Where Do You Spend Your Time?

I’m seriously wondering about where (and what) I spend my time doing.

9 minutes

Warren wrote about how putting a table of contents back at the top of Orbital Operations makes the newsletter feel a bit more magazine-y and I agree.

I think it will help new people coming across the blog better understand the structure of my Weeknotes and whats happening on the page.

Where Do You Spend Your Time?

My friend Lorna told me about Brecht’s term Verfremdungseffekt the other night, after bringing up my ‘sour milk‘ comment from the other week.

The term Verfremdungseffekt is rooted in the Russian Formalist notion of the device of making strange (ΠΏΡ€ΠΈΡ‘ΠΌ остранСния priyom ostraneniya), which literary critic Viktor Shklovsky claims is the essence of all art.[2] Lemon and Reis’s 1965 English translation[3] of Shklovsky’s 1917 coinage as “defamiliarization“, combined with John Willett’s 1964 translation of Brecht’s 1935 coinage as “alienation effect”β€”and the canonization of both translations in Anglophone literary theory in the decades since

Perhaps the holiday has been a sort of distancing mechanism. I still feel like I’m still trying to settle in. Everything seems so insane, so crazy. UK politics almost seems more ghoulish and more crazy than it’s ever been.

I was hanging out with a friend the other week and we were talking about our ‘little hobbies’ as we called them. All the things that we’re interested in. Our niches that we nerd out about which aren’t the sort of thing that we can talk to people about at any great length.

We got to wondering about how we spend our time, and what other people spend their time doing. We had big conversation with our other friends at the table with us about what they do with there time. Their answers wen’t all that far away from these stats I’ve just Googled:

  • Did you know in the UK in January 2024, adults watched an average of 2 hours 31 minutes a day of linear TV?
  • Meanwhile, a Pinterest user spends about 14 minutes on the platform daily, BUT “83% of weekly Pinterest users report making a purchase based on content they encountered”
  • The average podcast listener spends an hour a day listening to podcast.
  • Using a different metric, an average audiobook enjoyer spends an average of 2 hours 19 minutes every day,
  • In Q3 of 2023 the average amount of time spent on social media a day was 2 hours and 23 minutes? 1 in 3 internet minutes spent online can be attributed to social media platforms.

I like this combined more holistic statistic.

According to a study on media consumption in the United Kingdom, the average time spent consuming traditional media is consistently decreasing while people spend more time using digital media. In 2023, it is estimated that people in the United Kingdom will spend four hours and one minute using traditional media, while the average daily time spent with digital media is predicted to reach six hours and nine minutes.

To round all those stats out check out these weekly UK gaming figures:

Brits (on average) typically spend 4 hours 36 minutes a week gaming, playing 98.6% longer than other countries – the equivalent of five extra days of playing per year. Bear in mind, this figure is an average, with Brits overall spending more time on social media and streaming TV shows per week.

Those in the UK also battle it out online nearly twice as long as international opponents, with overseas game players clocking up 2 hours 19 minutes on average.

Which is just about 30mins a day.

This weekly stat works out at 4h 48m listening to music

Just under 50 million adults, or 89% of the population, listened to live radio on average 20.3 hours per week in 2021

Interestingly enough its quite hard to find the average time spent reading books per day for UK adults. Instead the stats are broken down like this:

  • One in five Brits reads a book on a screen or e-reader
  • 41% of people in the UK spent less than an hour a week reading or listening to books
  • 11% of 18-34 year olds admitted to reading for more than 14 hours a week
  • 33% stated that they were reading more than they were in February 2020
  • One in 10 people in the 18-44 age group preferred to listen to an audiobook
  • Over 75% of women opted to read the book itself as opposed to a digital or audio version
  • Here’s some more stats on reading:

    A more interesting figure for British readers – albeit one that should also perhaps be taken with a healthy dose of salt – came in 2019, when a study by Kantar Insights found that, while 51% of UK adults had read a book in the past year, only 34% of readers managed 10 or more – a total pushing them into the β€˜heavy readers’ category. 

    10 books a year puts you in ‘Heavy reader’ category – I average about 50. Maybe this is what I spend my time doing??? Also reversing the stat about, does this mean that half of UK adults don’t read a single book a year?

    When you try to find stats about UK Adults engaging in ‘creative’ actives you get stats like 71% of UK adults did something creative in the last year?

    Unfortunately I can’t find any recent stats with any sort of statistical power on the number of UK adults that keep a diary.

    I write all this to say that I’m seriously wondering about where (and what) I spend my time doing.

    So I’m interested – Where do you spend your time?

    Photo 365


    The Ministry Of My Own Labour

    • Turns out learning how to do layout for print in affinity designer is more complicated than I first imagined
      • I guess this is why layout designer is a full time job
    • Trying to figure out the last bits and bobs I need to do to get worldrunning.guide to V2
    • Had a nice call with Baz from Tonk.gg
    • Met some nice people via email correspondence
    • Wrote a while thing that isn’t ever going to see the light of day
    • Sorting out stuff for Season 2 of Experience.Computer
    • Made a big spreadsheet for Novara
    • Sorting out my digital life, google drive etc just seems endless.
      • 10 years of junk and neglect. Such a time sink.

    Terminal Access

    Tobias wrote about the current state of AI in culture under post heading We Just Haven’t Been Capitalisming Hard Enough. Hoping to catch up with him IRL soon.

    The irony of this frustrated critique of the discourse around AI is that it has already been captured by the extremists in big tech. If you point out that AI isn’t actually meeting any of these promises and is hurting a bunch of people along the way, it is turned into an excuse for more, faster AI.

    On the Blog This Week

    Real Things For Real People

    The game designer Paul Czege has just launched a new newsletter called β€˜Say We Do’. I can’t tell you to go sign up on Substack or Ghost because it’s not that sort of newsletter – it’s a PDF.

    Dipping the Stacks

    How Bing Crosby Made Silicon Valley Possible – by Ted Gioia

    By any measure, Bing Crosby’s life was an amazing success story. And he understood the financial upside enough to become a West Coast distributor for both Ampex and 3M magnetic tape. But if he had taken equity positions in Silicon Valley startups, instead of just financing them as a customer and distributor, he might have become the godfather of high techβ€”and the Crosby family would be on the Forbes billionaire list today.

    Wong Kar Wai – In the Mood for Love & 2046

    I was a Fool, an absolute buffoon, constantly throwing my heart into the hands of strangers and then chasing that high only to find my heart hung over dumpsters or smeared across the pavement.

    Never did I expect that this would change.

    That true love would find me in the end.

    The Changelog has never gone viral |> Changelog

    The depth-first approach: Our podcast has never gone viral. It’s been slow and steady growth over the course of many years. But that’s okay with me, because I’ll take depth over breadth any day.

    Not Putting Off

    The thing I’ve realised is that this putting things off almost invariably leads to buildup, developing a backlog, which becomes corrosive to routine, to discipline, to just cracking on; it makes things feel like more of a chore because you feel like you’ve got to deal with everything at once, or once you’ve finished one thing you’ll have to go through all the other things too, or replying to emails would invite a response which is more stuff to do, etc

    Create more. Consume less – Manu

    Consuming content online is, for the most part, a mindless act. But creating content forces you to reflect, to introspect, to look at yourself and the world around you in different ways.


    I finished listening to Martin Shaw’s Bardskull. Last week I said that the book was cracking my head open and it most certainly did. I’m not sure that I’m ever going to be creatively the same having experienced it. Even If you’ve already read this book, you HAVE to listen to the audiobook version. Wow

    I’m still reading A Swim in a Pond in the Rain by George Saunders. Very cool book. It’s just like being in class or a workshop. Saunders uses a series of short stories by the great Russian authors as his springboard.

    I listened to ALL of Vainglorious by Sandy Mitchell this week. Mostly whilst walking too and from town. It’s the 11th and currently, last book in his Warhamer 40k series – Ciaphas Cain. I enjoyed Stephen Perring reprising the character of Cain. Its somewhat of a melancholic feeling to have finished the series with no indication that there will be any more. BUT the book sets up a ‘different kind of story’ at the end. So maybe Mitchell is currently flexing some other kind of muscle right now toiling on a new one.

    JDO has sold me on the idea of reading The Will of the Many by James Islington



    I’ve recently discovered Japanese Psychedelic Jazz outfit POLYPLUS and I’m totally enamoured with their 2023 album Good Luck Sound Tracks. Its an electic mix of rocking Jazz though 80’s jams. Wild really.

    The track Showtime is a good introduction to their sound:

    Remember Kids:

    β€œJournaling is an offshoot of meditationβ€” a type of introspection where a record of events is welcome. It doesn’t have to mean the record is permanent. In fact, it’s probably better as ephemeralβ€” permanently locked behind a password. But, the fact that it exists is a comfort in itself.”

    C.J. Chilvers

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    One response to “Where Do You Spend Your Time?”

    1. LBM avatar


      Re journalling, a few months ago I got access to an online journal I kept between about 2000-2007 or so, that I thought was lost. Some of it definitely better as ephemeral πŸ˜€ but some of it priceless.

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