Americans Have No Concept of Time

The typical person who reported having worked 40 hours, for example, actually worked closer to 37. The report found that “The greater the estimate, the greater the overestimate”; people who said they worked 75 hours actually worked closer to 50 hours. (That’s an overestimate of 25 hours, or 50 percent!) At the other end of the spectrum, people who worked relatively few hours (under around 25) actually ended to underestimate their hours.

Researchers asked people to estimate how many hours a week they worked, and then to keep a “time diary” tracking all their activities. It comes to no surprise that the hours didn’t match up, and that people have a tendency to exaggerate how many hours they work each week. The same thing happened when people estimated how much time they spent doing housework.

This is probably because sometimes it feels like you’re working 75 hours a week, when you’re really working 50, well, because 50 hours is still more than the average full-time job. Also, I think we count the time we are “at work” instead of “actually working.” I mean, sometimes I sit and stare out the office window, and think about what I’m going to write about next, or what I’m going to have for lunch, and because I’m at the office, it just feels like I’m working. Truthfully, I feel like I am working all the time! Maybe it’s just not as bad as I think it is.



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