SURVEY SAYS: Activities to Fill ‘Extra’ Time During the Pandemic

NEWSDash readers share whether they had extra time during stay at home orders because of the COVID-19 pandemic and what activities they did to fill that time.

A recent survey found the amount of time Americans spent watching TV in the second quarter of this year, when most of the country was experiencing stay at home orders due to COVID-19, increased over last year.

Last week, I asked NEWSDash readers, “Did the effects of COVID increase your TV viewing time?” I also asked, “If you had extra time on your hands and didn’t increase TV viewing, what other activities did you do?”

Nearly six-in-10 responding readers work in a plan sponsor role, 21.9% are recordkeepers/TPAs/investment consultants, 15.6% are advisers/consultants and 3.1% are CPAs.

Half of responding readers said their TV viewing time did not increase during the pandemic. Three-in-10 (31.2%) said it increased, but not much, and 18.7% said it increased very much.

Rather than watch TV, those who had extra time on their hands reported that they read (46.1%), started exercising or exercised more (42.3%), started cooking or cooked more (26.9%), slept more (15.4%) and started a new hobby or spent more time on an existing hobby (15.4%). Other activities shared by respondents included working more, teaching children, spending time at the pool or on the beach, hiking, working in the yard, novel writing, motorcycle riding and house cleaning.

Many of those who chose to leave comments expressed that work picked up during the pandemic, so they didn’t have all this “extra” time talked about on the news and social media. However, there were some who expressed appreciation for time gained back because of the lack of commute and for time they have been able to spend with their families. Editor’s Choice goes to the reader who said: “You can’t feel Spring in an office building.”

A big thank you to all who participated in the survey!


Watched more DVDs or streaming – don’t watch broadcast television and won’t pay for cable or dish! We did increase “TV screen time”, but also read, slept and exercised more – earlier question was either/or.

Because of all of the CARES Act changes, I am actually working more hours. My hubby, on the other hand, is going stir crazy. He is a very social person and he really misses going to parties. He has even volunteered to help me with my busy work to keep him from climbing the walls!

Oddly, work has picked up and I’m working more hours than ever, so that’s taking up an extra time I may have had. I miss my commute, since I was able to walk to and from work, and it was such great way to bookend the work day. Now that day seems to go on and on and on…

After finishing grad school in April I bought a Kindle and have been reading non-stop. It’s a lot of “trashy” reading and I haven’t highlighted, discussed, or written a paper on ANY of it! It’s divine.

Somehow even with all this extra time, keeping up with house cleaning is a challenge!! We must be making more messes.

Not much time to watch more television, as we were busy helping clients navigate the CARES Act and figure out if they could continue making their company match. Add in participants who needed financial help, and I worked more hours than ever this spring!

I’m fortunate that I can fully work remotely, so the pandemic time impact was my commute (roughly an extra hour each day). That time was consumed by teaching my kids and/or work (ugh)

I feel like just spending that extra time with my family and enjoying their company is the highlight of my “extra time”.

I had no extra time as it was business as usual for me. In fact, the second quarter was busier for me than before.

Definitely in the spring time when we were under home quarantine, our time spent watching tv increased. Once summer began and the home quarantine was lifted, we spend most of our free time at the pool, beach, golfing, and taking outdoors exercise classes.

Since my son wasn’t playing summer baseball, my wife and I spent the summer hiking over 100 miles of trails in the CVNP (Cuyahoga Valley National Park).

You can’t feel Spring in an office building.

I thought it was an invaluable opportunity so I decided to do something with the extra time that I’ve always wanted to do.

We have been enjoying day trips on our motorcycles. Can still be with friends, but easy to be socially distant as we all ride our own bikes. Conversations are on CB radios. For lunch stops, we have stood in the drive through lane of fast food joints and ate in the parking lot. Has been great, but we are glad that some places are opening up a bit more.

I’ve enjoyed a slower pace of life brought on by the need to stay home and self-isolate. I realize how much of the busyness in my life was self-imposed. My life away from work is still full, but I am much more aware and thoughtful of how I spend my time.

Since we are work from home, the time I save every day on the commute has enabled me to increase my exercise time and unwinding time (tv viewing).

Found out that my husband and I had to figure out lunch food, which we used to buy in our cafeteria at work. Started buying bread and lunch meat and condiments and vegetables–there’s a big sandwich world out there!

I had NO extra time on my hands, I had less time. Our company worked right through the pandemic. We absorbed work other companies abandoned.


NOTE: Responses reflect the opinions of individual readers and not necessarily the stance of Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) or its affiliates.