36 million busy Britons are using dead time to be more organised and have more fun

  • Almost two thirds (62%) of Britons who use their ‘dead time’ for personal admin state that mobile technology allows them to achieve more than they would have done otherwise
  • 43% feel more relaxed as a result of carrying out personal admin in this previously redundant or restricted time
  • Over four fifths of Britons, 81%, who use this time effectively, feel in control of their finances

36 million of Britons are using time that was previously ‘dead time’ – such as their lunch break, their commute to work or time spent waiting for an appointment – more productively allowing them to make the most of their free time, according to the latest findings from NS&I’s Quarterly Savings Survey.

Almost three quarters of Britons (74%) are using ‘dead time’ in their day to carry out personal admin tasks. This is making for a more tranquil and contented nation; as 43% of those using their ‘dead time’ for personal admin state they are more able to use their actual free time to be able to relax while 43% say that carrying out personal admin in ‘dead time’ is a satisfying way of using the time efficiently.

The ability to use this time to finish previously postponed personal admin tasks is helping the nation become more organised. 39% of those using their ‘dead time’ admit that if personal admin does not get done in this time then it will never get done, while 22% say that by finishing jobs in breaks from work or while waiting for an appointment is also helping them make the most of their free time.

Advances in technology have played a significant part in enabling the nation to complete more personal admin tasks in their ‘dead time’. Over half of Britons (52%) doing personal admin in this time use phone-calls and text messages to carry out these tasks and 44% use email. (27%) have taken advantage of new technology by using apps on a smartphone to complete their personal housekeeping, while a quarter (25%) use electronic documents or online notepads on their smartphone or tablets.

Half of Britons (50%) doing personal admin in their ‘dead time’ are using this time to manage their money, and more strikingly, just over four fifths (81%) who make efficient use of this time say that they feel in control of their finances. Technological advances are also playing a part in the search to be more financially secure as three quarters of Britons (75%) prefer to manage their finances online, making this the most popular method of administration.

John Prout, NS&I Retail Customer Director, said: “Whether it is taking advantage of this previously redundant or restricted time in our day to make important calls to friends or carrying out money management tasks, as a result millions of Britons are enhancing their control over aspects such as their finances and also buying themselves more free time in which to enjoy themselves.

“This positive trend also shows that half of the nation are using this time to manage their money. The ability to now undertake more tasks online often means that you can take back control, and our research suggests that three quarters of Britons prefer to manage their finances online.” 62% of Britons state that the use of mobile technology – such as internet connections on smartphones, mobile apps, tablets and laptops – is helping them to achieve more in their ‘dead time’ than ever before.

Other tasks Britons are undertaking in their ‘dead time’ include:

  • 58% are using the time to keep in touch with friends and relatives
  • 51% plan their weekly shop
  • 9%, in a bid to become more organised, compile a ‘to do’ list
  • % carry out research such as planning their next holiday
  • 37% opt to schedule appointments with their doctor, dentist or bank manager during their ‘dead time’
  • 15% spend this time planning celebratory events such as weddings or birthdays.

John Prout continued: “The internet and other advances in technology have really helped people use their time more efficiently, and this is really positive move if it gives people more time to manage admin, such as their finances, better.”

Just under a quarter of Britons, 23%, take advantage of the ‘dead time’ in their day in order to have more time to enjoy their hobbies, while over a fifth of Britons, 21%, use the time saved to socialise and have more fun. While lots of Britons have embraced the trend of using this time in their day to complete personal admin tasks, there are still those who prefer more traditional ways of passing the gaps in their day. For example, just under a third (31%) of those not using this time for personal admin prefer to read books, magazines or newspapers, 28% like to spend the time browsing the internet, just over a quarter (26%) enjoy listening to music, while a tenth of (10%) prefer to spend the time catching up on forty winks.


Senior NS&I spokespeople are available to discuss the results.

About this research

The most recent Lifestyle section of the NS&I Savings Survey was conducted by TNS, among 2,454 Great British adults aged 16+ between 6th and 12th November 2012. The Quarterly Savings survey has been running every quarter since winter 2004, and is a snapshot of how the nation is saving.

About NS&I

NS&I is one of the UK’s largest financial providers with over 26 million customers and over £100 billion invested. All products offer 100% security, because NS&I is backed by HM Treasury. NS&I products are available over the telephone, internet, post and by standing order. Savings tips including a later life guide and further information on personal finance are available in the You and Your Money section on nsandi.com.

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