Money & Time, How Others Waste It

Yesterday’s post was intended to remind myself as well as others about how much time we waste when we take our eye off the ball. It is easy to become complacent with the routine. Stand in the same line at the post office often enough and we become acclimated to it while we will rage in a shorter line where we wouldn’t normally expect one to be.

While wasting some time myself last night, ostensibly doing researching for a project at work, I came across the interactive chart pictured below.  It is a sobering view of Americans daily activities.


You can gain access to this graph by clicking on the picture. But first, let me share a couple observations.

This article was featured in the Festival of Frugality hosted by Simply Forties. Please check out this Festival for many other great articles about personal finance and frugality.

Television vs. Working

The first and most disturbing revelation I had, was that at no time during the course of an average day is there a greater percentage of the population working than watching television at its peak! Amazing as it sounds, between the hours of 8:00 and 9:00 p.m. up to 39% of the population is watching TV, while the there is never more than 33% of the population working at any given time!


A little concerning is that during the course of the day, at any given time, 1% of our population either can’t remember or were not willing to divulge what they were doing? Then again, maybe we don’t want to know.

Travel & Home

Throughout a large part of each day, roughly 19% of our population is either traveling or engaged in “household activities.” (This is why I tease my SAHM wife about eating bon bons!) Our society and geography has been built as a mobile society but the act of moving stuff and people adds no real value, it only increases our costs, both financial and environmental. While there are activities in the home that are necessary, the fact that it requires so much time screams opportunity.

Sports & Leisure

At any given time during the day no more than 8% of our population is involved in a sport or leisure activity. Think this is part of the reason for the fattening of America? (Present company included! Though I’m down 4lbs for January 😕 )

Shopping vs. Education

We have a virtual tie between the number of people spending (shopping) and the number of people learning. Sounds like personal finance classes are in order.

Employed vs. Unemployed

You will notice that this interactive chart has several option buttons at the top. You can view the data for each gender, different races, ages, educational levels and even the employed vs. unemployed.

I know what it is like to be unemployed, it was many years ago and it was not fun! What stood out to me was some of the differences in the daily activities in these two groups. The key data is written at the top of these respective graphs. Unemployed people sleep later, sleep more and “tidy” their house way more than the average employed worker. WHAT? Maybe, just maybe could this be why some find employment and others linger?

Readers: Does any of this surprise you? Do me a favor, right-click on the picture and link in a new window to see the graph yourself. Read the accompanying article and then come back and comment on any additional observations you have.

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6 comments to Money & Time, How Others Waste It

  • That chart is cool! It begins to look like some kind of monster if you take a Rochak test kind of a look at it, but I enjoyed playing with it just the same. I went to the women’s portion and started running along the times. All I can say is most women, me included, rarely do on thing at a time, so while I am eating and drinking, I am usually also doing household activities and/or work and/or educating and/or socializing and/or shopping and/or traveling, phone calls and sports. As we’ve established previously, I am a poster child for ADD. I’m not sure how productive this is, however, since I don’t think a lack of focus is necessarily a plus. Women are designed for multi-tasking though, I believe, it’s just that my particular version of multi-tasking starts out on steroids and frequently ends up in burn-out. I think that’s when the TV comes to life.
    .-= Tracy´s last blog ..Eco Fraud Friday: Energy, Food, Water =-.

  • I found it funny clicking between the 15-24 age group then the next 25-? and looking at how education just drops completely off.

    Lifelong learning isn’t really a big thing in America… TV watching however…
    .-= Ryan @ Planting Dollars´s last blog ..Seeds of Knowledge 2.5.10 =-.

  • I can’t believe someone actually collected all that information and graphed it. Which one of those colors was going to the bathroom again?

    Awesome idea for a post. Thanks, Coach!
    .-= David @ MBA briefs´s last blog ..5 Ways to be happier – guaranteed =-.

  • I’ve seen this chart, but didn’t really go deeply into it until now. I didn’t realize that if you click in the chart, it provides further details about the activity. I did know about the different charts per different demographic groups on the right side.

    Thanks for opening my eyes to this awesome chart! I’ll bookmarking this it for sure! I enjoy statistics like this!

    I was amazed at the percentage of time the 65+ crowd watches TV. It makes sense of course, but still it’s eye opening to see. All the more reason to try to get into the best shape as possible, and to avoid making “watching TV” a habit!
    .-= Money Reasons´s last blog ..Stop Waiting For Magical Moments To Happen =-.

  • The LeanLifeCoach

    @Tracy – I understand the researchers tried to study a group of people with ADD but they couldn’t keep up!
    @Ryan – It is a shame how complacent some people get, isn’t it.
    @David – Seems to me there should have been a category for time spend filling out the survey.
    @Money Reasons – Agreed on the TV thing… I can’t imagine working so hard to get to retirement only to sit on my ass!

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