Post by Jenny
Happy Labor Day, the holiday which celebrates the American worker with a day off courtesy of Uncle Sam. Unfortunately, not everyone can take advantage. The holiday was first proposed in 1882, before convenience stores, all-night diners, and fully-staffed Emergency Rooms. If you are spending your Labor Day laboring, you have my thanks. Every person who works nights, weekends, and holidays certainly makes life easier for the rest of us.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics American Time Use Survey, the average American will spend 1.37 hours today (being a weekend/holiday) eating and drinking, 2.12 hours doing household activities, and 10.08 hours engaged in personal care activities. (That last one sounded impossible to me—how much tooth brushing would that require?—until I read that it includes time spent sleeping.)
A recent post on the NPR Planet Money blog entitled “What Americans Actually Do All Day Long, In 2 Graphics” gives a great visual of these statistics. The first graphic shows colored circles, representing average time spent, arranged in decreasing size along a graceful curve. The largest of the circles is Working and Commuting (9 hours, 12 minutes, 36 seconds). The smallest is Talking to People on the Phone, Etc. (5 minutes, 24 seconds). The second graphic breaks down two of the categories into smaller subcategories. Leisure, for example, predictably includes reading, playing sports, and watching TV.
This got me thinking: if I were to do this with my average day, what would my personal graphic look like? In particular, how big would my writing-time circle be? Less than sleeping (7 hours, 39 minutes) but hopefully more than leisure (2 hours, 52 minutes, 48 seconds). Though on some days, I’d be lucky to beat the 9 minutes of time spent doing the mysterious “Other.” And how would my writing time break down? Into writing, sure, but also reading, researching, blogging, querying. To be honest, it would also have to include trips to the kitchen for something crunchy, spinning in my chair, and talking to my dog. (Who, by the way, spends approximately 21 hours a day sleeping)
Whatever you’re doing today, I hope your writing circle is as big as you want it to be.
How much writing time do you try to fit into an average day?