I’ve been thinking recently about how short life is and, on average, how much of it we spend working. I decided to do some calculations and see exactly how our time is used. If we consider that an average working week is 40 hours then that equates to 1,960 hours per year once annual holidays are deducted. That’s 22.4% of our lives, not including any overtime that we may be required to complete.
I took it a step further because I was intrigued how many hours that we spend working in an average lifetime. This is where things really add up. Allowing for school and tertiary education, let’s assume that the average person begins their working life at age 21 and retires at 65. That’s a career that spans 44 years. If we use the same 40-hour working week we arrive at a figure of 91,250 hours!
That’s a huge amount of time and accordingly it’s a huge proportion of our lives that is consumed in this way. The average human life expectancy in developed countries is 78 years, which means that we sleep for about 205, 000 hours. All our other chores and tasks have to be done in the remaining time which means that there’s often very little time left for relaxation and leisure.