– How it adds up.

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I was recently stopped at a traffic light on legendary US19 here in Palm Harbor during rush hour. For those of you unfamiliar with US19, it is the main artery running north-south in our county (Pinellas). There are three lanes on each side and traffic volume can be considerable. If you get caught in rush hour traffic, you can be hung-up for quite some time. It can also be quite dangerous; the bumper sticker, “Pray for Me, I drive on US19,” pretty much sums it up. There are traffic lights spread approximately three miles apart, which means there is a lot of stop-and-go traffic. So much so, I started to wonder how much time we waste waiting in traffic. To learn the answer, I checked various sources on the Internet and learned more than what I was originally looking for, for example:

WAITING – on the average, we spend 45 to 62 minutes daily. This includes waiting in traffic, in lines, or for service.

COMMUTING – According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, the national average daily amount of time we spend commuting to work is 24.3 minutes. Actually, I thought this was surprisingly low.

EATING – According to the USDA, Americans spend 67 minutes eating and drinking during meal times, but we also spend an additional 23.5 minutes eating while doing something else, and an additional 63 minutes drinking beverages while doing something else, e.g., coffee/tea breaks. In total, 153.5 minutes.

BATHROOM – we average 57 minutes in the bathroom each day, either relieving or grooming ourselves. Women tend to spend more time than men in the powder room, but that is immaterial for the purposes of this article.

TELEVISION – a 2011 report by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, indicated Americans spend a staggering 2.7 hours watching TV each day.

LEISURE AND SOCIALIZATION – several reports indicate we spend 100 minutes on other recreational activities, excluding television.

SLEEPING – most reports still indicate we spend eight hours each day sleeping. Some reports have it a little higher, but I tend to believe it is less than this. Nonetheless, eight hours appears to be the average.

So, let’s add it up for the typical work day. I’ll round off the numbers to the nearest half hour:



This leaves us with just seven hours to pursue our labors which doesn’t seem like much when you compare it to everything else. It also makes you wonder if we’re truly earning our keep which is a bit disheartening.

Then there is the matter of how much time we spend on these activities in a lifetime. If I were to use just 50 years as an average, we would find the following number of DAYS spent:

760.4 – WAITING (2 years) 380.2 – COMMUTING (1 year) 1901.0 – EATING (5.2 years) 760.4 – BATHROOM (2 years) 1901.0 – TELEVISION (5.2 years) 1140.6 – LEISURE AND SOCIALIZATION (3.1 years)

6083.3 – SLEEPING (16.6 years)

Please remember, these numbers are based on averages and doesn’t take into account such things as vacations, disabilities, unemployment, etc.

As amusing as these numbers are, they should make us cognizant of whether we are wasting our time or not.

See what happens when you leave me stuck at a red light on US19?

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at [email protected]

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Copyright © 2012 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  THE LANGUAGE OF SYSTEMS – And, No, it is not C++, Java, SQL, or any other programming language.

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, (12:30-3:00pm).

Also look for Tim’s postings in the Palm Harbor Patch, The Gentlemen’s Association, and throughout the Internet.

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