15 ways you are wasting time during the day (and how to stop)

wasting time during day

The concept of 24-hours in a day was created by ancient Egyptians based on daylight and darkness hours. It was further perfected by other ancient civilizations including Mesopotamian, Indian, Chinese, Greek, and Roman, among others. Hence, all humans on this planet are gifted with 24 hours or 1,440 minutes every day.

Unfortunately, most people waste precious time from these 24 hours by indulging in activities that serve no gainful purpose. Instead, the time could be better utilized to prosper and lead better lifestyles. Here we look at 15 ways where you could be wasting precious time during the day. While it may not always be possible to stop this wastage for various reasons, we also explore how you can stem the flow.

Ways you waste time

Time can neither be stopped nor can seconds lost be recovered. Here are some areas where you may be invariably wasting time.

Long commutes

In the modern world, long commutes are an integral part of a working person’s life. A 2014 study conducted by US Census reveals Americans collectively waste nearly 3.4 billion days every year in terms of loss of productive man-hours. On average, an American spends about 26 minutes per day on commutes.

wasting time during day in traffic jam

The figure is colossal for countries like India where a daily commute can last as much as four hours. The loss cannot be prevented unless you find work nearer home. Working from home is not a solution as large American organizations are now recalling workers to the office.

If you commute regularly u can follow these steps to make savings from your daily commute.

Mobile phones

A mobile phone is a second biggest culprit that invariably causes you to waste time. Undoubtedly, mobile phones have made life easier. They enable you to stay in touch with family, friends, and colleagues. Studies in the US revealed, on average an American spends five hours per day on smart-phone.

The time is wasted on meaningless phone calls, checking messaging apps, social media, playing games, watching videos and listening to music. Health experts are sounding alarm at mobile phone usage addiction levels that may require psychiatric intervention.


Food is a basic human necessity and vital for physical and mental wellbeing. Surprisingly food ranks as the third largest cause of time wastage. This is because people spend a lot of time thinking about the next meal or planning where to dine, instead of focusing on work. You also waste time browsing through menus and waiting to be served at restaurants.

losing time when ordering food

A lot of time also goes on driving or walking to a restaurant for a meal, queuing up for takeaway orders and awaiting a food delivery at home or workplace. Heavy breakfast at home and deciding beforehand on the food you will order at a restaurant or as takeaway helps save time.

Medical treatment

Nobody denies your right to get medical treatment while sick. However, getting medical treatment consumes a lot of time. You have to wait at a clinic or hospital before a physician attends. Often you have to fill lengthy forms and wait in queues to pay for the treatment. Relatives or friends also accompany you to a clinic or hospital.

Unless facing a medical emergency, you can save time by seeking an appointment with a physician. Keep medical information ready while filling forms. Unless it is very necessary, do not ask a relative or friend to accompany you to the clinic.


Everyone enjoys shopping. However, shopping often incurs a lot of time wastage. You will go around a supermarket, eying various brands, reading labels and comparing prices. You might also be satisfying curiosity over certain product by taking time to read its label.

when shopping takes too much time

Some shoppers simply scamper around a store not knowing what to buy, instead of walking through aisles and picking up stuff they need. You can stem this waste by going to shop with a proper list and budget for your purchases. Satisfy curiosity about a brand or product by trying a small quantity.

Online shopping

Online shopping allows the comfort of buying from home, workplace or during commutes. Invariably, you will waste time comparing prices of something you wish to buy online between different retailers.

Online shoppers also waste time by viewing other identical products that retailers display alongside the desired product. You can save time on online shopping by opting only for the product you wish to buy instead of browsing or other variants. A casual glance at star ratings of a product based on customer experience will inform whether it is worth your money.

Vehicle parking

Everyone wants to avoid paid parking. Hence, you too would be wasting time looking for a suitable place to park your vehicle. Often, this involves going around a place to find one, which leads to time wastage. Parking vehicle away means you spend time walking to the place you wish to visit.

parking issues wasting time during day

Those availing paid parking also look for spots where they believe the vehicle would be well protected against imaginary hazards. Instead of wasting time looking for free parking, utilize paid ones where necessary. And take the first available slot in paid parking lots rather than scouting around for some self-imagined choice location.


With over 2.15 billion users, Facebook is the world’s favorite social media platform. Unfortunately, Facebook is spawning addiction among users. The problem of Facebook addiction has reached huge dimensions that forced US government’s National Institutes of Health to research the phenomenon.

US National Library of Medicine now documents this as Facebook Addiction Disorder. It is known to cause sleep disorders, dysfunctional work and family life among other problems. You may not yet be a victim of a FAD but could be wasting a lot of time on posting stuff on your Facebook page, responding or posting comments and browsing profiles of other users. Use Facebook only as a pastime, during free hours. Allot a specific time of the day to use Facebook.


Email is another area where you could be wasting time. Invariably, you may be checking your email often to find whether you have fresh correspondence from family, friends, colleague or business associate.

losing hours on checking emails wasting time during day

Companies now disguise spam as attractive online offers and tempt you to read the email or even click on provided links to learn more. Instead of checking emails frequently, allot a specific time during work hours for business-related correspondence and check personal stuff on smart-phones. Never respond to personal mail from office or the other way around.


Understandably, you will have to attend an important meeting at a workplace or something concerning your neighborhood, school, or social group. Skipping a meeting can have serious consequences. Instead of blindly rushing to every meeting, find its relevance to your work by asking your seniors. Unless relevant, take permission from your senior to stay away and instead, focus on the work at hand. This imparts a great impression to seniors since they know you are serious about getting a job done instead of wasting time attending something that does not increase your productivity. And if you are attending the meeting, make sure to share your agenda PowerPoint slide with your colleagues. By letting others know what to expect, you can make the most out of your meetings. Apply the same yardstick for other meetings too.

Air travel

Post 9-11 terror attacks on the US and the impending threat of terrorists using civilian aircraft has led civil aviation industry worldwide to take extra precautions. This involves longer passenger and baggage screening at airports. Understandably, these security measures are necessary and you should cooperate with concerned law enforcement agencies. Yet, you can save ample time that would otherwise be spent at an airport.

spending too much time on airports wasting time during day

Opt for online check-in to reserve your seat on the flight and get the confirmation email that can be accessed on your smartphone. Travel with a single bag that can be carried as cabin luggage that ensures you do not have to wait at the destination. Use a laptop or smart-phone to do some work while awaiting your flight and long flying hours.

Financial transactions

Handling money is important and has to be done with a lot of care to prevent undue losses. A lot of financial transactions can now be done through mobile apps while commuting. Also, you can issue direct debit instructions to your bank to pay utilities and phone bills, school fees and other routine expenses.

Direct debit instructions can also be issued for paying insurance premiums and servicing investment schemes you are subscribing. Other than saving time, direct debit instructions also ensure your utilities are not disconnected for non-payment of bills. It helps to avoid penalties for late payments and ensures your money gets invested in time in your subscribed schemes.

Flipping TV channels

Flipping TV channels before finding something interesting to watch is a fairly innocuous practice. Yet, you waste several minutes for scanning dozens of TV channels during a day or week before settling for a show. Added up over a period of months and a year, the amount of time wasted flipping TV channels works to several precious hours lost forever.

spending time on watching tv wasting time during day

There are two ways to prevent this waste of time. The first is by getting rid of TV channels packages you seldom watch. It also helps save money. The second is by finding timings of your favorite show, match, movie or news bulletin and tuning in at the right time.

Insufficient sleep

Staying late hours at work or spending time on activities that lead to insufficient sleep can cause colossal losses of time. You will not awaken refreshed and relaxed the next morning. This fatigue translates as slower work at office and loss of attention on tasks at hand. Once you get accustomed to insufficient sleep, your productivity begins to plunge gradually causing you to waste more time on getting tasks done. This is a very vicious circle that most working women and men slip into without realizing till too late. Insufficient sleep causes a loss of time and also adversely impacts physical and mental wellness.


Getting ready for work or party also wastes time unless you have decided beforehand what you will wear. Invariably, you may have planned to wear something but not get the dress ready for the day. Hence, you will spend a few minutes ironing that skirt or shirt. Unless you have decided on the attire, you will waste time in selecting a dress from the wardrobe that suits your mood and comfort. Dressing up is a pleasurable activity. No doubt. But it also leads to wanton waste of time. Everyone wants to appear dapper and neat. But wasting time on getting ready may cause you to rush through traffic or run late on schedule rendering you prone to accidents and stress.

In conclusion

Time once gone never returns is an old adage. Hence, it is vital for all of us to make the best of the time we get daily. As we highlight, wasting time during the day can also impact your finances and have other consequences. Hence, drawing a proper daily schedule and taking a few steps indicated in this article will help.

The content published on this website is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.

5 mistakes to avoid when managing remote teams

5 mistakes to avoid when managing remote teams

The remote economy is here to stay

What motivates people to collaborate with other people?
motivates people collaborate

What motivates people to collaborate with other people?

Your collaboration will rise or fall based on the benefits that both of you

You May Also Like