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Americans Are (Finally) Making More Time For Themselves

Americans are known for being such workaholics that they don’t even think of using all of their paid vacation days—because God forbid anyone seem like less of a team player for a mental health day, right? But the tides seem to finally be turning, with a new study suggesting that Americans are using more of their time in a day on their own interests.

New research says that the average American puts in a 7.8 hour workday (not including their commute). Women carve out about 5.1 hours a day for “leisure time” (still less than men’s 5.8 hours), with both sexes reporting about 2.8 hours a day devoted to TV. (This doesn’t quite include people who watch TV while doing other things, like folding laundry, cooking dinner, checking email or something.) We’re also sleeping more, up to 8.8 hours a day from 8.6 hours in 2008—which may explain why we have so much more energy to tackle everything else we’ve got on our plates everyday.

What we’ve spent less time on? Emailing and talking on the phone, which likely frees up a few precious minutes of sleep, tennis lesson or The Walking Dead time. Plenty of us also wasted less time commuting, with 23 percent of us working some or all days from home, an uptick from 2008′s 21 percent of telecommuters. Again, that adds up to more leisure time for us all, in addition to more multitasking, because you can do laundry and take a conference call at the same time, so if you don’t think you have enough hours in a day, ask your boss if you can work from home once or twice a week.

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