50 Harmful Yet Common Things That Waste Time

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50 everyday things that waste your time

If you’re here to read all about things that waste time, you’re in the right place!

You know, life has a funny way of slipping through our fingers, and before we know it, we find ourselves wondering where all the time went.

That’s why I want to talk about something that affects us all: those sneaky little time-wasters that hinder our personal development and prevent us from reaching our full potential. We all have them, and recognizing them is the first step toward reclaiming our precious time.

Why do people waste time?

Life is too short to waste your time, isn’t it?

Instant gratification

One common reason for wasting your time is simply the temptation of instant gratification. We live in a world of distractions, where endless entertainment and mindless scrolling are just a tap away.

It’s so tempting to indulge in those quick fixes that provide momentary pleasure, even if they don’t contribute to our long-term goals or personal growth. We get swept up in the moment, losing track of time without realizing it.

Fear and discomfort

Fear and discomfort can also play a part in wasting time. Sometimes, we avoid challenging or uncomfortable tasks because we’re afraid of failure, rejection, or simply stepping outside our comfort zones.

It’s easier to procrastinate or engage in mindless activities that distract us from the discomfort. But in doing so, we miss out on opportunities for growth and progress.


Another reason is the pressure to please others. As human beings, we naturally desire acceptance and validation from those around us. We may find ourselves constantly saying “yes” to requests and spreading ourselves too thin, trying to keep everyone happy.

But in the process, we neglect our own needs and priorities, wasting time on things that don’t truly align with our values or personal growth.


Indecisiveness can also be a time-waster. When we struggle to make decisions, we often end up stuck in a cycle of overthinking, analyzing, and second-guessing ourselves.

This can lead to precious time slipping away while we hesitate, unable to take action. Making choices and moving forward are important for progress and using our time effectively.


And let’s not forget about the allure of distraction. We live in an age where notifications constantly compete for our attention, pulling us away from what truly matters.

The buzzing of our phones, the pings of new messages—they can be incredibly tempting to check, even when we know we should be focusing on more important tasks. These interruptions can disrupt our flow and make it challenging to accomplish meaningful work.

How can I be intentional with my time?

First things first, start by setting clear goals and priorities. Ask yourself, “What truly matters to me? What do I want to achieve?” When we have a clear vision of what we want, it becomes easier to make decisions that align with our goals.

Next, let’s talk about the art of saying “no.” I know it can be tough, especially when we want to please everyone around us. But remember, saying “no” to things that don’t align with our priorities is saying “yes” to ourselves. It’s about protecting our time and energy for the things that truly matter.

Now, let’s tackle those sneaky time thieves. One of the biggest culprits is the digital world. Social media, endless browsing, and binge-watching can swallow our time without us even realizing it.

So, set boundaries. Create designated tech-free zones or specific time slots for digital indulgence. This way, you can enjoy your favorite online activities without falling into a time-wasting abyss.

Another way to be intentional with your time is to embrace the power of planning and organization. Take a few moments each day or week to map out your schedule, jot down tasks, and set reminders. This helps you stay focused and ensures that you allocate time for what truly matters.

And here’s a little secret: Multitasking is not your friend. While it may seem like you’re getting more done, studies have shown that our brains aren’t wired to handle multiple tasks simultaneously.

So, yes, believe it or not, this is actually one of the things that waste time. Instead, practice mindfulness and give your full attention to one task at a time. You’ll be amazed at how much more efficiently you can complete things.

Lastly, don’t forget the importance of self-care and rest. When we neglect ourselves, we become less productive and more susceptible to time-wasting habits.

So, schedule regular breaks, engage in activities that recharge you, and prioritize your well-being. Remember, a refreshed and energized you is a time-savvy you.

Now let’s talk about how people waste time and what you can do to avoid going down the same route.

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60 time-wasting activities and time-wasting habits to get rid of

1. Arguments

Stop wasting time arguing. Engaging in arguments is one of those things that wastes time and often leads to wasted emotional energy. Instead of focusing on productive solutions, arguments can spiral into repetitive exchanges, leaving us stuck in a cycle of frustration and resentment.

2. Avoiding challenging or uncomfortable situations

While it may seem easier to avoid challenging or uncomfortable situations, it can hinder personal growth and progress. By avoiding these situations, we miss out on valuable opportunities to learn, develop resilience, and overcome obstacles.

3. Being a people-pleaser

Constantly seeking validation and trying to please everyone can drain our time and energy. It’s important to set healthy boundaries and prioritize our own needs and goals instead of constantly bending over backward to meet others’ expectations.

4. Being indecisive

Indecisiveness can result in a never-ending cycle of analysis paralysis, where we waste time weighing options without taking action. It’s important to trust our instincts, make decisions confidently, and embrace the learning experiences that come with them.

5. Checking emails when you’re not able to act on them

Constantly checking and responding to emails without taking action can create a sense of busyness while accomplishing very little. It’s more effective to set specific times for email management and focus on taking action on the tasks within them.

6. Comparing yourself to others

Comparisons often lead to self-doubt and a sense of inadequacy. Instead of wasting time and energy comparing ourselves to others, it’s important to focus on our own journey, celebrate our achievements, and work towards our personal goals.

7. Complaining

Complaining without taking action can become a habit that drains our energy and perpetuates negativity. Instead, address concerns constructively and actively seek solutions.

8. Constantly checking your phone or getting interruptive notifications

Being constantly tethered to our devices and interrupted by notifications can disrupt our focus and productivity. Creating boundaries and setting specific times to check messages allows us to regain control over our time.

9. Doing other people’s work

Taking on tasks that should be someone else’s responsibility can lead to an imbalance in workload and hinder our own progress. Learning to delegate and set boundaries ensures that we use our time effectively and focus on our own priorities.

10. Dwelling on negative thoughts

Dwelling is one of the most significant things that waste time. Spending excessive time dwelling on negative thoughts can drain our mental and emotional well-being. Shifting our focus towards positive thinking, gratitude, and problem-solving helps us move forward and make better use of our time.

11. Dwelling on the past

Ruminating on past events can prevent us from fully engaging in the present and moving forward. Letting go of the past and focusing on the present moment allows us to make better use of our time and energy.

12. Endless planning without action

Planning is important, but when it becomes a never-ending cycle without taking action, it becomes counterproductive. It’s crucial to strike a balance between planning and taking steps toward our goals.

13. Engaging in addictive behavior

Addictive behaviors, whether related to substances or activities, can consume significant amounts of time and negatively impact our overall well-being. Seeking healthier alternatives and finding support can help break free from these time-wasting habits.

14. Engaging in excessive online debates or arguments

While healthy discussions can be beneficial, engaging excessively in online debates and arguments can become time-consuming and unproductive. It’s important to choose our battles wisely and focus on constructive conversations that contribute to personal growth.

15. Engaging in negative self-talk

Negative self-talk undermines our confidence and wastes valuable time. Replacing negative thoughts with positive affirmations and self-compassion allows us to redirect our energy toward personal growth and productivity.

16. Excessive clutter

A cluttered environment can lead to wasted time searching for items and feeling overwhelmed. Creating an organized and clutter-free space helps improve focus, productivity, and overall well-being.

17. Failing to say ‘no’

Overcommitting ourselves and failing to say ‘no’ when necessary can result in spreading ourselves too thin and neglecting our own priorities. Set boundaries and learn to decline requests that don’t align with your goals and values.

18. Forgetfulness

Forgetting important tasks or appointments can lead to wasted time and missed opportunities. Implement reminders, use calendars, and develop organizational strategies to help improve memory and time management.

19. Giving yourself too much time

When we give ourselves excessive time to complete tasks, it’s easy to fall into the trap of procrastination. Setting realistic deadlines and managing our time effectively helps maintain focus and motivation.

20. Going too fast

Rushing through tasks without proper planning or attention to detail is one of those things that wastes time and often leads to mistakes and the need to redo work. Taking the time to slow down, plan, and execute tasks properly saves time in the long run.

21. Gossiping

Engaging in gossip not only wastes time but also fosters negativity and damages relationships. Shifting our focus towards positive and meaningful conversations allows us to use our time more effectively.

22. Hobbies you don’t enjoy

Pursuing hobbies that don’t bring us joy or fulfillment can be a waste of time and energy. Identifying and engaging in hobbies that genuinely resonate with us ensures that our leisure time is well spent.

23. Holding grudges

Holding onto grudges consumes mental and emotional energy while hindering personal growth and relationships. Letting go, forgiving, and focusing on positive interactions allow us to make better use of our time and foster healthier connections.

24. Ignoring your health

Neglecting our health can lead to decreased energy, productivity, and overall well-being. Prioritizing self-care activities, exercising, and maintaining a balanced lifestyle are crucial for using our time effectively.

25. Interruptions

Constant interruptions disrupt our focus and productivity. Minimize interruptions by creating designated workspaces, setting boundaries, and communicating your availability to help optimize your time.

26. Lack of a to-do list

Without a clear plan of action, it’s easy to get lost and waste time on less important tasks. Creating a to-do list helps prioritize activities and keeps us focused on what needs to be done.

27. Lack of organization

Disorganization leads to wasted time searching for items, misplaced documents, and overall inefficiency. Establishing organizational systems and decluttering regularly helps save time and promotes a sense of order.

28. Long phone calls

Lengthy phone calls, especially without a clear purpose, can eat up valuable time. Setting boundaries and keeping conversations brief ensure that we maintain productivity and use our time effectively.

29. Losing things

Misplacing items and spending time searching for them can be frustrating and unproductive. Developing organizational habits, such as designated storage spaces and labeling, minimizes the time wasted on searching for lost items.

30. Low motivation

Lack of motivation is one of those things that waste your life, which can lead to procrastination and time wasted on unproductive activities. Find strategies to boost motivation, such as setting goals, breaking tasks into smaller steps, and find sources of inspiration to help increase productivity.

31. Mindlessly, endlessly, and aimlessly browsing the web

This habit can consume hours of our time without providing any real value. It’s like getting lost in a maze of cat videos and social media updates, leaving us feeling unproductive and disconnected from the real world.

32. Mindlessly snacking or indulging in unhealthy eating habits

Mindless snacking and unhealthy eating habits can impact our energy levels and overall well-being. Being mindful of our food choices and practicing moderation ensures that we have the energy and focus needed to make the most of our time.

33. Multitasking and not doing any tasks properly

Attempting to multitask often leads to decreased efficiency and poorer quality of work. Focusing on one task at a time allows us to dedicate our full attention and complete tasks more effectively.

34. Not allocating or blocking out chunks of time

Without dedicating specific time blocks for tasks, it’s easy to get distracted and waste time on less important activities. Allocating and scheduling chunks of time for specific tasks increases productivity and ensures progress.

35. Not batching work or errands

Dispersing tasks randomly throughout the day can disrupt workflow and waste time. Batching similar tasks or errands together allows for greater efficiency and minimizes the time you would spend transitioning between different activities.

36. Not keeping a shopping list and doing weekly shopping

Shopping without a list can result in wandering aimlessly and impulse purchases. Maintaining a shopping list and planning a weekly shop helps save time and money and reduces the need for frequent trips to the store. Here’s my favorite meal planner that also includes shopping lists.

37. Not getting enough sleep

Insufficient sleep affects our cognitive abilities, productivity, and overall well-being. Prioritizing quality sleep allows us to function at our best and make the most of our waking hours.

38. Not having a proper place for your things

Misplacing frequently used items due to a lack of organization leads to wasted time searching for them. Create designated spaces for your belongings to ensure easy access and minimize time spent looking for misplaced items.

39. Not living intentionally

Living without purpose or direction can result in aimless activities and wasted time. Embrace intentional living and clarify your values and goals to help you make conscious choices and use your time more effectively.

40. Not planning in advance

Without proactive planning, we risk becoming reactive and wasting time on urgent but less important tasks. Planning in advance allows us to set priorities, anticipate challenges, and make the most of our time. Here’s the only life and goal planner you need for that.

41. Not planning your meals in advance

Failing to plan meals in advance is one of those things that wastes time and can lead to last-minute decisions and unhealthy eating choices. Meal planning saves time, promotes healthier eating habits, and ensures we have the necessary ingredients on hand.

42. Online shopping addiction

When we talk about things that are a waste of money, this is the most important one. Engaging in excessive online shopping not only wastes time but also strains finances and contributes to clutter. Being mindful of our online shopping habits and setting limits helps us maintain control over our time and expenses.

43. Overloading your calendar or to-do list

Overcommitting and cramming our schedules with too many tasks can lead to stress, overwhelm, and decreased productivity. Prioritizing tasks and allowing for downtime helps maintain balance and efficiency.

44. Oversharing on social media

Spending excessive time sharing personal details on social media can drain productivity and privacy. Strike a balance between sharing and engaging with others while maintaining personal boundaries to ensure effective use of time.

45. Perfectionism

Striving for perfection often leads to spending excessive time on tasks, diminishing productivity, and hindering progress. Embracing a mindset of progress over perfection allows us to use our time more effectively and achieve meaningful results.

wooden cubes that spell "done is better than perfect"

46. Playing video games

While gaming can be a fun recreational activity, excessive gaming can lead to time wasted on unproductive pursuits. Set limits and find a balance between leisure activities and responsibilities to help optimize your time.

47. Pointless shopping

Engaging in shopping without a specific need or purpose can result in wasting time and money on unnecessary purchases. Practice mindful shopping and only make purchases with intention to prevent time and resource waste.

48. Prioritizing the wrong things

Focusing on trivial matters or tasks that don’t contribute to our goals can lead to time wasted on unimportant activities. It’s important to identify our priorities and allocate time accordingly to ensure meaningful progress.

49. Procrastinating

Procrastination robs us of valuable time and creates unnecessary stress. Overcoming procrastination by breaking tasks into manageable steps and setting deadlines allows us to use our time effectively and reduces anxiety.

50. Reading the tabloids

Indulging in tabloid reading can be entertaining, but it often provides little value or intellectual stimulation. Allocating our reading time to informative or educational materials can expand our knowledge and make better use of our time.

51. Saying “yes” too easily

Agreeing to every request without considering our own priorities and limits can lead to overcommitment and wasted time. Learning to say “no” when necessary allows us to protect our time and focus on what truly matters.

52. Sleeping too much

While sufficient sleep is important, excessive sleeping can lead to lethargy and wasted hours. Strike a balance and aim for an optimal sleep duration to ensure that you have the energy to be productive and make the most of your time.

53. Staying in a job you hate

Remaining in a job that brings unhappiness and dissatisfaction drains our time and overall well-being. Taking steps towards finding fulfillment, whether through career changes or personal growth, allows us to use our time in a more meaningful way.

54. Taking shortcuts

While shortcuts may seem tempting, they often lead to poor results and the need to redo tasks. Embracing thoroughness and investing time in doing things properly helps maintain quality and saves time in the long run.

55. Too many meetings or unnecessary meetings

Overloading our schedules with meetings, especially ones that aren’t essential or lack clear goals, can waste precious time that could be spent on productive tasks. Prioritizing and only attending necessary meetings helps optimize our time and maintain focus.

56. Too much TV or Netflix

Binge-watching excessive amounts of TV or spending hours on streaming platforms can consume valuable time without adding much value. Set limits and consciously choose how you spend your leisure time to ensure that you make the most of it.

57. Toxic relationships or relationships that don’t add value

Investing time and energy in toxic people or unfulfilling relationships can hinder personal growth and drain our emotional well-being. Prioritizing relationships that are healthy, supportive, and bring joy allows us to use our time more effectively.

58. Waiting for the “perfect” moment

Waiting for the perfect conditions or timing can lead to missed opportunities and wasted time. Embracing a mindset of taking action and adjusting along the way allows us to make progress and seize the moment.

59. Worrying about things beyond our control

Spending excessive time and energy worrying about things beyond our control adds little value and can lead to increased stress and anxiety. Shifting our focus to what we can influence and taking proactive steps helps us make better use of our time.

60. Worrying about what people think

Constantly worrying about others’ opinions can be a time-consuming and unproductive habit. Embracing self-acceptance and focusing on our own values and goals allows us to use our time more effectively and authentically.

Are you guilty of any of these things that waste time?

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