The Question

Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? People today spend too much time on personal enjoyment, and not enough time on more serious duties and obligations. Use details and examples to support your answer.

This is a revised version of a question found in Volume 1 of the Official iBT Tests book.

 

Notice

This is a sample TOEFL essay written by a TOEFL expert.  It follows our TOEFL Writing templates for independent essays.  If you find it helpful, please remember that we also have many more sample essays for you to work with.

The Sample Essay

          The question of how we should spend our leisure time has been debated for many years. Personally, I feel that people today do not spend too much of their time on personal enjoyment. I feel this way for two main reasons, which I will explore in the following essay.

          ​First of all, people today spend more time working than ever before, which means that they are spending a lot of time fulfilling serious obligations. Studies indicate that we spend more time at our offices than ever before, and that smart phones and internet access force people to continue working even when we are at  home. My own experience is a compelling example of what I mean. I work for a large investment banking firm where my scheduled workday is from nine o’clock to five o’clock, but I actually average about eight hours of overtime every week. I do not do this because I enjoy it, but because I feel obligated to serve my company and earn money for my family. Moreover, almost everyone else at my firm does the same thing. We often compare ourselves to our parents, who almost never worked overtime nor received calls from their bosses on the weekend. For this reason, I think that the present generation emphasizes professional obligations over  personal enjoyment.

          ​Secondly, many popular leisure activities include a degree of self-improvement, which means that even our hobbies fall into the realm of duties and obligations. People these days seem to be really into endurance sports like long distance running, which are incredibly beneficial for our health. For instance, I spend most of my free time working out at a local gym. Although this is certainly enjoyable for me, part of why I do it is that it keeps me strong, healthy and fit. This makes me both a better parent to my children and a better employee for my boss. I consider these two aspects of my life that I should be deeply concerned about.

          ​In conclusion, I am of the opinion that people today do not spend an inordinate amount of time focusing on things that they like to do. This is because people work longer hours than ever before, and because even our personal hobbies are often centered on self-improvement. (378 words)

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