If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the last couple of years, it’s that time is precious. That’s why I’ve considered carefully these things that waste your time and am sharing them in an effort to help you save time for the more important things in life.
What we choose to do with our time impacts not only our happiness but our relationships, careers, and health too.
While I used to waste time on lots of seemingly “harmless” things that satisfied my immediate needs- scrolling through social media or trying to multitask – over time this began to take its toll on my life.
I started becoming more aware of how much time I was wasting. When I began setting boundaries and being more intentional with what I did with my time, it actually felt like a weight had been lifted off of me.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I still scroll through social media, but I’m a lot more aware of how much time I spend doing this.
These time wasting activities I’m going to mention may be holding you back your life in some way. And every little thing counts when it comes to gaining time for what’s truly important.
- 1. Endless scrolling through social media
- 2. Procrastinating
- 3. Worrying about other people’s perception of you & things you can’t control
- 4. Taking shortcuts
- 5. Pointless online shopping
- 6. Failing to say ‘no’
- 7. Multitasking
- 8. Perfectionism
- 9. Being a people pleaser
- 10. Toxic relationships
- 11. Not living intentionally
- 12. Clutter
- Recap of 12 things that waste your time
- More resources & help
1. Endless scrolling through social media
In today’s world of social media, it can be tempting to spend hours scrolling through your feed. The more you scroll, the more likely you are to find things that interest you and make your day feel a little less stressful or boring. But at what cost?
Endless scrolling through social media can actually be counter-productive to achieving your overall goals.
How many times have you caught yourself scrolling on your phone for hours only to realise that something you really wanted to do today – be it go to the gym, meet up with friends, cook a meal – now feels less appealing?
When we spend so long on social media, our brains tend to forget the things we actually value and want to do with our free time.
If you find yourself scrolling through social media a lot, make a conscious effort to stop after 10 minutes
Sit back in your chair and take some deep breaths – mentally remind yourself of all the things you want or need to do in your life today that are important to you.
We all have that one dreaded task that we really should do – but, for some reason or another, don’t.
Maybe it’s laundry, the ironing pile or paying bills – whatever it is you’re putting off, there are a million reasons why you might be doing this.
Maybe you find yourself thinking ‘I’ll do it later’ or ‘I’m just too busy to do it right now’, whatever the case you’re delaying doing something that needs to be done.
There are countless reasons why people procrastinate – sometimes the task is just too hard or too boring, and other times our internal resistance can be holding us back from completing it.
Try not to let yourself slide into this way of thinking. Be honest with yourself and pinpoint the things that are important to you – if something needs doing, find a way to do it.
3. Worrying about other people’s perception of you & things you can’t control
The opinions of others are just that – their opinions. And it’s hard to control someone else’s perception of you. Focus on being the best you possible and worry less about others’ thoughts on you.
Be mindful of the time you spend worrying about what other people think or say – these are wasted thoughts that only serve to make you feel worse.
Give yourself permission to worry less about what others think and focus on taking care of yourself. This could mean getting enough sleep, exercising or giving yourself some ‘you’ time. You’ll thank yourself later.
You can’t control everything and you never will – so why spend wasted time worrying about things you have no power over?
Life is full of uncertainties and there are some things that we simply cannot change. By all means, plan ahead and do what needs to be done, but don’t spend your whole life worrying about the future.
Instead, focus on the things that are in your control – you have the ability to influence them and change them. Whether it’s planning your holiday, cooking a nice meal or exercising, identify what needs doing and do it.
4. Taking shortcuts
We all love cutting corners in order to save time, but sometimes taking shortcuts can have negative consequences.
The danger of taking a shortcut is that it often makes us waste our time in the long run.
For example, you might compromise a task at work just so you can go for a quick drink with friends – but if this becomes a habit, your boss will start noticing and it will come back to bite you in the behind!
You may be asked to stay behind in work so you can catch up on the tasks you took shortcuts in, which ultimately wastes your time (and likely others’ too).
5. Pointless online shopping
This includes buying items that are on sale but not at a price that reflects their value, buying things just because they’re discounted, or purchasing things impulsively.
If you’re not careful, shopping online can become a huge time waster. FIrstly, scrolling through online shopping sites is similar to scrolling through social media.
Social media shows the perfect lives that others have (even though we know that Facebook isn’t real life). Online stores tell us that if we have this or that item, we will succeed or be loved or feel better.
Secondly, the more we buy, the more things we have to deal with. Whether it’s washing more clothes or dusting around things or having to declutter when it all gets too much.
If you’re prone to pointless online shopping, set yourself some ground rules, or it will eat your time and money up.
6. Failing to say ‘no’
This is a challenge for many busy people – when someone asks you something it can be hard to decline, if only because we want to be nice and avoid conflict.
However, this wastes your time in the long run. If you’re worried about what will happen if you do decline, think about the consequences of saying yes.
Whether it’s agreeing to go out for dinner when you’ve got a deadline, doing an extra task at work or replying to every email you receive, thinking ahead is better than wasting your time dealing with something later on.
This wastes our time because when we try to do too many things at once, we often don’t do each task very well.
When we try to switch between different types of tasks, it takes time for us to get back into the ‘zone’ and focus on what needs doing.
For example, you might start writing a report but then receive a message from a friend. When you reply the report is put on hold while you chat with your friend and then when you go back to finish it, another message comes through and the cycle continues.
By finishing the report first and then making time to respond to your friend, you’ll waste less time in the long run.
It may sound counterintuitive, but you could actually waste more time by spending ages trying to do something perfectly than just getting it done.
You can always come back and edit or update later on, but if you don’t get it finished in the first place then nothing will happen!
If you’re finding that you’re spending time making a decision out of fear to make the wrong one.
Remember: it’s impossible to do something well if you never start.
9. Being a people pleaser
If you’re a ‘people pleaser’, then you may find that it takes up a lot of time and wastes your energy.
Trying to keep everyone around us happy is difficult because we can’t control the moods of others, only our own.
There will always be someone displeased with your choices, so make decisions based on what feels right for you – not someone else.
10. Toxic relationships
Relationships can be tricky and toxic relationships can’t always be avoided. But if you find yourself in a relationship that causes stress and nothing but, then it’s worth considering whether this is the right relationship for you.
There may come a time when the only way to move forward and free up your time is to end the relationship.
This includes people who are negative, controlling, manipulative, or make you feel bad about yourself in some way . People like this are energy vampires — they love to take away the positive energy of others.
It’s better for your own mental health and happiness to distance yourself from people like this rather than allow them to continue having a negative influence on your life.
11. Not living intentionally
You can’t control everything that happens to you, but you can control what you do with the things that happen in your life. It’s important to always ask yourself why you’re doing something and how it impacts your happiness and wellbeing.
If you’re spending too much time on something, it’s worth taking a step back and asking yourself if that activity is in line with the life you want to live.
Time management is a key factor in intentional living. By living intentionally, we make time for the things we want to do and spend less time doing things that are less important in our lives.
Whether it’s physical junk, stuff that you’re not ready to let go of or mental clutter taking up space in your mind, all forms of clutter are just time-wasters.
A cluttered space makes it difficult to find things when you need them, which takes more time than it would have taken to just put them in the right place in the first place.
Each item in your home adds a job for you to do. Excess clothes means more laundrey. Lots of ornaments means more dusting for you to do.
Make your spaces clean and uncluttered, and you’ll see that you won’t waste as much time on ‘things’ and will have more time to spend time doing what you love with the people you love.
Decluttering will have a positive impact on your life – both mentally and physically.
If you need some help on where to get started with decluttering your home, read How To Declutter Your House In One Day: Room To Room and How To Get Motivated To Clean When Overwhelmed By Mess.
Recap of 12 things that waste your time
If you want to stop wasting time on things that don’t make you happy, create more time in your schedule by following my list of 12 things that waste your time:
The 12 items on this list of things that waste your time are all activities and habits we often find ourselves doing. These are easy to replace with something better, which can result in a lot more free time for other things you want to do.
It’s time to take a break from those things that waste your time every day and focus on what really matters.
We all know how important it is to live in the moment, but if you don’t make an effort to stop checking social media or notifications during work hours, then there will never be any room for living in the present moment.
Remember that we’re only here once and wasting our precious moments with mindless tasks is not going to do anything good for ourselves or others around us.
More resources & help
Below are some further resources you may find helpful in saving precious time and living a more intentional life:
- Being Intentional With Your Life: 12 Ways to be Intentional Every Day
- 21 Simple Living Tips To Reduce Every Day Stress
- Disconnect to Reconnect: The Significance of a Digital Detox
- How To Get Motivated To Clean When Overwhelmed By Mess
- How To Declutter Sentimental Items Without The Overwhelming Guilt
- The Best Ways Of Storing And Organising Paperwork At Home
- How To Organise Your Life & Simplify Your Days
- How To Be Ruthless When Decluttering Clothes: An Essential Guide
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