How much time are you wasting every year?

Wasting time is one of my pet hates. Quite frankly life is too short to waste a second, but we still do don’t we – every – single -day!

The average Brit wastes a staggering 590 hours a year doing meaningless tasks, according to new research.

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A nationwide survey of British adults has revealed that we waste one hour and 37 minutes each day on fruitless activity, such as cooking meals your children REFUSE to eat, attending pointless work meetings and searching high and low for lost phones.

This adds up to 590 hours a year, with 63 percent saying being stuck in traffic is life’s biggest waste of time.

Being put on hold came in second (55 percent), while languishing in shop queues came third (42 percent).

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Worrying about things you can’t do anything about (39 percent), resetting passwords (28 percent) and browsing social media on autopilot (28 percent) also made the list, along with watching films with disappointing endings (27 percent), twiddling thumbs while Wi-Fi connects (27 percent) and waiting for late trains (26 percent).

Despite, or perhaps because of, the hours we fritter away on pointless tasks, three in five Brits (62 percent) claim they are time poor and 85 percent believe modern life is to blame, with so many options on offer meaning there is a bigger capacity to waste time.

The study found, unsurprisingly, that 81 percent of us HATE wasting time, and 47 percent believe squandered time leads to reduced productivity.

It doesn’t just impact on our productivity: feeling that we’ve wasted precious time makes half of Brits (49 percent) feel frustrated and nearly one in five (17 percent) feel full of regret for all the misspent minutes.

More than half of us (52 percent) believe it’s not just your life that is thrown away because of pointless tasks, claiming that ‘time is money’.

wasting time

Richard Evans, head of technical services at who commissioned the poll said, ‘’We were not surprised to find that over 60 percent of Brits feel that they are time poor. Modern life offers so many opportunities and distractions and people are busier than ever before. It was also no surprise to learn that one in five motorists feel that time spent trying to sell their car is time wasted.’’

The study also found that almost three quarters of Brits simply hate to waste time on pointless chit-chat, and 13 percent said one of the most annoying drains on their time was listening to people talk endlessly about their holidays.

The study found that six in ten of us (63 percent) believe we’ll look back at life and feel sad about all the time we’ve wasted.  

When quizzed on what they would do if they could have all the needlessly spent time back, 59 percent said they would like to see more family and friends, 58 percent said they’d go travelling and 35 percent would love to learn a new skill, like a language.

How British people waste time

  1. Sitting in traffic – 63%
  2. Being on hold – 55%
  3. Queuing  – 42%
  4. Worrying about things you can’t do anything about – 39%
  5. Resetting passwords – 35%
  6. Browsing social media on autopilot – 28%
  7. Watching a film that turns out to be terrible – 27%
  8. Waiting for Wi-Fi to work – 27%
  9. Waiting on a broken down or late train/bus/tram – 26%
  10. Dwelling on your mistakes – 25%
  11. Listening to pointless voicemails – 16%
  12. Starting a diet, you will never keep – 16%
  13. Listening to people talk about their holidays – 13%
  14. Watching a bad box set or series – 12%
  15. Cooking food that your kids refuse to eat – 11%
  16. Pointless business meetings – 10%
  17. Searching for your phone – 8%

How to still be productive

How do you combat some of these things? Sometimes you will find that you can’t do anything about that waste of time, but most of the time there is something else you can do whilst waiting.

For example, if I’m on hold for ages I put the phone on load speaker and clean whilst I’m waiting. If I’m stuck in traffic I listen to a podcast that will benefit me, or if with the children I take the time to discuss something or play a game with them.

Waiting for the WiFi to connect is a big pet hate for me, so I go off and do something else, or take the time to have a de-clutter of my inbox, so my time waiting is still productive.

What’s your biggest waste of time?

1 comment

  1. Oh, goodness! What an eye opener! Some of the activities on the list made me smile, though. At work, I sometimes made alternative arrangements when I was invited to attend yet another 1-hour policy or process meeting about something I could have read and digested in 5 minutes. Food for thought. Thank you.

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