Here's a thought. In most countries of the world, when a senior employee retires or moves on to another job...
Here’s a thought. In most countries of the world, when a senior employee retires or moves on to another job, the standard parting gift from the company is a watch. For a retiree, it’s an odd choice since he/she is going to have plenty of time on their hands, literally. For those moving to another assignment, it’s a timely acknowledgment that time is not being wasted. Either way, there is, quite unintentionally, a subliminal message in the choice of gift: the time we do spend every day doing things that are a waste. Some are unavoidable, but even so, it takes a huge chunk out of our lives. Each day gives us 24 hours, which sounds like a lot, but it actually works out to 86,400 seconds, which sounds very little. There are a number of surveys that have conducted research on how we spend our time and it makes for fascinating reading. According to the cumulative research, here’s what they found based on the average life span of 85 years.
* Business travellers spend 25 months of their lives waiting in airports, an average of three hours each month. Add another seven months spent
in going through airport security.
* We spend an average of 12 hours a month waiting for the CEO/boss to show up for a meeting. That figure doubles if it is a minister/politician.
* We spend 20 weeks of our lives on hold, listening to Muzak and waiting for someone on the other line to pick up the phone. This after punching in innumerable numbers and listening to useless information just so you can get to speak to a human being.
* We spend four years of our lives on the mobile phone, at work or at home.
* We go online for an average of 11 hours and 20 minutes a month, says Nielsen. Over a lifetime, that is 10,000 hours spent surfing the Net, or approximately five years online, Googling, emailing, downloading music, videos, apps or something else.
* We spend 11 years of our lives sitting in front of the television.
* We spend three years of our lives watching commercials and infomercials, which we have no interest in.
* We spend six whole months waiting at traffic lights. Which is the same as the time the average couple spends having sex!
* We spend seven years in the bathroom.
* Clean-shaven men will bristle at this statistic—they spend 3,000 hours shaving. Which explains why the more driven CEOs or leaders, like Narendra Modi, prefer beards.
* We spend 26 years of our lives asleep (unless you are an insomniac), says the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.
* We spend an average of 38,003 hours eating (not counting those on a perpetual diet).
* Forgot your keys again? Not to worry since the average person spends a year-and-a-half of his/her life looking for things they have lost.
* Six months is the time we spend in queues—at check-out counters, ticket counters, food counters, banks, government offices, getting into stadiums, theatres and concert halls.
* Men spend an average of 52 weeks, or a year, deciding what to wear. Women spend three times that, or three years of their lives.
* We spend seven months of our lives opening junk mail. Whether it is on our computers or via snail mail, that’s a criminal waste of time.
* Another criminal waste; spending 18 months on an average attending parties, social events, conferences and ceremonies out of obligation, not desire or any close relationship with the hosts.
* Another 250 days of our lives waiting for the fuel tank in the car to be filled at a petrol station.
* Applying make-up, having a shower and dressing up for a night out uses up a total of 3,276 hours in a woman’s lifetime, says a study by bodywash firm Skinbliss. Another study says that men spend, or waste, 14 hours a year waiting for their wives/girlfriends to get ready.
* The bad news. We spend six minutes a day laughing, but back in the 50s, we spent three times as long having a laugh. That suggests we are more miserable than ever before.
* Couples with active social lives spend an average of 15 months of their lives waiting for the first guest to show up.
* Even normally healthy people spend approximately five months on an average with a doctor/dentist/therapist or medical practitioner.
* The average couple spends five months of their adult existence deciding on what gift to give at birthdays, anniversaries and weddings.
* Smokers are shortening their lives by wasting more than five months on average going outdoors for a cigarette from offices, restaurant/bars or at a party.
* We are on sick leave for 13 months in our working lives.
* Here’s something to think about, we spend six weeks of our lives wondering when we are going to die and what happens after we are gone.
* Finally, we spend two months in our lives looking at lists like these.
The writer is Group Consulting Editor, Features & Special Projects, The Indian Express