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50 Worst Things That Waste Your Time – Guilty or Nah?

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Do you ever reach the end of the day and feel like you haven’t accomplished anything? If so, you’re not alone. There’s a non-stop parade of things that waste your time to choose from, but if you’re able to raise your awareness about them, you can work to avoid their siren song and stop them from becoming a bad habit.

Each individual on this planet gets 86,400 seconds or 24 hours daily, and you get to decide what to do with every second passing.

Whether you use or waste the moments you have, you always face the consequences and results accordingly. In this blog post, we’ll discuss 50 of the most common things that waste time and how to avoid them.

Things that Waste Your Time

Taking responsibility starts with first recognizing what the problem is. You can’t fix a problem you don’t know exists. That’s why this list will help you realize the value of your time and recognize all the little ways you might be wasting it. 

Once you notice these time-wasting habits, you can eliminate them from your routine. 

A young woman wasting time on social media

How Do People Waste Their Time? 

Here are 5o everyday things that waste time, and – as the greatest philosophers and sages remind us – wasting time is paramount to wasting life.

How many of these time-wasting activities are you guilty of? Read on to find out!

1. Endless scrolling on social media

Need we say more? Browsing endlessly through social media throughout the day is one of the biggest time wasters of the modern-day individual. 

Set a usage limit or create a time limit for these apps. You can also hide your phone in a different room to make it challenging to reach it to encourage you to use it less. 

2. Chronic phone checking 

This point connects with the previous point about browsing social media endlessly.

What leads to endless browsing is checking our phones again and again. This is one of the biggest time wasters as you get sucked into a spiral of checking different things on your phone. 

3. Online shopping addiction

With online shopping made so convenient, your shopping addiction has never been easier to feed. Cut back on online shopping and see how it saves you time, energy, and money. 

4. Aimlessly Browsing the Web 

It’s not just social media that can suck you in. It’s the internet in general if you are not careful. 

5. Hobbies you don’t enjoy

Hobbies should be fun, not feel like a chore. If you didn’t enjoy the first half of the book, there’s no need to finish it. If knitting no longer tickles your fancy, it’s okay to try something new – no more guilt!

6. Doing Other People’s Work 

Value your time and get your work done first. 

7. Staying in a Job You Hate

Life’s too short to be spending on a job you hate. Find work that fills you with purpose and happiness. 

8. The illusion of control

Ruminating on things that are outside of your control is pointless. Save yourself from it by focusing on the things you can control and living in the present. 

9. Complaining 

Instead of complaining, look for ways to strategize and get what you want.

It’s no coincidence happiest people in the world rarely complain, no matter how bad their life might be – they always look for the bright side.

10. Non-stop email checking 

It’s easy to spend a big chunk of your day answering, reading, and sending emails, and then before you know it, the day is nearly over. A better method might be for you to designate specific times during the day to reply to your emails and only work in that set window of time.

11. Losing sleep

Getting a good night’s sleep is paramount to productivity. If you don’t take care of your sleep, you don’t get anything done, which wastes your time. So, catch some Zs!

12. Toxic relationships

Life’s too short to waste it maintaining relationships with toxic people. We only have so much time in the day. So, we should be careful who we spend it with. 

13. Too much TV or Netflix

Mindlessly watching television is another common time-waster – Netflix binge, anyone?

14. Not having a proper place for your things 

Did you know the average American wastes almost one hour each day looking for things they own but can’t find? Keep things in place, so you don’t have to look for them later.

15. Multitasking 

Multitasking is often thought of as being productive, but it can be a waste of time if you try to do too much at the same time. You work hard on many different things but end up with a bunch of half-finished projects.

16. Overscheduling 

There is only so much we can do at one time. By overfilling your schedule, you may find that you are getting nothing done because your mind is distracted by so many different things.

Keep your schedule minimal. This way, you will know what you genuinely have time for. 

17. Forgetfulness 

How many times have you had a fantastic idea occur to you before bedtime or while exercising at the gym, only to forget about it later? Or had to pay a late fee or missed an appointment because you neglected to write it down?

Jot down any good ideas you have as they come to you, and keep your schedule up to date – it will surely pay off!

18. Low motivation

It’s hard to get things done when you have no motivation. Pay attention to what inspires and motivates you, so you know what works when your motivation gets low. It might be listening to music while you work or promising yourself you get to catch up on your favorite podcast while you do the dishes.

Everyone’s different, so figure out what works for you!

19. Excessive clutter

Studies show that excess clutter can reduce productivity, increase stress and anxiety, or even cause weight gain and insomnia! Not only does clearing the clutter save you time, but it also saves you space, money, and energy!

Here is the complete guide to decluttering your home, should you need help with this.

20. Caring what other people think about you

Repeat after me: “What other people think of me is none of my business.” Remember, you can’t control what other people think about you, but you can manage your reaction to them.

It’s a complete waste of time to worry about what others think about you; instead, focus on living a life you love.

Coffee next to a quote about things that are a waste of time: "Regrets are a waste of time."

21. Holding grudges 

Grudges are a waste of mental energy. More often than not, the grudge and all those negative emotions that come with it hurt you more than the person you are holding a grudge against.

Remember, living well is the best revenge you can get, so make it a point to let go of the past and reclaim your happiness here and now.

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22. Worrying 

Worry is one of the most pointless emotions – a waste of our time! Yet, most of us can’t stop doing it. If you are worried about something, take action to solve the problem instead. If it is out of your hands, then let it be.

Instead, you can focus on other things that require your attention. 

23. Arguments

Most arguments don’t deserve your time. It’s exceedingly rare to change someone’s opinion by arguing, so why bother?

24. Micro-managing 

This doesn’t apply to you if you manage people at work, but also to parents or spouses who tend to micro-manage their family members. Yes, people need to be held accountable for their responsibilities, but give them space and don’t nitpick too much. 

25. Trying to please everyone

Pleasing everyone is impossible, so it’s best not to waste your time trying. 

26. Saying “yes” too easily 

Start saying “no” to things that waste your time and get you side-tracked, and you will realize how much time it saves you. 

27. Going too fast

Haste makes waste, and it’s better to take your time doing something well versus rushing through it, making mistakes, and spending extra time correcting them.

28. Long phone calls 

Do you have a friend or relative that can talk your ear off for what feels like hours? If you tend to get calls like this, try not to answer every it – at least not right away or when you are busy.

Let go of the pressure to pick up the link and instead text them that you are busy and call back whenever appropriate. 

29. Engaging in negative self-talk

Self-criticism is a waste of time that never leads you anywhere other than sadness and anxiety. 

Saying no to this time-wasting habit doesn’t come easily to everyone, so here’s a list of 200+ “you are amazing” quotes you can copy down to remind yourself of what positive self-talk should look like!

30. Lack of intention

Do the things that are worth doing in your life with focus, intention, and mindfulness.

A productive woman not wasting time at work on her computer with a glass hourglass on the desk

31. Ignoring your need for rest 

Not taking a break can be highly counter-productive to your time and health. Take a break and recharge when you require R&R. 

32. Perfectionism

Perfection is an illusion. Focus on getting things done and done well, but not perfect.

33. Gossiping

Talking about other people is neither productive nor beneficial. You will not get better at your job or achieve big things in life if you spend time gossiping about others. 

34. Being Indecisive 

Make your choices, or someone else will make them for you. 

35. Biting off more than you can chew

Taking on too much drains your energy and tuckers you out, leading to feeling overwhelmed.

36. Comparing yourself to others

There’s a reason Theodore Roosevelt said that comparison is the thief of joy – in fact, here are five reasons!

37. 24/7 News updates

It can be easy to get swept up in the daily news cycle. If you’re finding that the news is stressing you out, it might be time to limit your exposure.

38. Reading the tabloids

Do we benefit from knowing who is wearing what or who broke up with who? There are plenty more important ways you could be spending your time.

39. Interruptive notifications

If you’re not proactive in managing your notifications, you will have no control over your time. 

40. Oversharing on social media

No one needs to be told every single update of your life. Save your time and enjoy some privacy.

41. Procrastinating 

It’s easier to take care of things now and have less to do later. If you’re constantly putting things off, you’ll end up with a seemingly never-ending to-do list that will stress you out more than it needs to.

Make things easier on yourself and take care of business as soon as possible.

“Procrastination is the thief of time.”

Charles Dickens

42. Ignoring your health 

Your health is your wealth, so drink plenty of water, exercise regularly, and get your annual check-up at the doctor’s and dentist’s offices. The most precious thing you have is time, and your time will go a lot further if your health is excellent!

43. Playing video games

It’s easy to get carried away by video games for hours. The next thing you know, your day has gone by without you even realizing it. It’s okay to play but set boundaries for your time so you don’t lose too much time gaming your life away.

44. The waiting game 

Of course, slowing down has its place, but if you sit around waiting for good things to happen to you with no action on your part, you will be waiting forever! So, go out and make things happen when you have big goals and dreams.

45. Unwarranted rudeness

If you don’t have something nice to say, it’s best not to waste your time saying negative things. 

46. Too many meetings

Decline unnecessary meetings if you know your time needs to be focused elsewhere. 

47. Lack of a to-do list

If you keep a mental list, you will likely forget things and manage your time poorly. To-do lists can be your savior and save you tons of time. 

48. Winging it vs. having a plan

Planning allows you to have a streamlined day where you know what needs to be done and when. As a result, you save time and actually get things done. 

49. Not batching errands 

If you have similar errands or tasks, batch them together instead of doing them one at a time. This is a great time-saving hack and can save you money on fuel or public transport, dashing to-and-fro.

50. Prioritizing the wrong things 

When you don’t have a direction in life, it’s easy to get caught up in prioritizing the wrong stuff. Take a moment to reflect on your priorities and assess what’s best for your life and time. 

Final thoughts about things that waste your time

So, how many of these time-wasting activities were you guilty of?

If there were a lot on your list, don’t worry too much because we all are guilty to some degree! The goal wasn’t to make you feel bad about what you do or aren’t doing but to help you be more mindful going forward.

Sometimes, it’s not what you do but what you need to stop doing; often, it’s both — wishing you all the best in finding the right balance for yourself!

📌 This post about time-wasting habits as a reminder

A woman raising her hands to the sky after quitting all the things that waste time

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