How do you spend your time?

Time management is not just for the workplace. How do you spend your time?

A recent study of the Canadian Index of WellBeing has some disturbing results. The trends that have been observed include:

How we are spending our time

  • There are fewer Canadians working long hours. there has been an increase in the amount working non-standard hours.
  • More people are feeling that there is a ‘time crunch’.
  • There are more Canadians, especially women, providing care to seniors.
  • The percentage has not changed for children and adolescents participating in organized, extracurricular activities.
  • The amount of time spent by adolescents watching TV, playing video games and spending time on the computer continue to exceed the recommended amount. There is a significant drop in the percentage of adolescents having meals at home with the parents.
  • A positive note is that the percentage of parents reading to pre-school children has remained stable.
  • Retired adults 65 years-old and over continue to be involved in leisure activities.
  • The number of seniors who volunteer has increased substantially.


The issue of providing for seniors is affecting just about everyone. Some of the data in the report includes the following:

  • The proportion of working-age adults providing care to seniors grew from 17.4% in 1996 to 19.5% in 2006.
  • A higher proportion of females (22.5%) than males (16.3%) provided care to seniors and for more hours per week in 2006.
  • About one in four (27.8%) employed Canadians had responsibilities for the care of an elderly dependent and one in five (16.8%) had responsibility for both childcare and eldercare in 2009. A significant portion (25%) of caregiving to seniors was provided by fellow seniors.

The Workplace

Work has changed as well. There are more service industries staying open 24 hours a day/7 days a week. As well we are seeing other services such as banks and grocery stores staying open longer hours. This makes it more difficult for parents to obtain child care. As well there is eldercare to be considered. It is very unusual to see shops closed on Sunday, much less at Christmas or even Remembrance Day.

Leisure Time

Trends show that Canadians are playing less.

  • Canadians are spending less time on fun - the social leisure activities percentage has dropped.
  • There are less volunteers for culture and recreation organizations, especially among those 25-34 years of age.
  • Attendance is down at performing arts events and the number of performances available has dropped.
  • Our "participaction" has leveled off. Physical activity remains about the same.
  • The visits to National Parks and Historic Sites has never recovered from the drop seen after "911".
  • We're spending more money on recreation and culture.

A good work/life balance is something that we all strive to achieve. It doesn't appear that we have been successful. How do you spend your time? Do you work hard for things that you don't really need? Are you one of the "sandwich generation" - with children and a senior to care for?