March 5, 2021

NAB Wellbeing Insight Report – Time: How we use it & value it post COVID-19

We all value our time, but some of us feel we are under more time pressure than others.

Australians feel as time stressed as ever despite the fact that life remains highly structured. For most people the routine of work (at least in terms of total hours completed), social interactions, etc., largely resemble the rhythms of our pre-COVID lives. So, while our perceptions of time may have altered, these changes are largely illusory.  We all value our time, but some of us feel we are under more time pressure than others. Women typically feel under more time pressure and stress than men and across all age groups – particularly younger and older women. Higher income earners feel they are under the most pressure, stepping down in each income group. Time pressure is also much more apparent for those with children, and even more so than in our previous survey.

But, on average, a typical week today does not appear to be markedly different to pre-COVID, although we are sleeping a little less and spending more time on household chores and family duties. Interestingly, we are spending around the same amount of time working and commuting.

So, what is our time worth? On average Australians would pay $98 if they could buy one extra hour of time for themselves a day, but there are considerable differences depending on age, gender, work and family status. Women in the 30-49 age group would pay the most, valuing this extra hour at $207 – more than double the average. In the average week, women 30-49 sleep more than men, spend less time at work or studying but more time on housework and errands and preparing food. While the overall amount of time spent on various activities does not appear to have changed post COVID, it’s unclear to what extent time has become more fragmented (for example, those now working from home might have greater flexibility when they choose to perform various tasks). However, what remains clear is that our sense of time pressure and time stress remains elevated and has changed very little.

Learn more in the NAB Wellbeing Insight Report, Time – How we use it and value it