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Poll finds ‘free time’ a rare commodity for most people

Busy, busy, busy. That’s how most people would describe their life. But have they really figured out how much free time they get? Most people might even over-estimate it, thinking they’re catching up on free time on the weekends. But a new survey finds that the average American adult logs just four hours and 26 minutes of time to themselves in a given week.

And if that amount seems high, you’re also in good company. Four out of 10 people surveyed said they get even less free time than that total. In short, people are not getting the rest or time for themselves they need to be healthy individuals.

The survey of 2,000 adults, commissioned by Kansas City-based tax preparation service H&R Block, also found that the little bit of free time leaves the average person with 14 undone items on their to-do lists — though one in five respondents says there’s at least 20 things to get done on their lists. Those lists include everything from running errands to paying the bills. The authors found that 60% of the participants are putting off basic administrative tasks like cleaning, going to the bank, or filing their taxes because they don’t have the time.

Nearly the same amount, 59% of participants, said keeping their lives organized with everything they have going on is simply a “big struggle.”

Among the tasks most commonly brushed aside by the study participants, cleaning topped the list, with 48% of adults postponing such chores. Another 40% admit they’ve put the brakes on car maintenance, while a third routinely push back plans to go shopping. More than a quarter of Americans (27%) said they put off making a doctor’s appointment.

Of course, with the tax deadline looming on April 15, filing one’s taxes is another common task that many of those surveyed are delaying. Half of the participants who haven’t gotten around to their taxes say they just can’t find the free time.

“According to the survey, a lot of Americans are letting things slide around the house simply because they’re so busy,” says Karen Orosco, Senior Vice President at H&R Block, in a statement. “Our new Tax Pro Go service lets consumers just securely upload their documents online and get paired with a tax pro who takes care of the rest. There’s no need to even leave the house.”

The research team compiled a top-ten list of tasks that survey respondents are currently putting off:

  1. Doing odd jobs around the house
  2. Going for medical check-ups
  3. Sorting out cabinets/spring cleaning
  4. Paying bills
  5. Sorting paperwork
  6. Taking unwanted items to the store or selling them online
  7. Fixing or mending items/clothing
  8. Going for a haircut
  9. Catching up with friends
  10. Budget planning/reviewing your finances

The survey was conducted by market research firm OnePoll in March 2019.