Time Well Spent

Balance between Life And Work on seesaw.

How do people in different countries spend the 24 hours allotted to us each day?  A recent survey divided a day’s activities between sleep, work, eating, and leisure time. The survey found some surprising differences. 


Among the countries studied, South Koreans sleep the least—averaging 7 hours and 51 minutes a day.  Americans sleep an average of 8 hours and 48 minutes, while the Chinese sleep a world-leading 9 hours and 2 minutes.


There are some remarkable differences in the time spent on paid work.  If you factor in vacations, holidays, and weekends (times when many people do no paid work at all), China’s workers average 5.25 hours per day.  This average is just ahead of the Mexicans who work an average of just over 5 hours a day. 

Leisure Time:

Italians, on the other end of the spectrum, take copious holidays, which brings their average paid work time spent down to just 2.5 hours averaged over the course of a year.  It may not be surprising that Italians are among the world leaders in leisure time, with an average of 5.4 hours a day.  However, they are just behind Norwegians and Greeks who average roughly 6 hours a day. 


Americans, meanwhile, lead the world in the least amount of time spent eating and drinking (just over an hour a day).  The French (surprise!) lead this category by spending the most time on their meals, at more than two hours a day.

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