No. 1 Thing We're Too Busy to Do

Blame the Internet. And TV. And your mobile phone. And your tablet.

We're so busy with "media noise" that there is no time left for peace and quiet. According to a study from media researchers at Britain's M-Lab, the average person gets only 63 minutes of peace and quiet each day. And that's on a good day.

The BBC News reports that one in three adults don't even get an hour of rest from media noise while at home, and 22 percent get 30 minutes or less.

We're being bombarded on all sides. About one-third of us wake up to the sound of a television or radio, and 71 percent listen to a TV, radio or use their computer just before going to sleep at night. It all adds up to this stunning figure: The typical adult consumes more than 50 hours of media a week. With that in mind, getting an hour a day of peace and quiet actually sounds like a lot.

And that's what Graham Williams, M-Lab director, said most surprised him: It was not that we had just 60 minutes a day without TV, radio, cell phones or the Internet, but that we had any time at all. "I am more surprised there are people who have this golden hour where they do nothing," he told the BBC. "People multi-task. I think people usually have two bits of media going at the same time. Back in the day, the phone was usually in the hall, but because phones are mobile now people can move around, people can watch TV and use the phone. I think it's the way media has become portable."

The times of day when people are most likely to be media-free are noon to 12:30 p.m. and 5 to 5:30 p.m.--right around lunch and dinner. Does that mean we're turning off the TV and ignoring the BlackBerry while we eat?

"For some people, background noise provides a vital sense of security and companionship, but for others preserving a bit of quiet time for ourselves or to spend with our families is getting increasingly difficult."

--From the Editors at Netscape

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