Last Updated Jun 2, 2011 3:19 PM EDT
Every year the Bureau of Labor Statistics issues this report that details how Americans over the age of 15 spend their time. For a productivity and time-efficiency nut like me, this is mouth-watering stuff -- barely surpassing my delight of learning how President Obama spends his time.
If you're unemployed (nearly 1 in 10 are in the U.S.), you have the unique opportunity of not having "the other 8 hours," but the other 16 hours! So what do you do with this gift? How do you spend your time (other than reading superb articles like this one online)? The data shows you completely and utterly blow it.
In so many areas the unemployed mismanage their time:
- Looking for work. Big shocker here . . . only 1 in 6 actually look for work. On average, the unemployed spend a meager 30 minutes a day looking for a job.
- Sleep. With no need for an alarm clock, they sleep an extra hour a day.
- Housework and yard work. The unemployed waste, uh, I mean do twice as much house/yard work as their employed counterparts -- two hours per day.
- TV/Movies. They watch an extra 70 minutes of TV/movies per day. For example, at 10:00am, the unemployed are twice as likely to be watching TV as the employed.
- Socializing. They spend an extra 30 minutes a day socializing and three times as much time talking on the phone.
- Shopping. Even though they have less income, the unemployed shop an extra six minutes a day.
- Volunteering. Does extra time mean more time to help others? Survey says . . . nope. Employed? Unemployed? Doesn't matter. Both camps spend the same amount of time volunteering.
- Education. Finally some encouraging news. The unemployed spend five times as much time learning (one hour and five minutes versus just 19 minutes).
Remember, these are averages. Maybe you don't blow an extra three hours a day sleeping, watching TV, and cleaning the house, but as a country, that's exactly what the unemployed do each and every day.
So, are the unemployed lazy? The data shows that they are trying to fill a void but they are not doing it wisely. Without the structure of work, it's easy to let a few minutes here and there slip by. To prevent this, your goal should be to create structure in your day. Schedule your day and your week in advance. Fill your "work" hours with activities and meetings. Schedule time to read, boost your skills, take a course, write a book, network, become a better public speaker, exercise, start a business, create something, etc. Do something that will get you closer to your goals.
Just because you are unemployed doesn't mean you shouldn't work.
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