I’ve never seen Frozen. I don’t know the tune or lyrics to Let It Go, and I don’t know whether Elsa or another character sings it.
I’ve never seen an episode of Mad Men, although I know Don Draper is in it.
I’ve never seen Breaking Bad, although I know who Walter White is and I know how the series ends.
I’ve never seen Lost, although I know not to bother because people hated the ending.
I’ve never seen Orange is the New Black or House of Cards or Supernatural or Sherlock and I haven’t seen an episode of Dr. Who since 1983.
I’ve never played Skyrim, Angry Birds, or Candy Crush either, but that’s a different topic.
The Nielsen report of 2014 shows that adults aged 35-49 watch an average of 33 hours, 40 minutes of television every week. I’m 39 and my husband just turned 47. Clearly we are doing something wrong, because we watch zero hours. (What we are doing wrong is continuing to pay for Netflix, because in any given month we probably haven’t used it once).
Here is the chart, for comparison:
2-11: 24 hours, 16 minutes.
12-17: 20 hours, 41 minutes.
18-24: 22 hours, 27 minutes.
25-34: 27 hours, 36 minutes.
35-49: 33 hours, 40 minutes.
50-64: 43 hours, 56 minutes.
65-plus: 50 hours, 34 minutes.
It shows that with every decade we age, we add significantly more TV viewing to our schedules. At our age, that’s enough hours to start earning benefits on the job. By 50, we should be earning overtime! In fact, we probably should be paid to watch TV because the purpose of it is to get us to sit still, watch advertisements, and buy things.
What can be done with an extra 34 hours a week? How do we possibly fill all those empty hours without the cold blue glow of TV?
Sleep. I sleep 8 hours a night. My husband gets more like 7, but he naps most afternoons while I read a book.
Exercise. Last year I trained for a marathon. It took a maximum of 8 hours a week, including stretching.
Clean the house. I use a time-tracking app, so I know I spend an average of 45 minutes a day, 5 days a week doing housework. That includes dishes, laundry, and deep cleaning like washing the couch cushion covers and cutting hair out of the vacuum. So that’s 3.75 hours per week.
Cook meals from scratch. We take turns cooking and cleaning up, and go out one night a week. According to my time tracker, I’ve spent a total of 16 hours, 37 minutes cooking so far this year. That’s about 90 minutes a week, or about 30 minutes per day, 3 days per week.
Learn a foreign language. Right now I’m studying German, Spanish, French, Russian, Italian, and Japanese. I alternate days and I spend anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes each on lessons. (I use the Babbel app and some days I only review flash cards). That’s usually 30-60 minutes a day. My husband is studying Spanish. According to my time tracker, I have spent about twice as much time this year on language study as I have on cooking.
Write a book. That’s where the majority of my work time goes. Most people could find 1-2 hours a day to write.
Play a musical instrument. I’m learning the ukulele and it’s amazing how quickly you can progress in 20-30 minute sessions.
Go to the park. We’ve been having a picnic lunch on Sundays. We bring the dog and walk around the duck pond, which is just over a mile. So that’s about 90 minutes total.
8 hours marathon training + 4 hours housework + 90 minutes cooking healthy meals + 3 hours foreign languages + 1 hour playing an instrument + 90 minutes having a picnic = 19 hours.
Hmm. That leaves a lot of time unaccounted for. What do we do with the rest of our time? We usually go to a movie every weekend, we spend Saturday mornings at Starbucks having our status meeting, and there’s about half an hour for grocery shopping. Most of the rest of our free time goes to talking, playing with our pets, reading, working on projects, and hanging out on Facebook.
Where does your time go?
I've been working with chronic disorganization, squalor, and hoarding for over 20 years. I'm also a marathon runner who was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and thyroid disease 17 years ago.