Day in the Life

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If you studied how people across the world spend their time, here’s what an average day would look like.

Daily Time Spent, By Outcome graph

No matter what we do with our time, everyone has something in common — we all have 24 hours in a day. No more; no less. So, how do people spend those hours?

Researchers at McGill University in Montreal studied data from hundreds of datasets to discover how 8 billion people in 58 countries — about 60% of the world’s population — spend their time.

In the day of an average human — which includes children — 9 hours are spent sleeping; 6.5 hours are spent in leisure (hanging out, watching TV, socializing, participating in sports, etc.); 3.4 hours are spent making, cultivating and taking care of stuff; 2.6 hours are spent working; and 2.5 hours are spent on hygiene, grooming and taking care of health.

Study author Eric Galbraith says including children in the data does change the results. For example, few adults get a full nine hours of sleep while children can sleep for up to 11 hours. “It also includes time in bed and not sleeping, which can be as much as one hour per day,” he says. Data from wearable watches indicate adults typically sleep an average of 7.5 hours a day.

Time spent working is another head-scratcher. The study found that people spent 2.6 hours per day participating in the global economy. However, when children are removed from the data, researchers found adults work an average of 41 hours a week.