You are now involved in one of this country's two most common leisure activities.
The "leading activities of people every day or almost every day" are watching television (72 percent) and reading newspapers (70 percent), according to "Where Does the Time Go?" a survey of American leisure life. Commissioned by United Media Enterprises and conducted by Research & Forecasts, Inc., the national study draws on interviews with more than 1,000 "demographically representative" Americans and 300 media executives.
Among report findings:
Most Americans "always or sometimes feel rushed" during their leisure time.
Children in dual-career homes participate in as many activities with their parents as children from "traditional homes," in which the man is the sole bread-winner.
Adults in dual-career families say they have sex more frequently than those in traditional homes.
After TV and newspapers, other "popular pastimes" listed by survey participants include: listening to music at home (46 percent), exercising (35 percent), reading books (24 percent), hobbies (23 percent), reading magazines (18 percent) and sex (11 percent).
The project was launched, says Robert Roy Metz, president of United Media Enterprises, a Scripps Howard company, because "there were no large-scale, publicly available studies that addressed these questions.
"All of the media we serve are competing for the same thing: people's time.So we wanted to look at how and why people spend it. People today have more leisure opportunities than ever before. And they're affected by changing demographic and social circumstances like dual-career couples and new options in family formation.
"Those with the least amount of family responsibility -- teen-agers and senior citizens have the most free time. Americans with the most family responsibilities -- such as working and single parents -- have the least amount of time for leisure activities."
The survey's tally of leisure hours per week:
* Senior citizens, 43 hours.
* Teen-agers, singles and childless couples, 37 to 41 hours.
* Parents with children not living at home, 31 hours.
* Single parents, 25 hours.
* Traditional parents, 24 hours.
* Dual-career parents, 23 hours.
One of the study's most significant findings, in Metz's view, is "the increasingly important role fathers are playing in American family life."
Fathers in two-income families, the survey shows, "far more frequently spend their leisure time in child-rearing activities than fathers in traditional families." They are more likely -- on a daily basis with young children -- to read (41 percent versus 18 percent), play (43 percent versus 22 percent), supervise schoolwork (41 percent versus 13 percent) and talk about school and friends (48 percent versus 35 percent).
Among other survey findings on leisure, some of which point up a perhaps conflictive view of the subject: Attitudes
* 67 percent of the respondents feel most people spend too much time working and not enough time relaxing.
* 62 percent, however, say work should have a higher priority in an individual's life than leisure.
* Two-thirds believe individuals "deserve" leisure time only after their work is completed.
* 91 percent say people "should spend their free time however they please," but 61 percent feel "leisure time is best spent on achieving constructive personal goals"; 57 percent feel "people have a responsibility to spend a large part of their free time helping others."
* 79 percent say spending time with their families is a "very important use" of leisure time, followed by companionship (68 percent), relaxation (67 percent), the chance to learn new things (60 percent), thinking and reflecting (57 percent) and keeping informed about local, national or world events (52 percent).
* 69 percent say that "only a little" or "hardly any" or their free time is wasted.
* Most adults (61 percent) report "equal enjoyment" from work and leisure; 31 percent enjoy leisure more; 7 percent enjoy work more.
* 46 percent of the general public says one of their own leisure-time goals is "helping other people," compared with 20 percent of newspaper editors, 10 percent of TV news directors and 18 percent of cable programming directors. Sex
* 11 percent say they engage in sex almost every day; 34 percent about once or twice a week; 18 percent, "never."
* 89 percent of dual-career couples and 87 percent of childless couples say they engage in sex at least once or twice a week, compared with 67 percent of "traditional couples."
* 7 out of 10 senior citizens and about a third of single parents say they "never" engage in sex. Television
* The average American watches about three hours of televison a day. Teens and older Americans watch the most; dual career and traditional parents the least.
* Those with the most family responsibility spend the largest percentage of their free time watching TV: traditional and single parents 74 percent, dual-career parents 69 percent, teens 68 percent, others about 50 percent.
* 44 percent say they don't usually pay close attention to TV while they watch it. Parents are particularly likely to do other things simultaneously.
* Half of all couples watch TV together daily or almost daily; 36 percent watch TV together once or twice a week.
* 86 percent of Americans have at least one color TV, and almost 30 percent have two or more.
* 53 percent of parents say they "limit" the number of hours their children watch TV.
* 38 percent have a TV set exclusively for the children's use.
* 89 percent of television news directors, 79 percent of cable programmers and 63 percent of newspaper editors watch TV daily or almost daily during leisure time, compared with 72 percent of the general public. Problems
* Major leisure obstacles: lack of time (66 percent), financial considerations (58 percent), gas prices (38 percent), lack of companionship (36 percent), age (32 percent), health (26 percent) and fear of crime (26 percent).
* 20 percent of adults -- most often male, unmarried, over 65 and less educated -- say they are lonely during their leisure time.
* Older people and single parents are most likely to say they are alone too much. Dual-career couples, traditional parents and parents with grown children are most likely to say they want more time to themselves. Eating and Drinking
* 15 percent say they go to bars and nightclubs once or twice a week.
* 36 percent say they have an alcoholic drink at least once or twice a week.
* 53 percent say they go out to eat at least once or twice a week. Miscellaneous
* Childless couples have almost 50 percent more leisure time per week than those with young children.
* Teen-agers are least likely to read newspapers and books -- although they do read magazines -- while senior citizens are most likely.
* Teen-agers exercise and talk on the phone more than any other group.
* The most likely groups to do volunteer work are dual-career parents and parents with grown children (59 percent).
* 93 percent of parents in traditional families say they obtain a "great deal of satisfaction" from their children, compared with 84 percent of dual-career parents and 78 percent of single parents.
* Half of the adults report a great deal of satisfaction with parents or relatives; 30 percent report "a fair amount, little or no satisfaction."
* About half of the adults spend more free time with other people than alone; 31 percent spend most of their leisure time alone.