Five Common Time-Wasters and How to Avoid Them

By Eileen Bailey

According to an article “Average Worker Wasting 2 Hours a Day”  [2005, July 12, Associated Press], the average worker wastes more than two hours each day, not including their lunch hour. Supposing that you waste only one hour each day, rather than two, including weekends. This comes out to 365 hours, or 45 eight-hour days. Imagine how much you could accomplish in just one year by reducing the number of wasted hours each week.


Below are five of common time wasters and some tips on how to overcome them and find more time to accomplish your goals and enjoy yourself.


Not Setting Priorities or Planning Effectively


Whether at home or at work, setting goals and having priorities can help you to complete more in less time. Creating a list of “things to do” with checks next to the most important items is one way of completing what needs to be done. Other methods may include color-coding tasks and projects in the order of the most important.


Writing down goals can also help. Each morning, decide on one important task or goal to be completed that day. Becoming overwhelmed with trying to accomplish too many things is a common problem for people with ADHD. By limiting yourself to one goal at a time, you eliminate the overwhelm you may feel trying to accomplish an entire list of “things to do.”


In addition to writing down goals, breaking projects down into smaller tasks can work well. Imagining a complete project without determining the steps needed to complete it often create overwhelm and creates undone or unfinished projects. Instead, break a project down into small tasks and set a goal to complete one task at a time.


Drop in Visitors or Interruptions


It happens all the time at work, a co-worker stops to talk “for just a minute” and ends up chatting, or the phone rings and you take too long talking about things that have no relevance to the tasks you are completing. It is important to say “no” when unexpected things come up and will disrupt your schedule or ability to complete your tasks. If the person interrupting needs to be addressed, begin the conversation with “I only have five minutes” to discuss this and then stick to the time limit. 

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