If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the last couple of years, it’s that time is precious. And 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 personal 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 the amount of 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 – like pampering yourself, spending time with your family members, learning new skills.
You might also like:
- The Importance of Time: 8 Reasons Why Time is Important In Our Lives
- Simple Ways To Be Intentional With Your Time, Energy & Money
- 101 Simple Joys of Life We Must Not Forget
- Being Intentional With your Life: 12 Ways to be Intentional Every Day
- An Important 13 Step Guide to Remembering Who You Are
- Here are 30 things that waste your time each day:
- 1. Endless scrolling through social media
- 2. Procrastinating
- 3. Worrying about other people's perceptions
- 4. Taking shortcuts
- 5. Pointless online shopping
- 6. Failing to say 'no'
- 7. Multitasking
- 8. Striving for perfection
- 9. Being a people pleaser
- 10. Toxic relationships
- 11. Not living intentionally
- 12. Clutter
- 13. Engaging in addictive behaviour
- 14. Sleeping too much
- 15. Dwelling on negative thoughts
- 16. Constantly checking notifications
- 17. Overloading on unnecessary responsibilities
- 18. Waiting for the 'perfect' moment
- 19. Unnecessary meetings
- 20. Complaining or gossiping
- 21. Dwelling on the past
- 22. Holding grudges
- 23. Worrying about things beyond our control
- 24. Spending too much time on personal grooming
- 25. Endless planning without action
- 26. Too much TV or video games
- 27. Avoiding challenging or uncomfortable situations
- 28. Mindlessly snacking or indulging in unhealthy eating habits
- 29. Engaging in excessive online debates or arguments
- 30. Indecisiveness
- Recap of 30 things that waste your time
- More resources & help
Here are 30 things that waste your time each day:
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?
Did you know that the average person spends 2 hours and 31 minutes on social media every day?
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 you’ve missed out on something you really wanted to do today – be it go to the gym, meet up with friends or cook a healthy meal?
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. Freedom can help you to set a time limit and block certain apps on your phone if you find it difficult to put away.
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 more important things – if something needs doing, find simple ways to do it.
3. Worrying about other people’s perceptions
The opinions of others are exactly that – their opinions! And it’s pretty hard to control someone else’s perception of 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. Focus on being the best you possible and worry less about others’ thoughts on you.
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 use up a lot of your time. Firstly, scrolling through online shopping sites is similar to scrolling through social media.
Social media depicts 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 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.
But, you guessed it, this is a huge waste of 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.
If you finish the report first and then schedule time to respond to your friend, you’ll waste less time in the long run.
8. Striving for perfection
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.
The best way is to 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 effective way to move forward and free up your own time is to end the relationship. This includes negative people, those who are 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 to 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 laundry. 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 some of these articles:
- 13 Easy Things To Do When You Have Too Many Clothes
- 16 Frequent Causes Of Clutter & What We Can Do About It
- How to Make Decluttering Fun: 13 Exciting Ways
- Decluttering Rules: 13 Important Things To Do When Decluttering Your Home
13. Engaging in addictive behaviour
Engaging in addictive behaviours is simply a complete waste of time, as they consume our attention, energy, and resources without providing any real benefit or fulfillment.
Whether it’s smoking, excessive drinking, gambling or any other addictive habit, these behaviors create a vicious cycle that traps us in unproductive patterns.
Try breaking these habits – it’s not easy, but it’s more than worth the effort to get your life back on track.
14. Sleeping too much
Don’t get me wrong, I love my sleep. It feels great, no doubt, but sleeping too much can be a sneaky little time thief.
Most adults require anywhere from 6 to 8 hours of sleep per night, depending on our age and lifestyle (of course, you may need more if you have certain health issues). More than that can leave us feeling groggy, unproductive, and a tad out of sync with the world.
It can also result in us missing important tasks or activities, leading to wasted time. If you’re having trouble getting up in the morning, try setting an alarm for a specific time and avoid napping during the day.
15. Dwelling on negative thoughts
Dwelling on negative thoughts is like being stuck in a never-ending loop of gloom. Whether we’re stressing over what people are thinking about us, worrying about our future, or obsessing over a small mistake, it all takes time away from more productive activities.
To help break the cycle of negative thoughts, try saying these powerful affirmations for self-worth to yourself each day. Or write down your negative thoughts and then try to find solutions for each one. This can help give you the power to start making changes in your life.
16. Constantly checking notifications
Those pings and alerts and phone calls are always demanding our attention. But when we’re constantly reaching for our phones or refreshing our inboxes just to see if someone liked our post or sent us a message, it can become a real time-sucker.
We end up losing focus on the present moment and get trapped in this never-ending cycle of distraction. Make it a habit to limit your notification checking to specific times each day. Whether it means putting your phone in another room or getting an app blocker, decide what works best for you and stick with it.
17. Overloading on unnecessary responsibilities
The truth is, when we take on more than we can handle, we end up spreading ourselves too thin.
Our time gets devoured by tasks that often don’t even matter, leaving us exhausted and stressed.
We become masters of busywork, spending hours on trivial matters that could be better spent on things that actually bring joy and fulfillment.
So, let’s give yourself permission to say “no” to those unnecessary responsibilities and reclaim your precious time instead.
18. Waiting for the ‘perfect’ moment
Waiting for the perfect moment is one of the most common time wasters. You keep waiting for all the stars to align, for everything to be just right. But guess what? Life doesn’t come with an instruction manual or a perfect timing guide. While we wait for that elusive moment, precious opportunities slip away like sand through our fingers.
The truth is, there’s no such thing as the perfect moment. In fact, imperfect is the new perfect! Life’s all about embracing the imperfect, taking chances, and making the most of what we have right here, right now.
19. Unnecessary meetings
You know those meetings which could have just been resolved over an email or two? Yeah, those. They’re a giant time-waster! More often than not, the subject of the meeting is discussed in just a few minutes and the rest of the meeting is spent in idle chatter.
These unproductive meetings can easily be replaced with concise emails or quick phone conversations.
20. Complaining or gossiping
Complaining and gossiping may seem harmless, but they just waste valuable time, and are even harmful to ourselves.
When we complain, we’re basically venting our frustrations without actually doing anything constructive about them. It’s like spinning our wheels in mud, going nowhere fast.
And gossiping gets us tangled in a web of rumors and drama that serve no real purpose in our lives. Instead of focusing on our own growth and happiness, we’re caught up in other people’s business.
21. Dwelling on the past
Dwelling on the past is like replaying an old movie on repeat. It’s easy to get caught up in what could have been, should have been, or what we could have done differently. But no matter how much we dwell on it, we can’t change what’s already happened. Life keeps moving forward, and so should we.
Instead of getting stuck in the past, let’s focus on the present and the future. Embrace the lessons we’ve learned, appreciate the memories we’ve made, and use them as stepping stones for growth.
22. Holding grudges
Holding grudges can be a heavy burden to bear. Not only does it weigh us down with negative emotions and stress, but it also takes away valuable time that could have been spent on more productive activities.
It’s okay to feel hurt or betrayed by someone else – it’s natural when someone hurts us. But after the initial emotion passes, try not to carry those feelings around for too long. Working through the issue and forgiving can help you move on with your life.
23. Worrying about things beyond our control
Worrying about stuff we can’t control is an exercise in futility. We end up wasting precious time and mental energy on things that are simply beyond our grasp.
Instead of dwelling on the uncontrollable, why not focus on what we can actually influence?
24. Spending too much time on personal grooming
Don’t get me wrong, taking care of ourselves and looking presentable is important, but there’s a fine line between basic hygiene and obsessing over every tiny detail.
We often find ourselves spending excessive time in front of the mirror, fussing over our hair, trying on multiple outfits, or perfecting our makeup. While it’s nice to feel confident in our appearance, constantly fixating on it can become a major time-suck.
25. Endless planning without action
We sometimes get caught up in the trap of meticulously crafting elaborate plans and envisioning a future filled with success and accomplishment. And, while planning is important and can help us chart our course, if we get stuck in this perpetual cycle of planning without actually doing anything, it becomes a time-sucking black hole.
It’s like we’re spinning our wheels, convincing ourselves that we’re making progress when, in reality, we’re just stuck in a loop of unfulfilled potential. Time keeps ticking away, opportunities pass us by, and we’re left wondering why we haven’t achieved anything substantial.
Try to remember to strike a balance between planning and taking action, because ultimately, it’s the actions we take that propel us forward and make our dreams a reality.
26. Too much TV or video games
We all love a bit of entertainment and relaxation, but watching hours and hours of TV or getting sucked into video games is one of the biggest time wasters these is.
It’s easy to lose track of the time, and before you know it, you’ve wasted an entire day, or the whole weekend.
While it’s important to enjoy some screen time, it’s equally important to find a balance and ensure that we’re using our time wisely.
27. Avoiding challenging or uncomfortable situations
When we shy away from facing our fears or stepping out of our comfort zones, we’re essentially putting our personal growth on hold. Sure, it might feel easier and more comfortable to stay within familiar territory, but think about all the incredible opportunities we miss out on in the process.
By avoiding challenges, we rob ourselves of the chance to learn, improve, and expand our horizons. We remain stagnant while time keeps ticking away.
Embracing discomfort and facing challenges head-on may seem daunting at first, but it’s through these experiences that we grow stronger, gain new skills, and discover our true potential.
28. Mindlessly snacking or indulging in unhealthy eating habits
Do you ever sit on the sofa in front of the tv for hours munching on things without even realising it? Not only does this bad habit consume your precious time, but it also leads to a whole bunch of negative consequences. You may feel sluggish, guilty, or even regretful afterward. Plus, unhealthy eating habits can take a toll on your overall well-being, affecting your energy levels, productivity, and even your self-esteem.
Instead of wasting your time and jeopardising your health, why not try to make conscious, nutritious choices that will nourish your body and keep you on track for a more fulfilling day?
29. Engaging in excessive online debates or arguments
Sometimes we feel the need to defend our opinions or prove ourselves right. But let’s face it, most of these online skirmishes rarely lead to any meaningful resolution or change. Instead, they often turn into never-ending cycles of back-and-forth, with people stubbornly holding onto their positions. It’s like a black hole that sucks away our precious time and energy.
Next time you find yourself getting dragged into an online debate, try to take a step back and ask yourself if it’s really worth your time. Trust me, there are far better things to spend your precious time on.
It’s easy to get stuck in an endless cycle of indecision, especially when there are so many options out there. Make a decision and stick with it. That way, you’ll avoid wasting time second-guessing yourself or pondering over the possibilities for days on end.
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Recap of 30 things that waste your time
At the end of the day, these time-wasting habits need to be addressed and replaced with activities that bring value to our lives.
They’re easy to replace with something better, which can result in a lot more free time for the great things in our lives.
All of us have just 24 hours in a day, so it’s important to make the most of our time. Identifying the biggest things that waste your time can help you get back some extra hours in your schedule, or at least give you more awareness on how to use your time wisely!
More resources & help
Below are some further resources you may find helpful in saving precious time and living a more intentional life: