The Ten Biggest Time-Wasting Habits

Time: It’s the one thing that keeps on rolling, no matter what we do. And if we could choose a superhero power, many of us would probably choose to freeze it, just so we could buy ourselves a few more minutes, hours or even days to get something done.
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But you can buy yourself more time — because right now, you are wasting a whole lot of it. When you find out the silly ways in which most of us waste our limited, precious moments, you may rethink some of your time-wasting habits.


Twenty-four hours in a day is simply not enough, but is it? Most people work all day, come home, cook dinner, spend time with the family, go to bed and then do it all over again — it’s the proverbial hamster wheel. But what if you could conjure up another hour or two each day? If you examine your life and your habits close enough, you may be able to get that extra time. You may also find that that many of the things that are sucking up time in your daily life are unnecessary.

Here are some of your everyday time-sucks:


According to a Gallup poll, the average worker spends 46 minutes commuting to and from work. It’s no wonder that people who live closer to work have substantially more happiness. The easy solution for this would be to move closer to work, but if that’s not possible, see if you can shift the times you drive to and from work to avoid peak traffic periods.
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We all enjoy a good “timeout” experience here and there, but television is one thing that is sucking up heaps our time. The average American spends around three hours per day watching television — that’s a lot of TV. And, a significant amount of that time is wasted on watching TV ads.


Even after we’ve had our fill of television; in comes social media. There’s an undeniable shift in our culture toward it, and we all need a social life, but how much is too much?  A U.S. poll indicated that most people spend an average of forty minutes to an hour everyday on Facebook alone. Time spent on Twitter and Snapchat averages around 17 minutes per day.

Take some time to evaluate just how much time you’re spending on these social media platforms, and how much value they really add to your day.


It’s easy to get lost in the la la land of down time. By finding something to do when you’re waiting for an appointment, a friend or for your car to be washed, “down time” does not become wasted time.


They say the most successful people in the world have morning and/or night routines that they stick to. This keeps them on task and saves time. Instead of being a victim to your lack of routine, stick to a schedule.


It’s easy to say “yes.” We all want to be helpful. But how about saying “no” instead? Sometimes, as much as you want to, you cannot afford to take on someone else’s task. Say “no” when you can, and pay yourself in time.


Is there anything you’re doing that you can delegate to someone else? We often do things we don’t necessarily need to out of pure habit or a need for control when, in actuality, someone else could get it done just as well. Let go, and you will gain some space in your schedule.


Give yourself reasonable time limits to complete tasks. That way, you’re not lingering on any one thing. It’s easy to lose track of how much time you’re spending on something when your mind is aimlessly wondering elsewhere, or you play the stop-and-go game. For example, does it really take an hour to finish that chapter? Or finish that report? Probably not. Use time limits to maximize your efficiency.


Most of the time-wasting habits we have at work stem directly from boredom. That’s because when we are bored, we find ways to occupy our mind in some way.


Oftentimes our first distraction ends up being the Internet. Some 64% of people surveyed by indicated that they spend time surfing non-work related websites every day, while they are on company time. Why can’t people focus 100% of the time while at work? Perhaps they are simply not challenged enough.


But we can’t blame all of the time that is wasted at work on the Internet. Survey participants also stated that sorting through and answering work emails can take up to a whopping 20% of an their time, while 47% say attending too many meetings took up the bulk of their time.


As such, workplace time-sucks are the result of either the lack of challenging (or engaging) work or poor planning. Meetings about planning another meeting, fixing frivolous mistakes and answering heaps of email messages — all of these are time-sucks that are costing you (or your employer) money. When it comes to work time-sucks, get engaged, get productive and you will save time.

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