Here’s Why It Feels Like You Have Zero Free Time


If you’ve ever wondered why you have ‘no free time,’ this TED speaker can explain where we’re going wrong. 

Some days it feels like there just aren’t enough hours to do everything you need to, let alone do anything fun on top of that – although there’s always time for a swift pint after work.

If you manage to get out of bed, go to work and come home again, then that’s a big achievement in my books and anything extra is a huge bonus.

It does seem there could be ways to better make use of our time though – so you could slip in a full pint and not just a half – and it looks like it’s all down to our phones.

As part of the 2017 TED conference, speaker and NYU psychologist Adam Atler revealed his tips to increase your free time, because apparently we’re just not making the most of it.

For some reason – and perhaps it’s because I am an adult and need to accept my day doesn’t consist of playing with toys anymore – but it feels like we have less free time than ever before.


However, according to Adam’s graphs, this is clearly not true, in fact it’s the polar opposite and instead, we have more free time than we did 10 years ago.

Adam used data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as well as the app Moment – which tracks phone use – to display how much time we actually spend on life’s necessities, compared with our perceived ‘minimal’ free time.

The charts show the amount of time a person spends or spent in a day doing vital things like eating and sleeping, as well as going to work for the years 2007, 2015 and 2017.


Looking at the chart though, it seems how we’ve spent our free time over a decade has changed hugely.

The chart shows in 2007, our phones and devices took up a fraction of our free time, but now that red bar has crept across, meaning nearly all of our precious few hours are spent staring at a screen.

Alter describes the teeny yellow and white slivers as ‘where the magic happens,’ which is pretty worrying considering the slice of our day-to-day pie, in which we are free to do our own thing is so tiny.


He adds:

That’s where your humanity lives, and right now it’s in a very small box.

The psychologist encouraged people to put down their phones, iPads, laptops and any other screen-based devices they have, in favour of pursuing their own needs, hobbies and activities required for relaxation and fulfilment.

He explained how they’re good for connecting people, but not so hot when they create feelings of isolation and distract you from doing something more productive.

Instead, he encourages us all to maintain a better balance with technology and if that means blocking social media apps on your phone or stopping yourself from using certain devices completely, then so be it.

He’s kind of brought it all home how much time we all spend just staring at our screens and it’s pretty disturbing…