How Free is Working America? Your Free Time Ratio


In America we talk of freedom, and the pursuit of freedom, and in retirement we think we will finally be free.  I was on twitter and I noticed that Ty Roberts from Get Rich Quickish was tweeting about he works 70% of the time, and his time with his kids is 15%, and his personal time is 15% for himself.  So, at the moment of reading that tweet, I was a teacher on summer break, and my time was my time, and I spent about 30% on family fun, and the rest was just mine to do as I pleased.  I felt sorry for Ty, but I knew he would free up his time one day sooner than later, because he was aware of his situation.  Many people don’t know how their time is allocated, and they just keep plugging along unhappy.  Some never figure out that they have no time for themselves and die with many regrets.  I also wanted to know how my time was rationed out over the year.  I have never done this before.  I began to tally up my unique schedule of regular schedule school work, basketball season work, and teacher breaks.  These are my simplified findings for my time ratios:

One year is 365 days/ 8,760 hours/ 525,600 sec.

I work 175 days of school/ 187 days of paid work including training days.

8am-4pm is my expected work day, but I really work 8am-4:30pm (8 1/2 hours a day on average).  We don’t get lunch breaks, just a quick lunch on campus, and I work during lunch most days.

I work 15 Saturdays a year during basketball season (4 hours each on average with tournaments and practices).

I work 10 volleyball games for 4 hours each game each school year.

I coach 30 basketball games averaging 4 1/2 hours each including bus drive time.  Some are only 10 minutes away and some games are up to 2 hours away.  Most are close and I get paid to drive the bus, so I work on the drive.

My personal kids activities are at 10 hours a week for sports, choir, school events, church events, etc.  This will go up as they get older and with three kids I expect it to double easily.

I work 4 days of basketball camp for 8 hours a day during June for some extra money.

I get 9 weeks off work for summer, 6 days off for Christmas, 3 days off for Thanksgiving, a week off for Spring break, 8 days for minor holidays throughout the year, and I take 5 vacation days a year, and save 5 state days on average.  I get to keep the state days from year to year, and I loose the local days, so I use them for weekend trips or actual sick days.

I spend 1,856.5 hours a year working.

I get 94 days off plus 89 weekend days equaling 183 days off or 4,416 hours off a year.

520 hours a year are spent on the kids activities.  This will go up over time.

I spend 2,376.5 total hours working or doing kids activities a year.  This is the time I don’t have control over.

We also spend about 8 hours a day sleeping or 2,891 hours sleeping a year.  and I get my 8 hours religiously.  I get 6-7 hours during basketball season and get up to 9 hours on my summers off, but 8 hours is pretty normal for me.

This leaves 3,492.5 free hours a year or roughly 9.5 hours a day if it was averaged out, left for me to do me stuff.  This is not realistic every day, because I get entire days and weeks and months off work as a teacher, and during basketball season I could work a 16-18 hour day with games and travel time included.  I also like to take my personal kids on vacations, to the zoo, to the movies, go swimming, and lots of other activities, but I’m not forced into it because of their activities, it’s my idea usually to go have fun together.  I also have to do other things in this category such as mow the lawn, go to my wife’s activities, fix the car or house, or shower and shave and stuff.


As I broke down these numbers, I began to see that I really don’t work that much, and my life is pretty balanced for a family environment at home.  I get to work when my kids are in school, and don’t work when they are home from school.  I have a busy time for about 3-4 months with basketball season, and then I get a break every summer to just relax and recharge.  My chances of burn out would be high if it was basketball season year around.  I also got to see how much of my life is spent sleeping, and I am happy to invest in a great sleeping environment.  I might get a higher thread count on my sheets because I spend so much time there.

I feel like I have a lot of freedom of time after doing this activity.  It turns out I trade less of my time for money than I thought, and I know it is less than most Americans who work 40 hour weeks for 50 weeks a year or 2,000 hours a year.  I still would like to get rid of even more working hours, once I get a plan together to get paid more to work even less.  I have a few ideas floating around.  Even now, my work day includes teaching 6 classes a day, that are 45 minutes each for 4.5 hours of actual teaching work a day (including sports practice out of season).  The rest of my work day is passing periods, conference times, meetings and planning, lunch on campus, assemblies, and some grading of course.  I have free time worked into my schedule at work too!

So how much of your time is being used up, either on activities you are forced into, or for time being traded for money at work?  How much of your life is actually spent doing things that you don’t want to do, or on things you want to do?  Once you do this little exercise of finding out your ratios, then you can put a plan together to gain back your life.  I highly suggest you take the time to look at your life and see where your time is going.  This took me about 20 minutes to think and add the numbers up.  It will allow me to be aware of how my time being used is balanced and if I can improve on my use of time to better my life.



Add yours →

  1. The post of mine that you referenced was a punch in the face for me. One of those epiphany moments.

    Envious of your time allocation and can’t wait for the day when mine is similar. Here’s to the FI Life!


  2. This is neat and really important. I’m curious about your teaching hours. Do you feel like you put in much more when you’re not in class? I’m hoping to learn a bit more about balance this year now that I’m a mom. My classroom hours last year were 6:45-4:30 generally, but then I would say I put in at least 1 and sometimes as much as 3 hours a night when I got home! Those pesky essays! I think I will have to do this exercise myself when I go back from my maternity leave in November.


    • I would say I put in about 4-6 hours a week planning or grading. I stay away from essays and look for quicker to grade stuff that shows me if the student understands or not. I do a lot online now too which means I can grade on my phone at soccer practice and other events, saving me time by not wasting time. I hate grading, but love everything else. Outsource my grading would be a great business for someone.


  3. Great! Have never done a breakdown like that for myself. I work a lot of hours in front of a computer and even more now that i have just started an online side hustle. I am also considering a transition into teaching in the coming years, interesting to see that breakdown. From knowing a number of teachers, there’s a huge amount of behind the scenes work – using technology to double down on some of that during other activities is great!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: