Managing Your Time: What Would You Do With An Extra Hour A Day?

“I’d try to keep a balance, as I try to do with my 24 hours now. So with one more hour, I’d work half an hour more, and spend the other 30 minutes working out, or reading, or having a drink with friends.” — Rosa Garriga Mora, poll respondent, Spain.

“Work out, read some books, take some dancing classes with my daughter… rest sometimes…one hour more per day would positively impact my life!” — Yurila Ramos, poll respondent, Venezuela

“Going on experience, I would spend it trying to solve annoying software bugs that are only happening because the computers are all out to get me.” — Tarot Atkinson, poll respondent, U.K.

What would you do with an extra hour a day?

That’s a question I posed in a LinkedIn poll this past July, and as with my earlier poll (in which I asked voters about the time of day they felt most productive), I found the responses to be rather fascinating. This poll attracted 137 votes by the time it closed, as well as 24 unique comments. The comments were a bit more numerous than before, probably because I asked the respondents who replied “Other” to leave their responses in the Comments section. Interestingly, only 13 of the 21 people who voted “Other” did leave a comment; eight of the remaining 11 commenters voted for other options, and three apparently didn’t vote at all, but wanted their voices to be heard. They bring the total number of poll respondents to 140.

Before we move on to the breakdown by response, let’s take a quick look at the demographics. A total of 118 voters (plus the three non-voters) provided their genders, while the other 19 voters (about 14% of the total this time) did not. This poll leaned a bit more heavily toward males than the last, with 71 men responding as opposed to 47 women. One of the non-voters was female, the other two male, so the gender breakdown is roughly 60% men to 40% women among those who provided the relevant data. Slightly over half the voters were business owners, managers, and high-level executives.

The age range was skewed a bit higher this time, with all the categories attracting approximately equal numbers: 22 respondents were aged 18-29, 21 fell into the 30-36 age range, 23 were aged 37-44, and 27 reported that they were over 45. The other 50 (including the non-voters) preferred not to say. Geographic information was available only for the commenters, but they were literally all over the globe. Ten were from the U.S.; four from the U.K.; two from India; and one each hailed from the Caribbean Nations, Malaysia, the Netherlands, Pakistan, the Russian Federation, Spain, Switzerland, and Venezuela.

Of the five possible choices in the poll, the one that attracted the most votes was “Leisure, time with family and friends,” a choice I approve of most heartily. It took 40% of the vote (N = 55), almost twice as much as the second most common answer, “Work out, go to the gym” (22%, N=30), which I think is also a very good choice. “Sleep” and “Other” each pulled down 15% of the vote (N = 21 each), with only 10 people (7% of the total) opting for more work.

Men outnumbered women in all categories except working out, where women had a slight edge in absolute numbers (11 men vs. 14 women). However, a closer look at the percentages reveals that women were actually twice as likely as men to opt for working out: 15% for men vs. 30% for women. In fact, the only categories in which men outscored women percentage-wise were leisure time and working. Men were half again more likely to choose to rest (45% vs. 30%) and somewhat more likely to look for more work (10% vs. 6%).

The age breakdowns within individual categories were interesting. They were largely the same in the work, sleep, and other categories, though people in the low and high ranges (18-29, and 45+) were slightly more likely to choose sleep than those in other age ranges. Those groups (ages 30-36 and 37-44) were more likely to vote for working out, though. Older people were more likely to vote for leisure (N = 13 for the 45+ crowd). However, keep in mind that the total number of people in each category was quite small, and therefore the age range breakdowns might not be statistically significant.

As for seniority, non-managers voted to work out and sleep somewhat more than managers, owners, and C-suite execs, but again, the numbers in those categories were low enough that demographics could be swayed by just a few votes. Otherwise, the breakdown between managers and non-managers was roughly equal in the remaining categories, though there was some minor variation.

The “Other” category yielded some intriguing data. Of the 21 people who chose this answer in the poll, 18 provided their genders (10 men, eight women); so did the two non-voters who made their choices clear on this point (both male). A total of 15 of these individuals expanded on their answers in the Comments. Some said they preferred to maintain a balance of all the things they were already doing, spreading the extra hour over various categories, while others wanted to read more, write more, increase their volunteer efforts, take dancing and arts classes, learn a foreign language, go for walks, meditate, or otherwise unwind. Two preferred to code and debug software.

I’d like to thank all the participants in this poll for a truly revealing experience. While there were a few surprises, I was happy to see that most people would elect to take care of themselves more if they had just a little more time in the day. If you weren’t able to take part in this poll yourself, I’d still like to hear what you have to say. How would you spend an extra hour a day? Email me and let me know!

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