Time Tracking Statistics
Did you know that an average person spends about 13 hours per week just on emails? By the end of the year, this amounts to about 650 hours we spend just on managing our inbox. Here's exactly how much time on average we spend on everyday activities, from watching TV to answering emails.
Average life in numbers
A person with an average lifespan spends years on everyday, repetitive activities:
- Sleep - 26 years
- Trying to fall asleep - 7 years
- Time at work - 13 years
- Unpaid overtime - 1 year
- Watching TV - 8 years and 4 months
- Social Media - 3 years
- Eating - 4 years 6 months
- Holidays - 3 years and 1 month
- Exercising - 1 year and 4 months
- Socializing - 1 year and 3 days
This study tells us that we spend most of our time sleeping, and that the time we spend at work comes second. The worrying statistics is that we spend about 8 years and 4 months watching TV, despite these habits being detrimental for our brains.
In essence, average results show that we spend too much time on activities labeled as "time wasters" and "distractions", instead of allocating some of this time to exercising and socializing, which are actually beneficial for the brain.
Time Use Surveys
Various surveys have been conducted on the matter of how time is used, and the most comprehensive one is the yearly Bureau of Labor Statistics data, on the amount of time Americans spend on various activities:
- Sleeping: 8 hours 48 minutes
- Personal care activities: 47 minutes
- Eating and drinking: 1 hour 11 minutes
- Housework: 33 minutes
- Food preparation and cleaning up afterwards: 36 minutes
- Caring for the lawn and garden: 11 minutes
- Managing the household: 8 minutes
- Other Household activities: 21 minutes
- Buying consumer goods:21 minutes
- Time spent on care services: 5 minutes
- Other goods and services: 17 minutes
- Childcare: 24 minutes
- Helping other household members: 7 minutes
- Helping and caring for non household members: 11 minutes
- Working: 3 hours and 14 minutes
- Work-related activities: 22 minutes
- Educational activities: 29 minutes
- Socialization and communication: 39 minutes
- Watching television: 2 hours 46 minutes
- Sports, exercising and recreation: 17 minutes
- Other leisure and sport activities: 1 hour and 32 minutes
- Telephone calls, emails and regular mail: 9 minutes
- Other activities: 32 minutes
Americans use their 24 hours on various activities, but there is definitely room for improvements in the average daily schedule: more time could be allocated to work, educational activities, sport-related activities and socialization; and less time could be spent on watching TV, and everyday chores
For a better grasp at how you spend time on individual activities, and how you could manage your time better, here is a closer look at some of the more prominent sections of a typical day for an American in 2017:
Hours spent on sports and leisure activities
- In total - 5 hours 15 minutes
- On weekdays - 4 hours 43 minutes
- On weekends - 6 hours 28 minutes
- Employed people with children younger than 6 - 3 hours 18 minutes
- Employed people with no children younger than 18 - 4 hours 30 minutes
- In total - 2 hours 48 minutes
- On weekdays - 2 hours 30 minutes
- On weekends - 3 hours 23 minutes
Communication and socialization
- In total- about 39 minutes
- On weekends - 58 minutes
- On weekdays - 31 minute
Sports and recreation
- In total: 17 minutes
- On weekdays - 16 minutes
- Sports and recreation, on weekends - 21 minutes
- Reading for pleasure - 18 minutes
- Relaxing/thinking - 22 minutes
- Playing computer games and leisure computer time - 31 minutes
- Other leisure activities, including travel - 27 minutes
According to a different research, average adults in America spend about 2 hours and 51 minutes on their smartphones. And, on a global level, people everyday spend 135 minutes on social media.
Leisure time is great for relaxation and unwinding from work, but not all activities are equally beneficial.
TV time, time on phones, time spent on Social Media could all in most part be allocated to more beneficial leisure activities, such as reading, socialization, and playing computer games.
Time spent on good and services
Buying consumer goods
- In total: 21 minutes
- On weekdays: 18 minutes
- On weekends: 28 minutes
- In total: 5 minutes
- On weekdays: 6 minutes
- On weekends: 2 minutes
Other goods and services
- In total: 17 minutes
- On weekdays: 12 minutes
- On weekends: 26 minutes
In total, people spend a lot of time per day on various services and buying goods, although the best practice would be to allocate this time specifically to weekends, and save more time on weekdays for more profitable activities.
The amount of time employees spend working
Tracking employee work hours is vital if you want to bill your clients accurately, and comply to the DCAA Timekeeping requirements:
Working hours by country
Not all countries spend the same amount of hours working, and according to the data on working time by country, the selected countries hold the highest number of hours worked:
The time across countries various up to almost a 1000 hours between Mexico (1. in the world) and Germany (20. in the world), meaning people from different countries allocate time to work differently.
Hours spent working and on work-related activities in America
According to the American Time Use Survey of 2017, Americans spent the following hours per day working:
In total (both work, and work related activities)
- All week - 3 hours 35 minutes
- On weekdays - 4 hours 35 minutes
- On weekends - 1 hours 16 minutes
- In total - 3 hours and 14 minutes
- On weekdays - 4 hours 8 minutes
- On weekends - 1 hour 8 minutes
- In total - 22 minutes
- On weekdays - 26 minutes
- On weekends - 8 minutes
Telephone calls, emails and regular mail
- In total: 9 minutes
- On weekdays: 10 minutes
- On weekends: 7 minutes
The time people spent working based on their employment type
- Full-time: 8 hours 10 minutes
- Part-time: 5 hours 19 minutes
- People with one job: 7 hours 40 minutes
- People with multiple jobs: 7 hours 55 minutes
- People working for wages and salaries: 7 hours 40 minutes
- The self-employed: 6 hours 47 minutes
The time people spent working based on their occupation
- Managers, people working in business and finance: 7 hours 52 minutes
- People providing professional services: 7 hours 23 minutes
- Sales: 7 hours 13 minutes
- Administrative support: 7 hours 28 minutes
- Forestry, farming, fishing: 8 hours 32 minutes
- Construction, extraction: 8 hours 19 minutes
- Installation, repair and maintenance: 8 hours 15 minutes
- Production: 8 hours 6 minutes
Time spent on emails
According to one survey, people aren't the best at tracking the time they spend on emails:
- About 40% never track the time they spend reading emails and answering them.
- Only about 33% state they often, or always track this time
As a consequence, about 50 million hours spent on emails are never recorded.
This is problematic considering that a lot of companies use timesheets to bill clients, which means revenues are lost due to poor email time tracking practices.
This is especially true for people who work in professional services - not tracking time they spend on emails leads to no documentation on hours that should be billable.
So about 40% don't track the time they spend on emails - how much time do they actually spend on inbox management?
Although it may seem like we spend more time on emails, the numbers are actually 28% of our work time - this includes reading emails, writing them, and responding to them.
In terms of individual days, this doesn't seem like much, but, according to one research, we spend 650 hours on emails every year, and 13 hours every week, on average.
Time spent on meetings
Time spent on meetings is somewhat better tracked, but still far from having no faults: 63% always and often track their meeting time. However, as much as 27.1% never or rarely track meeting time.
According to the Verizon study, the number of hours Americans spend on meetings per month is:
- About 53 hours and 24 minutes for attending the meeting in person
- About 16 hours and 51 minutes for audio conferences
- About 16 hours and 29 minutes for video conferences
Also, one research states that within a week:
- Executives spend about 23 hours on meetings
- Other workers spend about 6 hours
The number has grown in the last 50 years, and it doesn't even include all the unscheduled, "casual" meetings.
Importance of tracking work time
Tracking the exact time you spend at work, no matter the profession and type of employment, gives you data:
- To measure how productive you really are
- To calculate your billable hours
- To calculate payroll
- To comply with the FLSA and DCAA requirements
In Clockify, you can get track time using the work hours timer, for tracking time on work activities in real time.
Or, you can use the timesheet and log hours manually at the end of each day. It's important that you fill out the sheets regularly, while the information is still fresh in your mind.