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How You May Be Wasting 3.5 Hours a Day

The Classic Time-Wasters at Work

A really easy way to get more stuff done every day would be to identify a few things you’re wasting time on every day – not just the classic time-wasters, but importantly, the things you don’t realize are eating up your precious time.

Now, you can Google up all kinds of “top time-waster” lists, but I like a recent Inc. Magazine list of classic workplace time eaters. And I’ve taken it a step further – cuz for each one, I’ve done research to find out just how much time each of them steals from your typical workday.


Here are the top seven, according to Inc.

  1. Socializing: You spend 40 plus hours a week with your co-workers, but you don’t have to BURN hours with them. Nearly a quarter of workers say socializing at work is their biggest distraction. Conservatively, you can figure 15 minutes burned per workday.
  1. Social Media: it’s a slippery slope once you start in on any of your social media. A quick reply to a text becomes a gabfest…a peek at your Facebook or Twitter feed becomes a lost morning. While the average college student spends three hours a day on social media (!!!), the average worker probably burns conservatively 30 minutes.
  1. Surfing the Web: Two thirds of workers with a computer at their desk, visit non-work related websites during the work day, and 45% claim this is one of their biggest distractions. Figure you’re burning 30 minutes minimum a day.
  1. Meetings: Some stats suggest that a half an hour is wasted every day just scheduling meetings, and then there are the useless or poorly constructed meetings themselves. Let’s call it 30 minutes burned.
  1. Interruptions: From disruptive co-workers, computer problems, busy-work created by poor organization, etc., that contribute nothing to your output. Some are unavoidable but many can be guarded against. Let’s say 15min burned.
  1. Multitasking: I’ve dedicated two Crusher™TV episodes to this very subject. It’s a sink-hole of imaginary productivity. It can easily costs us 70 minutes a day.
  1. Daydreaming: Here I would include worry and rumination. We can assume 30 minutes a day is burned by such idle, non-productive thought.

Total time wasted per day?

Three and a half hours — which puts you at more than 40% of an 8 hour workday!!

Oh, and that figure of 40% that I got to by scouring all kinds of research aligns with a massive Franklin Covey survey of 350,000 workers worldwide, in which people reported spending 40 percent of their time on things that are unimportant or outright irrelevant. Nice affirmation of my digging, I have to say.

I don’t mean to nag, and we all know we’re doing this stuff – it’s not news to anyone. BUT — we need to be hyper-aware of all these, because again, many of them are wasting our time because we’re not forcefully LABELING them as the time-burners they really are. And all the more important for us ADHDers, who never have enough time!!



P.S. I devoted an entire episode of Crusher™TV to how you can “Gain an Extra Hour a Day”. This is the kind of stuff we’re doing every week on Crusher™TV.  You can check out some previews here. Hope you will — it was a great episode (with Guest Expert Tom Bergeron, who created a start-up incubator for ADHD entrepreneurs!). ab


3 Responses to “How You May Be Wasting 3.5 Hours a Day”

By Sean Desilva - 8 February 2016 Reply

I’m guilty of all of those in the list! Specially daydreaming. 🙂 Personally, I lose a lot of time in planning things or creating outlines.

By Susan Lasky - 1 February 2016 Reply

Great list, Alan. I’d add time lost due to disorganization. Studies have shown the average worker loses two weeks a year looking for stuff (between 15 and 30 minutes a day!). With the organizational challenges of many people with ADHD, increase that. Add on disorganization when it comes to planning projects efficiently and your wasted 3-1/2 hours a day gets expanded. Taking time to set things up for success makes a real difference.

By ADD Crusher - 2 February 2016 Reply

WOW, you’re right Susan. That opens up a whole new realm of wasted time. No wonder life with an ADHD brain can be so @#$$! frustrating! All the more important that we hack our brains and stay on the good foot!! Tx for chiming in…AB

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