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Thursday, June 8, 2023


In the bustling city-state of Singapore, known for its strong work ethic and highly competitive environment, the daily routine of a typical Singaporean is a reflection of the demanding nature of their professional lives.


With limited hours of personal free time, many Singaporeans find themselves questioning whether the sacrifices they make for their careers are truly worth it.

80% of a day at work or going to work or having lunch at work

A typical Singaporean’s day begins at 7 am, when they rise from their slumber and begin preparing for the day ahead. The first hurdle they face is the daily commute, which can take up to an hour, depending on the mode of transportation chosen. Some opt for private vehicles or ride-hailing services like Grab, while others rely on the efficient Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) system or public buses. Regardless of the chosen mode, this commute eats away precious time that could be spent on personal pursuits.

Once they arrive at their workplace, the average Singaporean dives into an intense eight-hour workday, often extending to nine hours when accounting for an hour-long lunch break. The work environment in Singapore is known for its competitiveness and long hours, leaving employees with little room to relax and unwind. The fast-paced nature of work, coupled with high expectations, can create a sense of constant pressure and stress.

By the time the clock strikes 6 pm, the workday comes to an end, and the individual embarks on the journey back home. Another hour is spent commuting, further diminishing the already limited amount of time available for leisure activities. Upon reaching home, the exhaustion of the day often leaves little energy for anything other than a quick dinner and some well-deserved rest.


4 hours or less time at home with family

The remaining hours before 11 pm bedtime are the only personal free time Singaporeans have to pursue their passions, spend time with loved ones, or simply relax and recharge.

In the face of such a rigorous schedule, it’s natural to question whether this lifestyle is worth the sacrifices made. Spending approximately 80% of one’s waking hours on work-related activities can indeed feel overwhelming, especially when the remaining time feels insufficient for personal fulfillment and enjoyment. However, it’s essential to consider various factors before drawing a definitive conclusion.

One aspect to consider is the financial stability and security that a demanding job can provide. Singapore is known for its high cost of living, and many individuals prioritize their careers in order to secure a comfortable lifestyle for themselves and their families. The dedication and hard work put into their jobs often translate into professional growth and opportunities for advancement, which can lead to higher salaries and better benefits. These rewards can alleviate some of the concerns about the heavy time commitment required by their work.

Furthermore, the cultural values ingrained in Singaporean society often emphasize the importance of hard work and dedication. Many individuals find fulfillment in the sense of accomplishment that comes from excelling in their chosen field. The pursuit of excellence is deeply ingrained in the Singaporean psyche, and the recognition and respect gained from a successful career can be a source of great pride.

We are ‘slaves’ of money

Nevertheless, it is crucial to strike a balance between work and personal life. Singaporean society is gradually becoming more attuned to the importance of well-being and work-life balance. Initiatives promoting flexible work arrangements, remote working options, and greater emphasis on employee well-being are slowly gaining traction. Employers are recognizing the benefits of ensuring their workforce has ample time for rest and personal pursuits, as it can lead to increased productivity and overall job satisfaction.


Ultimately, the decision to work hard and invest a significant portion of one’s time in a career is a personal one. Each individual must evaluate their priorities and determine what brings them the most happiness and fulfillment in life. While a demanding work schedule can be daunting, it is essential to consider the long-term goals, financial stability, and personal growth that a successful career can bring. Additionally, it is crucial to explore strategies that can maximize the limited free time available.

Time management

One effective approach is to prioritize and manage time efficiently. By identifying activities that bring joy and rejuvenation, individuals can allocate their free time accordingly. Whether it’s pursuing hobbies, spending quality time with loved ones, engaging in physical exercise, or simply relaxing and practicing self-care, carving out dedicated moments for these activities can help create a sense of balance and fulfillment.

Moreover, it’s important to foster a supportive network of friends and family who understand the demands of a busy lifestyle. Surrounding oneself with understanding and empathetic individuals can provide much-needed emotional support and companionship during challenging times. Shared activities and meaningful connections can make the limited free time feel more rewarding and enjoyable.

Taking regular breaks and vacations is also essential. Singaporeans are fortunate to have access to various travel destinations within the region. Planning occasional getaways can provide a refreshing change of scenery, allowing individuals to unwind and recharge. It is during these breaks that they can truly disconnect from work and focus on rejuvenating their mind and body.

In addition, cultivating a healthy work-life balance involves setting boundaries and learning to say no. It’s important to establish clear guidelines regarding work expectations and commitments, ensuring that personal time is respected and protected. Learning to prioritize tasks and delegate responsibilities can help alleviate the overwhelming pressure that often accompanies a demanding job.


Ultimately, finding meaning and satisfaction in life goes beyond the number of hours spent at work. It involves identifying personal values, aligning them with career aspirations, and seeking fulfillment in both professional and personal domains. While the time spent working may be significant, it is the quality of that time and the purpose it serves that truly matters.

In conclusion, the lifestyle of a typical Singaporean often involves dedicating a substantial portion of time to work-related activities. While it can be challenging and may leave limited personal free time, it is essential to consider the benefits that a successful career can bring, such as financial stability and personal growth. Striking a balance between work and personal life, managing time effectively, and prioritizing activities that bring joy and fulfillment can help mitigate the impact of a demanding work schedule. Ultimately, it is up to each individual to evaluate their own priorities, values, and goals, and make choices that bring them a sense of purpose and happiness in life.

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