Entertainment vs Education: What is your ratio?

Are you spending more time on entertainment and less on education or is it vice versa? Here is what I found out based on the Department of Labor statistics.

Background:

Entertainment and education are necessary. Why?  Because, both are USEFUL to us. Take away either one of them and our life will not be complete. As simple as that. Before I go into further detail, I would like to mention that this comparison is being made for those who have completed their formal education and are not retired. So, all the folks who are in a full-time job and are not currently getting a degree, this comparison is for you.

Why compare only these two?

In most cases, the tools used for getting an education vs entertainment are same. For example, TV can be used for entertainment as well as for education. Similarly, computers and books can be used for both purposes. Even outdoor forms of entertainment like going to a movie or a concert or a game can be similar in time and cost to an educational speech or a seminar or a training class. Hopefully, I made my case that it makes sense to compare these two.

2010 Statistics from Department of Labor

The department of labor released the 2010 statistics last month. There are two types of activities that the Dept of Labor has tracked. “Educational Activities” and “Watching television”.

I looked at my situation and analyzed how these two activities compared. If I were an average American then based on my situation: male, employed and youngest household child under 6, I would have spent, in the year 2010, 0.05 hrs/day on educational activities and 2.13 hrs/day watching television. That is a ratio of 1:42. In other words, for every hour spent on educational activities, 42 hrs were spent watching television. Since watching television is just one form of entertainment and if I include the time spent on movies, blogging, web surfing, facebooking, twittering etc., then the ratio will be higher.

My Actual Ratio

I am very positive that my actual ratio does not come anywhere near 1:42. In 2010, I took some training classes, went to PMI Mile Hi Chapter seminars, read 50 or so business books and created this blog. I also stopped watching news and sports on TV (read this blog post to find out why). Despite all that, even if my actual ratio is half of 1:42, it is still a huge number for me.

When I started writing this blog post, I had no idea that I would stumble upon an imbalance as huge as this. It is an eye-opener for me to make sure that I track my time and have a balance.

Here is a quote from Jim Rohn that puts things in perspective.

Formal education will make you a living; self-education will make you a fortune.

The takeaways from my findings is to track my time to find out my true ratio. I am thinking that my target ratio should be 1:4. I love movies, blogging, twittering and may soon start on Google+ing. So, I need my entertainment fix but I also want to be successful and happy. A 1:4 ratio to me seems balanced.

What is your current ratio of education to entertainment and what is your ideal ratio?

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One Response to Entertainment vs Education: What is your ratio?

  1. I’ve heard that entertainment is the enjoyment of life now while education is the enjoyment of life later. One is focused on the present and the other on the future.

    My problem was that I was always future-focused, spending 90% of my time on education through formal and informal means. I later realized that I was never enjoying the present moment and have since switched to a more balanced ratio. It is still a work in progress for me, to find and keep that ideal ratio.

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