According to the American Time Use Survey, we spent less time working, on average, in 2009, compared with 2007, which means we had more time to engage in other activities. 

A common lament that I constantly hear in my time management training sessions is the lack of time in our days.  If only I had time, I would....   What do you think you would organize your days if you were given more minutes in your day?  Would you use it to get more done, to increase your knowledge, to build in more exercise hours, or to develop a new hobby? 

The study, conducted by the government and run annually, explored how those extra minutes were spent, and it seems that the winning activities were more television and more sleep.  What we did NOT do was increase our time volunteering, exercising, and learning.  And reading lost ground.  According to economist Daniel Hamermesh from the University of Texas, It's not like we're using the recession to build our skills-the skills are depreciating.  It's a waste.

Behavior varies somewhat by sexes: 

  • Men watched television for an average of 3 hours and six minutes per day in 2009, compared with 2 hours and 34 minutes for women. 
  • Women spent 3 hours and 10 minutes doing chores, including housework, child care, and care for other family members.  This compares with 1 hour and 53 minutes that men devoted to these tasks.

It is easy to blame work and society for the pace of our lives and feeling overwhelmed, but maybe part of the problem is that we are not structuring our days for greater productivity so that we can actually achieve those things we say we want to accomplish.  Instead we bounce around, multitasking, and do not focus on priorities.