Time. It's undoubtedly our most precious resource. It's the one resource that everyday -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.
As I outlined in a previous article based off of a popular YouTube video, 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.
Here are 7 surprising statistics that show on average where many of us spend a good chunk of our time, and some simple ways to improve or correct them:
1. We spend 38 hours per year stuck in traffic
According to the Texas A&M annual mobility study the average American spends 38 hours per year sitting in traffic. That number jumps drastically to over 60 hours a year in certain heavily populated metropolitan cities like D.C., Los Angeles and San Francisco. Those numbers 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 of work sitting in our car. (1)
Simple Improvement: Assuming you can't immediately change your driving needs, look to make the most of the time you do spend in your car. Listen to an audiobook or at the very least play some of your favourite music, find a way to incorporate a passion or some expansive thinking into your daily commute.
2. We spend 11 hours per day with some form of digital media
A 2013 analysis revealed that the average American spends 11 hours a day engaged with some form of digital media. (2) Whether it be your phone, the television or your computer, were 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 any of us should be dedicating that much of our time to.
Simple Improvement: Challenge yourself to spend time either or your own or with loved ones completely disconnected from all forms of digital media. Talk a walk, talk, meditate, do anything just to give your mind and body a break from the digital overload.
3. Women spend nearly one year (287 days) of their life deciding what to wear
Clothing company Matalan, conducted a survey of nearly 2500 women between the ages of 16 and 60, to determine the average amount of time spent picking out their wardrobe for various occasions. The results averaged out to an astonishing 287 days, that's 6888 hours spent picking out clothes. (3) Our clothing certainly can play a role in how we feel and present ourselves but this certainly does say something about how much of a stranglehold consumerism has on us.
Simple Improvement: Knowing this, work on valuing the time spent in the clothing more than the time spent deciding upon it. Try timing yourself the next time you find yourself picking out an outfit. See how long it takes, and progressively challenge yourself to improve upon that time daily.
4. Men spend 43 minutes per day staring at women
43 minutes a day, adds up to 259 hours per year which adds up to over 11 months between the ages of 18 and 50. These were the results of a poll conducted by Kodak, which also revealed the supermarket as the place where the most glances occur. (4)
Simple Improvement: As beautiful as the female body may be to admire why not focus on truly connecting with it. If you are in relationship, spend that time admiring the body you can be intimate with. If you aren't in a relationship, challenge yourself to approach the individual you're admiring rather than just visually enjoying what's on display.
5. We work for 10.3 years
Between the ages of 20 and 65 the average American works 40 hours a week, a number that adds up to 10.3 years. (5)
Simple Improvement: Given that work is an essential for survival in most of our lives, check to see if you're passionate about the work that you are doing. If you are, great. If you aren't, work towards getting yourself a job that does engage at least some of your passions.
6. We spend 93% of our lives indoors
According to the Environmental Protection Agency the average American spends 93% of their life indoors, 87% inside a building, 6% in a car. (6) That means that we only spend 6% of our lives in the great outdoors. There is so much of the world to see and there is no better time than now to start seeing it.
Simple Improvement: If you can't afford to travel, find ways to incorporate more time outdoors into your regular schedule. Take walks, sit outside, do anything that gives you an opportunity to get away from the recycled air that indoor environments have to offer.
7. Video Gamers spend 6.3 hours per week playing video games
In 2013 the average US gamer over the age of 13 spent 6.3 hours a week playing video games -which was up from an average of 5.6 hours spent in 2012. (7) 6.3 hours a week totals to over 325 hours a year spent on a virtual reality, that as cool as they can be to play with, are never as important as our actual reality.
Simple Improvement: If you still play video games, make sure you aren't playing them by habit. Make sure you are actually enjoying the experience and truly at peace with playing when you do. If you find yourself playing for other reasons, try slowly substituting it with other things that interest you.