Man overwhelmed with tasks and responsibilities at work

(© Kaspars Grinvalds -

LONDON — Does every day of your life feel exactly the same, with the years just flying by? You’re far from alone. It turns out the average adult spends more than 10 years of their life on “autopilot,”  following the same routines and rituals every day, according to a survey.

A quarter of the 2,000 British adults polled admit that they often drift through as much as five or more hours a day without any real thought about what they are doing. This equates to 1,396 hours each year, 27 hours a week or nearly four hours a day doing the same things.

Moreover, 64 percent of adults claim their daily routine hardly ever changes. Topping the list of routines that never change for the average person include getting dressed or showering at the same time of day, and eating the same breakfast.

But 79 percent of those who feel they are “stuck in a rut” of repetitive routines feel this holds them back from achieving their goals. The most common things respondents say they’d like to do, but haven’t had a chance to yet include learning a new skill or craft, traveling the world, and starting a new career.

Learning a new instrument, and starting to invest round out the top five things that life’s mundane routines are keeping people from achieving.

The study, commissioned by bank NatWest and conducted by OnePoll, also finds that 51 percent of adults admit they procrastinate instead of acting on tasks that need doing – including managing their finances, organizing dates with friends and food shopping. As a result, six in 10 have bought a self-help book – but half never finished it, with some not even completing the first chapter.

More than half of those polled (53%) think they should be more proactive about managing their personal finances.

Following the findings, NatWest launched a video series with entrepreneur Stephen Bartlett, with episodes looking at setting goals, starting a business and managing personal finances, to help motivate people to take action. “Everyone experiences different challenges and obstacles in life,” says NatWest CEO, Alison Rose. “But we hope that Stephen’s inspiring story and motivational personality can help people to set and strive for their own goals – whatever they may be.”

72Point writer Mustafa Mirreh contributed to this report

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  1. Aristotle says:

    The endless pursuit to achieve success, usually defined by making more money because we think it buys happiness. It doesn’t, but it does buy pleasure. We desire “things” to compete with others around us – to elevate our status – due to inner-tribal competition for mating and resources; none of it actually being necessary for success in the modern world. The fix: redefine your priorities (wants vs needs), pursue your passions, get out in nature often (seek discomfort), and travel a lot (3-4 months a year). Do those things and you will find that you can still make enough money to meet your basic needs and also live a more meaningful, purpose driven life. You will also find that time seems to slow down because you are spending more time making new memories.

  2. John Honcho says:

    The overwhelming majority of every working woman I know would rather spend meaningful time with family and friends, than 8-10 per day in an office. They try to make up for this by using the office as their social network, but except for the weekends, their homes are mostly empty. A good portion of career women who have men in the home are now paying all the bills. The goal of feminism has always been anti-feminine (what women naturally like) and anti-masculine (what men naturally like) and has made both sexes less happy.

    1. Nick says:

      If that was accurate they would stop doing it. I’m a male and I left the best job I’ve ever had because of mandatory overtime. I refused to miss my life, including seeing my kids grow up. With that time off comes help at home and my current new hobby is gardening. Equality for man and women only works in a home if both are on board and it sounds like you aren’t.

  3. Larry Bryant says:

    The other thought onthose symptoms ls “being in your nothing box.” Since I retired my nothing box gets larger every day.

  4. DAVID says:

    I would like to be able to go on auto pilot sometime,,, in my life. Cant do it at work, as im always being called on to drag our company out of a hole our boss got us in and figure up ways to make the impossible possible. When I leave work I cant go on auto pilot, because almost every car I come across moves over to block me from pulling out, or pulls over in front of me so I cant pass as they drive 10 miles an hour under the speed limit. Or if you go to the store, people back out, pull out, or walk in front of you without looking. If I ever went on auto pilot, the place I work at would go out of business, the person who pulls over to block would get side swiped, or pit maneuvered, and the pedestrian that obliviously walks out in front of me would get ran over.
    At home,,, or, the house, dont get me started there…
    Guess I’m not average.

    1. Nick says:

      Prioritize time for yourself and adjust the schedule accordingly. Don’t let a job demand more of your life than you want to sell. Time is the most valuable resource as all other resources require time to utilize. Once corporate employers give us security they expect us to clutch onto it for dear life while demanding things that weren’t originally part of the deal. I traded up professions last year, they’re all looking for talented help right now.

  5. Thomas says:

    I wanted to leave a comment, and I started one