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Top 10 time wasters and how to avoid them

- By Shalini K, 16 August 2021 | 11 MIN READ


We all know that time is valuable but seldom realise its true value. Very optimistically we believe that we are going to be here forever but that’s not the case. In the hope of tomorrow we keep on procrastinating in quick gratification of activities which are of no significance in our life. We want to be productive, achieve great things etc but somehow we end up wasting our time. New episode or movie on Netflix or prime video seems more enticing then our productive tasks, we keep moving from one episode to another until we completely drain our energies. Or few mins of email checking or web browsing becomes a continuous activity of great urgency but of no importance.

 The problems lie more within us than the external stimuli. External activities are mere triggers for our internal cravings of quick gratifications or lack of goals or purpose in life. These time wasters pose a great threat to your business or career when don’t realise and nip them in the beginning itself. Identifying the root causes and eliminating them is more important than looking at the effects.

When you sit down and analyze and evaluate your time wasters they mostly arise from our own behaviour, thinking, insecurities, economic and social conditions etc. Each one of us is vulnerable to time wasters to some or greater extent. If you are an entrepreneur or a business person and are prone to trivial activities then your business or enterprise is at greater risk. There will be many people depending on you or your business. It becomes your prime responsibility to make sure all those people do not suffer because of your carelessness or inadequacies in handling your time.

Below are listed many common time wasters to help you avoid or take necessary actions or for better productivity or success.

1. Emails

With billions of emails sent every min it’s no surprise that email has been the number one time waster. We all are inquisitive to know who sent us what and very eager to reply. There is no doubt that email is the best communication tool at our disposal but unrestricted use of email can kill our time.

Discipline yourself to check your emails at scheduled time. Don’t give into the urge of opening your inbox now and then. 

2. Social Media

The way people communicate, share information, influence the world has changed for every with social media. It’s our personal media with uncontrolled power. With billions of users and readily available in our palm, it’s highly impossible to ignore the temptations of sharing or knowing what our friends are doing or what’s happening around us. Social media can be a powerful tool if rightly used but on the downside it will drain your energy like anything.

Unless you are using social media for business or you are a professional at the medium, like emails schedule your social media activity and restrict it for specified time. Turnoff your notifications and if possible go off grid once in a while.

3. Multi-Tasking

I am sure most of us would take pride in multi-tasking. It’s scientifically proven that multi-tasking is not productive. Human brain has limited attention span. As per neuroscientist Daniel J. Levitin, multitasking makes us slower and less efficient.

Try not to stretch your energies on many things, instead focus on one task at a time. After completion of one task, move to the next one. This process or method of working will help you to focus on single task at a time resulting in higher productivity.

4. Learn to say “NO” instead of Yes

Habit of saying Yes when you are supposed to say NO will cost you lot of valuable time. You have limited time; avoid people who take undue advantage of you. It feels good to hangout or watch a movie with friends or colleagues etc at odd hours but it would definitely disturb your productive time or affect your other tasks.

Avoid all sorts of activities which are not in line with your goals. Politely say NO to activities which deviate from your path.

5. Too much TV/Netflix / Prime video

On the average people spend 20+ hours a week watching shows or movies to TV, Netflix, prime video or any other video streaming platforms. Is it worth? TV is the biggest time waster; time will slip away without even realising that you have wasted a weekend watching shows.

Instead of watching shows, learn a new skill or travel over the weekend or pick a hobby. Enrich yourself with a new experience. Make yourself more efficient or skilful by taking new courses which are relevant for your profession or business.

6. Doing it by yourself

Most of us are habituated doing everything by ourselves not matter if we are good at it or not. It gives us a sense of being busy but it the hindsight it’s just time killer. Humanly it’s not possible to have all skills. Each one of us might be good at or of couple of skills. Identify your forte and stick to things you are good with, the rest delegate. For example if you are a business owner delegate accounting to CA or an accountant and focus of sales or product development etc

Master the skill of delegation to save time and utilise that time on very important tasks for maximum productivity.

7. Comparing with others

It’s basic human trait to compare with others. Comparison can leave us insecure, jealous, and bitter. It might be encouraging to lookup to others for inspiration but getting too analytical or making it personal may not be good. Equating ourselves with other will have a negative impact on our thought process. Every individual is unique and bestowed with some great qualities.
Miracles happen when you shift the focus from others to self and concentrate on our own strengths.

8. Worrying about other people opinion

Thinking about other people opinion is more of a cultural and social thing. If you are an entrepreneur, you might be averse to risk taking thinking what others might think if you fail. Giving values to other people’s opinion will stop you from taking risks or trying new things. Many of us do not live our lives to full extent or forgo our desires or ambitions out of fear of others opinions.

Love yourself and think of what is best for you. As long as you are not harming anyone, embrace life and live up to its full potential.

9. Lack of goals                                

Goals are like roadmaps for individuals or organization success. If you don’t know where you want to be or what you want to achieve in next 5 years, how are you going to accomplish anything. Without goals one will go in circles. If one is not clear about their aspirations or ambitions, it impossible to achieve success.

Have clear written goals. Goals will help you to monitor your progress.

10. Having no priorities

It’s very easy to get busy with work or any task. But it’s critical to evaluate the importance of the tasks. Often we get entangled with work not realising if they are important or not, if they can be delegated or not. Most of us would prefer to do the easy tasks first but by the time we complete those easy tasks our energy is already drained. So start your day with the most difficult and important tasks so that you can give full attention and complete most of the work.

Once you have clear written goals, prioritise them based on the importance for achieving your ambitions.


All the listed time wasters might not be relevant to you. Take few moments to reflect on your activities and make list of your time wasters which drain your time. Form alternate productive habits to curb time wasters. Time is a precious resource to squander. Once hours, mins are gone you can never get those back. Realisation of time wasters is essential to focus on most important aspects of your life and success.


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