares your answers to the rest of the population. The data comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ 2011 report.

Take the survey here!

As I was filling out my survey, I found myself thinking that the amount of time I perceive myself to spend on various activities and the amount of time I actually spend might be very different. Perhaps the same can be said for the Bureau’s data, because some of its findings were surprising to me.

Here are my results:

My Results

Does anyone else find it surprising that the average American claims to get more than eight and a half hours of sleep a night? Or exercises more than an hour and a half a day? I thought we were a more sleep-deprived, sedentary nation – but I guess it’s better to be pleasantly surprised than the opposite.

Despite the large amount of sleep and exercise the average American claims to get, how is it that they are still watching TV three hours a day? That was another surprisingly large number to me.

Something else that stood out to me when I was taking the survey was how little time I spend eating and drinking compared to how much time I shop for and prepare my meals. While food preparation is not captured in the WSJ’s quiz, it is in the Bureau’s report. The average person spends less than an hour a day on food prep and consumer goods purchases combined, but I know I spend more. I realized that for all of the time I put into shopping for and preparing my meals, I don’t spend all that much time enjoying or appreciating them. Breakfast and lunch are almost always eaten at my desk at work, and this is a habit I’d like to change.

How do you allocate your time on an average day? Are you surprised by any of the averages published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics? Leave a comment if you took the quiz!

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