The influence of chronic pain on daily life was studied in 58 patients (55 women and three men) with fibromyalgia. The mean age was 45 +/- 11 (SD) years. A mail questionnaire including a 2-day diary was used for data collection. Information was gathered on social background, employment status, symptoms, physical training habits, patients' experience of general health, physical condition, and difficulties in performing motor tasks. The patient reported every half hour in the activity diary the degree of pain and fatigue, whether the activities were difficult to perform, and whether the patient considered them to be enjoyable, valuable, and meaningful. Fifty-five percent of the group had gainful employment. Most were working shorter hours and with changed work tasks. Motor tasks, such as carrying, holding, and running were more difficult to perform than before the onset of the symptoms, and half of the group reported most of their activities as strenuous to perform. Thirty-nine persons (67%) reported no, or very short, pain-free periods during the 2 days. In conclusion, symptoms influenced daily life considerably, and almost all patients reported changes in habits and routines as a consequence of fibromyalgia. An assessment of the patient's total life situation gives valuable information for understanding the patients' ability to handle everyday life.