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My Time Study

Time is one of the main barriers to an active lifestyle. Everyone is busy! But do you know where all the minutes in the day go? How much time do you spend at the computer, watching TV, in the car, etc? It’s helpful to take a look at how you spend your time.

How it works

Use a notepad or tablet to track your activities for one week day and one weekend day. Keep the record with you, and write things down as you go. Add up the minutes you were physically active and the minutes of inactivity. The total time for each four-hour block should be 240 minutes. Use the chart below as a template.

Time Tasks
ActiveNot Active
Midnight to 4:00 am 
4:01 am to 8:00 am 
8:01 am to noon 
12:01 pm to 4:00 pm 
4:01 pm to 8:00 pm 
8:01 pm to midnight  
Total time

Blair SN, et al. Active Living Everyday: 20 Steps to Lifelong Vitality. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics, 2001.

TimeTasks and activitiesActiveNot Active
8:01 am to noon

Walk to and from car:
Desk work:
Walking to meeting:
Walk to vending machine:
Talk with co-workers:
7 min

4 min

4 min

4 min

14 min

75 min

120 min

31 min

226 min
12:01 pm to 4:00 pm

Walk to lunch room:
Walk back to office:
Desk work:
Walk to lunch room:
Coffee break:
Return to office:
2 min

2 min

2 min

2 min
8 min

30 min

190 min

12 min

232 min

Now what?

Completing the My Time Study can help you identify times in your day when you can be more active – walking during your child’s baseball game, doing push-ups during TV commercials, or going for a 15-min walk at lunchtime. After working on increasing your natural activity for a few weeks, assess your progress with the Natural Activity Quiz. Want a way to measure if you’re moving more? Track your steps with a pedometer.