There’s a reason why people say “time is money.” Time is one of the most valuable assets we have.
But in today’s modern age, everyone always seems to feel rushed for time.
From social media accounts to television shows to cell phones, distractions are everywhere. These distractions are always trying to capture our attention and steal our precise time.
So how can you make sure you’re wasting as little time as possible on a day-to-day basis?
Here are seven major time wasters are stealing hours, minutes, and seconds from you every day.
Check out our tips on how to limit or eliminate them from your life.
According to a recent Nielsen report on 2017 television habits, the average person spends 4.5 hours a day watching TV.
Do the math. That’s 1,642 hours per year!
After a long day at work, there’s almost nothing better than flopping on the couch in front of the TV, so these numbers aren’t that big of a surprise.
But Scientists have reported that limiting your screen time can help you live longer. Sure, you could spend your downtime watching TV, but you’re better off replacing those hours with other tasks instead. Instead, try reading to keep your brain health strong or exercising to maintain good physical health.
It can be tough to break from the TV-after-work habit, but it can happen. Make a point to prepare dinner at home rather than grabbing fast food or ordering takeout. And once dinner is ready, eat at the dining room table instead of in front of the TV. This one little change can reduce your screen time considerably.
2. Your Smartphone
According to the same report mentioned above, people spend about 2.5 hours each day on their smartphones. Traditional TV consumption seems to be on the decline, but with smartphones, overall screen time is increasing.
Many people start and end their day by looking at their smartphone. Phone addiction is on the rise, and that can seriously affect your mental health and contribute as time-wasters.
One former Google employee has a significant bit of advice on how to quell your phone addiction. Just switch your phone from color to grayscale. In grayscale, your Instagram feeds are likely to be less appealing, and playing certain games will be almost impossible.
Another thing you can do to break from your phone addiction is to charge your phone somewhere other than your bedroom. If you use your phone as your morning alarm, this probably won’t work for you. So at the minimum, charge it away from your bedside table, so it’s not the last thing you look at before you go to sleep. And in the morning, it just might help you get out of bed faster.
3. Social Media
There’s no question that Americans spend hours upon hours on social media. Though the specific numbers aren’t known, experts are confident that this number is growing
Social media can be a great way to keep in contact with family and friends, but it can drain hours of time from your life. But do you need to keep tabs on people you haven’t spoken to since high school? Probably not.
Luckily, there is an easy and effective way to spend less time on social media—delete your accounts. Unless you need your accounts for business, it’s likely that you can do without knowing what everyone is wearing and what everyone is eating.
If account deletion seems too extreme, delete the apps from your smartphone. If even that sounds like a challenge, unfollow or hide some friends on Facebook. The less useless and uninteresting posts you have to read, the less time you’ll waste.
4. Video Games
Whether you play on your phone, computer, Xbox, or Playstation, video games are a huge time suck for a lot of people—especially men. Typically, most expert advice on limiting video game time is for children. But the irony is that more and more adults are engaging in video games every day.
Can you even count the number of hours of sleepless nights you’ve wasted beating levels on Assassin’s Creed? Think about all those times you’ve intended to play one level of Candy Crush, then realized an hour had gone by without you even noticing.
It’s easy to get sucked in, but you can get your gaming habits under control.
Much like watching television, the best way to break your video game habit is to find a replacement activity. If you like playing sports games on Xbox, try playing sports in real life. Prefer first-person shooter games like Call Of Duty? Round up some friends for a friendly game of paintball instead.
Some time-wasters in life are unavoidable, so we’re switching lanes a bit (pun intended) and talking about the one thing that everyone hates—traffic.
According to data company Inrix, the average person spends 42 hours each year sitting in traffic. This equates to more than $1,400 in gas wasted each year just from idling.
If you have to drive to and from work or school, traffic is unavoidable. But if you live in a metro area, try to utilize public transportation. By taking a train or bus, you can save money and free up time to do more productive things. If your eyes don’t have to be on the road, you can read, catch up on work, or listen to an audiobook or podcast.
6. Excessive Drinking
According to the CDC, 1 in 6 Americans binge-drinks four times per month. Aside from the physical and mental effects, binge drinking almost always results in time wasted.
Aside from the hours that you spend actual imbibing, think about the hours you worked to pay for those drinks. Add in the time it takes to sleep off your hangover and let your body recover, and you’ll see how much time drinking can waste.
We’re not suggesting that you can’t relax and enjoy a drink now and then. Drinking in moderation is not the problem. The problem is drinking in excess.
Try setting limits for yourself such as how many drinks you can have, how much money you can spend at the bar, or how many hours you plan to stay out. If you can’t hold to those limits, sobriety may be your best approach.
Most of the items on this list focus on time spent outside of work, but most people waste a lot of time at work as well. Email is one of the biggest culprits in terms of time-wasters.
Don’t check your email obsessively. You might think it’s productive to monitor every new message as it appears, but you’re only creating unnecessary distractions. Set limits for how often and at what time of day you will check your email. Stick to that schedule, and you’re sure to see that you’ve got a lot more time to do other important tasks at work.
Make the Best Use of Your Day
It’s easy to get distracted, but it’s important to know that distractions steer us away from productivity. To cut down on your distractions and free up valuable time:
- Replace screen time with more productive activities.
- Switch your phone to grayscale to combat phone addiction.
- Delete your social media accounts or follow fewer people.
- Be productive while in traffic by listening to an audiobook.
- Limit your alcohol intake and wake up ready to conquer the day.
- Schedule times to check your email to avoid distractions.
If you can do even two or three of the time-wasters on this list, you’ll waste less time on unimportant things. In turn, you’ll free up time to do things that are more meaningful and beneficial to your life.