We all know there’s no such thing as “normal,” but I thought it would be interesting to compare myself to the average. While I knew my situation was not typical, I wondered what “typical” looked like. That was the origin of the “You Vs. Typical Full-Time Worker Report” in the Return On You worksheets.
Here are some details on the stats and sources I used to generate the profile of the “typical” worker:
Work: The richest source of information about the way Americans spend there time is the Bureau of Labor Statistics Annual Time Use Survey. The BLS estimates the typical American workweek at 38.5 hours.
Commute Times: According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Americans travel an average of 25.4 minutes to get to work each day. Presumably, they travel the same amount of time to return home and, if working full-time, make this 50.8-minute round-trip five days per week, for an average 4.25 hours per week spent commuting to and from work. (If you want to have some fun and look up your commute compared to your neighbors’, check out this interactive commute time map.)
Sleep: The Average American sleeps about 7.7 hours per night, or 53.9 hours per week, according to the BLS Time Use survey. (A recent Gallup poll estimates e get an hour less than that each night)
Personal Hygiene, Maintenance and Grooming: Essentially, how much time you spend in the bathroom, grooming and getting ready for your day and then again for bed. There is no formal study on this, but my Internet searches turned up averages between 30 minutes and 90 minutes per day. For purposes of typical, I am calling it one hour per day, which I must say, feels low to me based on anecdotal information other individuals have shared with me.
SOL: The BLS does not technically have a category for Sh*t of Life, however they do track household chores and caring for others, activities that vary widely by gender and age. I’ve done my own math to average those numbers and conclude with an SOL average of 2.55 hours per day, which based on my own time tracking and conversations with others seems fairly accurate.
When I compare myself to typical, I feel a little bit better. I sleep less and have more SOL than the average person, but I also have considerably more discretionary time and that makes all the difference in the world to me.
How do you net out?