How we spend our time during lockdown

The UK’s Office for National Statistics published a report a couple of days ago that make fascinating reading.  It’s got the snappy title ‘Coronavirus and how people spent their time under lockdown’‘ and covers the period March 28 to April 26 and makes fascinating reading.

As I’ve hit retirement – time – and how I spend it, has become a bigger issue for me now I have more choice in the matter!  These are some of the key changes in how people spent their time compared with a similar study that took place from 2014 to 2015.  Figures in brackets are average minutes of activity a day in each time period.


  • Working from home – up 277.9% (from 14.5 to 54.8)
  • Gardening and DIY – up 147.4 (from 15.7 to 38.8)
  • Keeping fit – up 23.5% (from 18.7 to 38.8)
  • Unpaid childcare – up 11.8% (from 31.4 to 35.1)
  • Entertainment/free time – up 15.8% (277.4 to 321.1)
  • Sleep and rest – up 3.4% (533 to 551.3)


  • Travelling and transport – down 79.5% (from 83.5 to 17.1)
  • Working away from home – down 34.9% (from 150 to 97.6)
  • Study – down 35% (14.3 to 9.3)
  • Personal care – down 8.6% (145.8 to 133.3)
  • Unpaid housework – down 2.2% (from 147.2 to 143.9)

Apart from the obvious lockdown changes around work and travel I think it’s interesting to note the relatively modest increaeses in minutes a day for keeping fit (20) and sleep and rest (18).

With work no longer a factor in some people’s lives and many others who are not commuting I would have thought that the increases in rest and fitness would have accounted for more than an average of 38 minutes a day.

In fact people spent more time on entertainment than both these ‘activities’.  By far the most popular in this category was watching television or streaming videos, which took up nearly three hours a day.  Also included in the entertainment/free time category are reading (28 minutes) playing games, including computer games (26) and phoning or texting friends (16).

In some ways the lockdown has forced people to confront similar challenges to those I’ve had to deal with myself about how I spend the greater leisure time that comes with retirement.  Back in early April thinking somewhat optimistically that the lockdown would be just another three weeks I set out how I planned to spend the next 500 hours or so.

It’s a far more detailed breakdown than the ONS’s which I’ve broken down below into percentages which makes each one percent very roughly equivalent to 15 minutes.  I was therefore aiming to sleep seven hours a night, work and blog for four hours, fitness and walking one and three-quarter hours etc.

I don’t feel that I’ve been far off my aim though it’s interesting to see that I spend quite a bit more time on fitness and quite a lot less on TV watching than the average.

In truth I’m spending much less time in front of the box partly thanks to the unremitting negativity of TV news, the lack of sport and the long hot sunny evenings.  I’ll be keeping an eye on how I spend my time as the year goes on but I’m happy with where I’m at right now compared with the rest of the lockdown population.

6Garden maintenance
3Garden projects
8TV watching
2Marital intimacy!

Published by brianjonesdiary

Dad, husband, brother and son. Interested in travel, politics, sport, health and much more. Semi-retired and aiming to making the most of life as I approach my sixth decade.

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