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The UK’s lost time - How have we spent our days in 2020?

The UK’s lost time - How have we spent our days in 2020?

How long have you spent sleeping, watching TV and working in a year that’s been anything but normal?

Spoiler alert: You spent 128 days in bed.

Feel like you don’t know where the time has gone this year? 2020 has been full of continuous disruption, with two lockdowns, the move to working from home, and a completely altered way of life. It’s no surprise that how we’ve been spending our time this year has changed significantly.

At WatchPilot, we have analysed government data collected from the first half of 2020, along with other external sources, to estimate what exactly we’ve been doing as a nation this year, and how life has changed for us under lockdown rules. Here’s what we found:

By the end of 2020, we estimate that we will have spent:

1 day travelling and using transport
1 day on gardening and DIY
4 days on the toilet
9 days exercising
23 days doing household work such as cleaning and cooking
29 days on personal care - including eating, drinking and bathing
61 days spent on entertainment and socialising
100 days working
128 days resting and sleeping
10 days… staring into space?

1. We’ve spent more than triple the time on the toilet than we did travelling.

Data we collected from ONS found that, on average, we spent 4.2 minutes a day travelling, a total of 1.1 days this year. By the end of 2020, we will have spent over three times that on the toilet - 3.6 days to be exact.

This isn’t surprising given that lockdown restrictions have meant the majority of us are confined to our homes. Bathrooms are also a safe haven, a place for peace and quiet for many, away from the noisy family life.

2. 61 days spent watching TV, socialising and scrolling through social

Lockdown did give us Tiger King, Houseparty, Zoom quizzes and the rise of TikTok, so it’s no wonder we estimate that by the end of the year we will have spent, on average, a total of 60.9 days scrolling through social media, streaming videos, watching TV, texting and FaceTiming friends and family.

3. We’ve spent more than one day gardening and DIY-ing

We’ve seen an influx of people rushing to make home improvements and spruce up their gardens to get ready for a long period of time stuck indoors. And time spent gardening and doing DIY jobs has continued to increase, with DIY and garden centres now remaining open during the second lockdown, as ‘essential’ stores. As such, by the end of 2020 the average Brit will have spent 2,013 minutes, or 1.4 days, doing gardening and DIY.

4. The Big Sleep: We slept for 128 days in total - equivalent to August 17th right through to December 23rd

The average Brit slept for 503.5 minutes a day this year - or 128 days in total.
Given that this year a huge number of the population has been furloughed, a large majority of us are working from home and the fact that as a general population we have nothing to fill our time, it’s no surprise that regular lie-ins and sleeping in have become the norm.

5. Exercise was a fan favourite - 8.8 days this year

Brits spent up to an hour longer exercising per week than in previous years. With the likes of Joe Wicks playing PE teacher to the nation every morning, and many of us cherishing our ‘hour a day of exercise’, Brits appear to have become more physically active this year.

6. We spent almost a month doing household chores

Have you found yourself looking around your house more, finding things to clean? You’re not alone - we have spent an average of 91.8 minutes a day cleaning and cooking this year. With the explosion of banana bread, we can’t say we’re surprised...

7. But, we’ve also ‘lost’ almost 10 days...

Interestingly, when looking at the data, we noticed that almost 10 days of data was ‘missing’ and unaccounted for, meaning activities didn’t fit into the categories specified by the ONS. If we look at the current life expectancy for the UK at 81.1 years, over the course of our lives, we’ll ‘lose’ a huge 720 days in total - is that 2 whole years we’re spending simply staring into space?

Methodology
This data was taken from the below ONS data and Initial Hygiene Services research.

The full data set is available upon request.