11 Time Wasters You Should Give Up in 2022

Between work, kids, and family responsibilities, do you find yourself saying there is just no time for exercise, seeing friends, cooking, or hobbies? Well, this article on how you can scrape time back from your life every day is for you.

All That Times Adds Up

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The alarm sounds, you grab your phone, and you immediately check your notifications. Email, Facebook, text messages, the news – you name it, in a matter of minutes, you've started your day feeding your urges.

With what seems like just a few minutes to spare, you quickly find yourself scrambling for more time as you get ready just to rush to work. Perhaps you left your coffee behind and forgot the proposal sitting on the desk in your office. Frazzled and possibly disheveled, as you drive frantically to work, you say to yourself, “There is simply not enough time in the day.”

… or is there and you're just not avoiding time wasters that are stealing your time?

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Successful People Don't Waste Their Time

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We all have 24 hours in a day. There are exactly 60 minutes in each hour, and within each minute is 60 seconds for a total of 86,400 seconds per day. And while a few seconds here and a few seconds there might not seem like a big deal in the moment, over time, it all adds up. For example:

  • The person who spends 5 minutes a day looking for stuff will spend over a day per year in totality… looking for stuff
  • 25 minutes a day on social media equates to almost one week per year looking at social media
  • Checking your email every hour takes time but also distracts you and can be detrimental to your train of thought/focus

All this to say that contrary to popular belief, what separates most people from achieving their goals vs. not isn't talent or intellect. No, the solution is more simple than that.

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11 Time Wasters To Avoid This Year

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Real quick, before you keep reading, open it up if you're on your phone and it has a screen time feature. Look at your screen use yesterday. The total amount of time will probably shock you.

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Social Media

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Social media is a way to connect with friends, grow followers for your brand/company and kill some time when you're bored at the DMV or doctor's office. However, what many common users don't know about social media is that social media channels are not competing with each other… they're competing with your time.

Think about the recent Facebook commercials promoting their unique groups. The more you're on their platform, the more ad spaces they can sell and the more ad revenue they can generate.

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It's the Biggest Time Waster

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According to Statista, in 2018, the average social media user worldwide spent 136 minutes per day on social media. Up 46 minutes from 2012.

  • Almost 16 hours per week
  • 64 hours per month
  • 34 full days per year

In other words, if you spend 2+ hours per day on social media, you will spend an entire month per year on social media. So instead of spending a month on your cell phone looking at other people's lives, try this instead.

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How To Avoid Social Media Time-wasting

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  • Set limits on your phone for social media apps
  • Delete all apps from phone
  • Get web browser plugins and set limits for websites (I get 10 minutes on Facebook and Twitter combined)
  • Move your social media icons around on your phone to avoid subconscious boredom habit

Another tip that is more extreme but worth it create an accountability system with yourself and a friend/spouse/family member. Delete apps from the phone, log out of websites and have our accountability partner hold you accountable (and you do the same).

What is scarier, with the rise of cell phone use and social media – television and video screen time hasn't dropped. It has actually increased!

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Television & Video Streaming Time Wasters

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In 2018, according to Tech Crunch, the average adult in the U.S. was spending a whopping six hours per day watching something! In other words, the average adult is watching three months' worth of videos and television in a given year!

While the majority of watching has shifted to streaming, and adults can certainly spend time watching TV while on social media – the facts are downright scary:

“Watching too much TV can triple our hunger for more possessions while reducing our personal contentment by about 5 percent for every hour a day we watch.” — David Niven

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How To Avoid Spending Too Much Behind the Screen

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  • Use TV time as a reward for doing something productive
  • OR, only watch TV when you're doing cardiovascular exercise
  • Set screen time limits on your Netflix or YouTube apps
  • Read instead of watching television
  • Limit yourself to six hours per week
  • Don't compromise with yourself

Time Wasted on Emails

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At home, people waste their time watching TV. Adults use social media at work and at home, but they also waste time on something else: Studies show that 33% of the time at work is spent on email, and for those who complete work outside of work hours, 50% of their time is using email.

In other words, if you work at home or in an office, a lot of your time is spent sitting behind a computer screen on email. And yes, some of this time spent on email is necessary, but on the other hand, some of it is also super wasteful.

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Problems With Spending Lots of Time on Emails

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Issue #1 with email: It distracts you from getting more important work done.

Issue #2 with email: An email can affect your mood

Issue #3 with email: Email is really a to-do list, simply put. So if you can't get stuff done at the moment, then don't check it.

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How To Stop Wasting Time on Emails

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Schedule time to check email and stick to it. As Tim Ferriss says, even include it in your signature that you only check your email at certain times of the day. Limit yourself to 2-3 email checks per day to focus attention on more important tasks.

Don't check emails that will upset you. If you get an email from someone you know might have some not-so-kind words or news, don't read it! Especially on Friday or over the weekend. Implement a no email policy Friday at lunch until Monday morning. A bad email can do more harm and very little good, especially to your mood and productivity!

When you check it, do it! Called the one-touch policy. If you read an email, take care of it right then and there. “But what if I can't take care of it then?” Don't read it. Save it until you know you can handle the email. Think of your email as a meeting. Every time you check it, you're agreeing to “meet” that email's demands. If you can't meet them, don't check it and treat your inbox like a to-do list!

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Misplacing Stuff Also Wastes Time

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Every day when I get home, I follow this routine:

  1. Keys go on hook
  2. Sunglasses go on the table in the foyer
  3. Empty lunchbox in the sink
  4. Lunchbox goes on top of the fridge
  5. Backpack goes under a specific end table

But why is my routine when I get home important? Because the next morning when I am going to work, everything is exactly where I placed it! In other words – I spend minimal time getting out the door, and I waste zero time looking for things.

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How Much Time Looking For Stuff?

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Depending on studies, the average adult spends 1-2 days per year looking for misplaced items such as:

  1. Remotes to TV (See #2)
  2. Cell Phones
  3. Car Keys
  4. Glasses
  5. Shoes
  6. Purse or Wallet

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How To Stop Misplacing Things

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  1. Identify what you misplace the most.
  2. Figure out a place to keep your commonly lost items you waste time looking for
  3. Develop routines around your belongings and before you go to bed, rehearse it in your head
  4. Have designated places at work and at home to keep things such as a hook, a drawer, a space on a counter, etc.

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Commuting Is a Huge Time Suck

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Depending on where you live and where you work, commuting can be a huge time waster! If you happen to be someone who has to commute into the city on a bus or train – you're wasting a lot of your precious time.

However, there are options, and we can only control what we can control. Here are your choices when it comes to cutting back on commuting:

  1. You can find a job with a shorter commute
  2. You can figure out how to be super productive when you do commute

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Change Your Job To Save Time

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While this might not sound simple, but changing your job is the best way to cut back on wasting your time sitting in a car. If you spend more than one hour per day commuting, whether you want to believe it or not – it might be time to figure something out.

  • One hour a day commuting is = 20 hours per month
  • Two hours commuting per day is = 40 hours or one additional workweek per month

If you commute two hours or more per day for a year straight, that is like working an additional 12 weeks (or three months) for free.

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How To Be Productive During Your Commute

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If changing your job just isn't in the fold and commuting is just the nature of the beast, figure out ways to be productive instead of wasting your time commuting. Here are some ideas:

  • Listen to audiobooks on your drive
  • Carpool so you can do work on your way to work
  • Bus or Train? Do your email on the way to work so you can spend less time doing email at work
  • Make business calls on the way if you're in sales or need to call others

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Being Sick Is a Total Time Waster

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Getting sick is one thing – you can't always control that. However, being ill and staying sick can become a total time waster if you're not careful. So, before you shut me out, keep reading this.

When you're sick, you can't do as much, and you end up wasting time (though not as intentional as wasting time social media browsing), but being sick is still a total time waster.

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How To Avoid Being Sick

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  • Workout 3-4x per week
  • Take your vitamins (helps combat inadequate diet)
  • When people are sick at work, eat more fruits and vegetables
  • Get vitamin C
  • Keep yourself mentally healthy (see below)

Side Note: You don't decide when you get sick, but mentally you can control how long you “Stay Sick” based on what you tell yourself. If you repeatedly keep reminding yourself you're sick, you don't feel good, and “You always get sick,”… well, there is a high likelihood you will continue to get sick more often.

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The Gym

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Wait, the gym can be a time-waster? Yes – the gym is a total time waster if you're not careful. It is really easy to lose track of time at the gym when you don't have a plan, you're on your cell phone, or you show up and take two minutes between each set.

While most people struggle to get to the gym, congrats to you for going. Now it is time to make sure you don't waste time at the gym.

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How to Not Waste Time at the Gym

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  • Have a workout plan or at least a plan for your trip
  • Limit yourself to one hour tops at the gym
  • If your gym offers classes, use them
  • Use a stopwatch in between sets for quick and efficient, higher intensity workouts.
  • Avoid checking your phone in between exercises (use Bluetooth headphones- they're really cheap here) by placing your phone in a locker.

While wasting time at the gym might not seem like a big deal, here is why you need to be mindful of it. As you start/grow your family, get more entrenched in your career, gym time can be hard to come by. So it's best to create efficient gym habits now that way you don't feel like you “Don't have any time for the gym.”

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Web Browsing

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Personal note – this 100% is my biggest issue regarding time-wasting. I will be working on a project at work, a blog post, you name it – and all of a sudden, I am on a social media channel. Or I am reading the same darn ESPN article I already read.

Either way, it got to a point where I was just frustrated with myself for wasting time and getting distracted.

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Tips To Avoid Wasting Time on the Internet

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  • Use the ‘Waste No Time' browser extension
  • Set limits for your common time-wasting websites (for me, it's ESPN, Facebook, Twitter)
  • Unfavorite websites you waste time on
  • When you can turn off WiFi to get work done
  • See #3, but avoid email because that can lead to internet surfing

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Cleaning

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Yes, we got to clean up after ourselves. But no, we don't have to spend several hours a week doing it (We include me in this scenario). Starting and stopping the dishes, halfway vacuuming the living room- all of this is a complete time waster. Why?

Because I can't get it all done, instead of halfway cleaning and thus wasting valuable time where I could spend time with family and friends, there are tips to clean your house efficiently.

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How To Clean Your House More Efficiently

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  1. Schedule time to clean
  2. Create routines around your cleaning. Such as dusting, counters, then vacuuming from the top down.
  3. Split tasks with spouse/partner/roommates
  4. Don't get overconsumed with everything being perfect (see #10 below).

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Obsessions

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Sometimes some of our habits (for good or for bad) can become slightly obsessive. Like obsessively checking our phone when we are at a social event. Or me reading ESPN over and over again.

Some of our obsessions can turn into complete and total time wasters. For example, I can't stand clutter, so I constantly declutter things but do not really accomplish anything. So if you're someone who has some obsessions like Netflix, video games, or even cleaning – see how you can limit yourself!

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Distractions

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At the end of the day, everything listed above can be one of two things:

  1. Something you do here and there
  2. Something that can become a total time waster

Checking your Facebook feed isn't always a waste of time, but looking at your Facebook when you should be working on a proposal – well, that is a time-waster, but really it's a distraction.

And the whole reason you want to avoid these common time wasters is that they ultimately DISTRACT YOU from important things you should be doing. Anything can be a time waster if it distracts you. Listening to podcasts, watching YouTube videos, or getting up to go to the bathroom (me) every 10 minutes can be very distracting.

And the entire point of minimizing time wasters is to avoid distractions—period. So stop wasting time to mitigate distractions so you can get things done and enjoy the things you truly love doing!

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This article was produced by Money Life Wax and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.

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Josh writes about ways to make money, pay off debt, and improve yourself. After paying off $200,000 in student loans with his wife in less than four years, Josh started Money Life Wax and has been featured on Forbes, Business Insider, Huffington Post and more! In addition to being a life-long entrepreneur, Josh and his wife enjoy spending time with their chocolate lab named Morgan, working out, helping others with their debt and recommend using Personal Capital to track your finances.