by michela catalano design studio

10 interesting facts about how we actually spend our time

Mary Romas Mary Romas
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My, how time flies! In-between eating, sleeping, and working, there’s quite a lot to do – and not always enough time to do it. Speaking of time, have you ever wondered just how we spend ours? And how it differs between men and women?

Sipping on tea? Jogging in the park? Just how do the Brits fill up their time? And more interesting, how does this compare with the rest of the world?  

How much do the French sleep? Do the Spanish love to party at home? Which population exercises the most? And which country works the hardest?


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On average, we work for 7 years of our lives – no wonder we’re so tired all the time! 
The Japanese work more than anybody else, tallying up an average of 9.5 years in a lifetime! And who takes it the easiest? The Dutch, who only work about 6 years in their lives. 

Looking good! British people spend about 1.6 years of their lives washing & dressing themselves. And the country that gussies up the most? Turkey, with a whopping 5.6 years! 

The average life expectancy in the UK? 81 years. Watch that gut! In a lifetime, the average Brit spends 5 months working out. And a peaceful 1.3 years in front of the TV.! 

DID YOU KNOW: In a lifetime, Turks spend nearly double the amount of years in the kitchen as Germans – 2.6 vs. 1.4 years. 

Who loves to party the most? The UK, as they dedicate 7 months of their lives to socialising at home. The Spanish seem to be a bit shy: only 5 months!

Bonne nuit! In addition to dishing up great cuisine, the French also dream the most, sleeping about 18 years of their lives. And those who snooze the least? The Japanese, who only get about 16 years of shuteye in a lifetime (too busy working, hey?)

Who works out the most? The Dutch and Germans both dedicate about 6 months in a lifetime to sports and exercising.



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Who works out the least? The Turks, who spend about 3 months of their lives on exercise.

Who munches the most? While we spend an average of 2.6 years of our working lives eating at home (or outside), the Japanese take the cake – 3.9 years in a lifetime! And who eats the least? The Brazilians, who only munch for 2.1 years.

Overtime? People dedicate around 4 months in a lifetime to working at home. For the Polish it’s a lot more: 1 year. And a lot less for the Koreans and Italians: 1 month.

Siestas: The average Spanish man sleeps about 17.6 years in his lifetime – more than his Korean neighbour, who only dozes for 16.2 years.

Who loves a clean house more? The Italians, who spend 2.6 years of their lives on housework. This beats the Japanese and Brazilians, who clean for only 1.8 years.

Who outlives whom? The Japanese, on average, age up to 84 years (must be all the saké). Turks and Brazilians only make it to about 75.



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Bon appétit! UK men spend approximately 1 year of their lives on cooking. Not bad compared to Korean men, who clock in at only 2 months per lifetime! 

When it comes to grooming, UK and French guys take it the easiest – 1.4 years.

Work Work Work – the amount of years UK men spend at the office in their lives is 8.5 years. For the women it’s about 5.1 years.  

Mixing and mingling. When it comes to socialising, German men beat their Spanish and Italian counterparts: 8 months vs. 3 months (Spanish) and 4 months (Italians).

Dutch guys love cooking! On average, they spend 1.1 years of their lives in the kitchen. And it seems Turkish men hate it – only 2.5 months.



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Sweet dreams. In the UK, women sleep more than men, catching about 17.6 years of snoozing in their lives, compared to 17.2 for the lads.

Who’s lazy now? UK women spend more time on house- and garden work than men, 2.52 years compared to 1.57.

Take it easy! UK women spend about 1.2 years in a lifetime on leisure activities like reading and watching TV.  

DID YOU KNOW: Brazilian and French women spend about equal amounts of years working out: only 2 months.

Zzzzz: The average Dutch woman will sleep for 18 years in her lifetime, a lot more than the average Japanese woman, who will only rest for 15.7 years.  

Party time! German women socialise about 1.16 years of their lives (including house parties and visiting friends), compared to 6 months for UK women.

Now we’re cooking! The average Polish woman spends about 3.8 years of her life in the kitchen. And the average German woman? Only 2.2 years.


The study represents the daily activities of average working adults between 18—64 years in 11 countries. (Source: Fisher, K. & Robinson, J. (2010). Daily Life in 23 Countries. Social Indicators Research)


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