Over The Past 150 Years, There Has Been A Profound Shift In What Humans Do With Their Time

Most human beings get about 75 years of existence.

That’s about 3,900 weeks. Or 27,000 days. Or 648,000 hours.

We spend about a third of those hours sleeping, a number that hasn’t changed much over the centuries.

What has changed is what we do with the remaining time.

As the following two charts show, over the past 150 years, thanks to the irrepressible inventiveness and ingenuity of the human animal, we have engineered a profound shift in what we do with our waking hours.

There are 168 hours in a week.

56 of those hours go to sleeping, which leaves 112 hours for everything else.

150 years ago, we spent about 70 of those 112 hours working.

Thanks to the remarkable productivity enhancements we have made over the past 150 years, the average workweek in most countries has dropped by about 30 hours:

This remarkable drop in working hours has freed up a lot of extra time.

So what do we humans do with all the extra hours our miraculous progress and productivity enhancements have allowed us to create for ourselves?

We spend them watching television.

According to recent figures, the average human spends about 4 hours a day, or 28 hours a week, watching television.

So if you want to summarize the net result of human progress over the past 150 years, you can think about it this way: We figured out how to save ourselves ~30 hours of work per week, and we use them to watch TV.

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