4 Common Time-Wasting Activities to Avoid for Improved Productivity

Like tiny grains of sand filling an hourglass, these four common time-wasting activities gradually diminish productivity if not consciously avoided.

We know them by heart and it’s hard to let go of them because they are so comfortable. But becoming successful will not happen if you spend your time with those 4 time-wasters everyday:

1. Time-Wasting Activity: Social Media Scrolling and Watching TV

We all know it’s not good for us to waste time on our phones or in front of the TV.

We do it anyway. Why?

Because it’s easy.

We forget our problems and it’s built to keep us hooked.

As social media is part of my online business I’m always setting a limited time of the day to scroll through and make comments. Else I would continue scrolling unlimited.

My boyfriend and I love watching TV series on Netflix. There is always something to watch. To limit it we usually only watch when we are eating something.

Limit the time of scrolling and watching! Social media is made for scrolling unlimited, that is how they make money: showing as many ads as possible.

Or don’t use it as entertainment but as a learning habit by watching videos and series in which you learn something.

2. Time-Wasting Activity: Multitasking

There is this belief that multitasking helps get more done. And it can feel that way, but it actually isn’t.

It is decreasing your focus because you are separating it for different things. And that means your efficiency is going down too.

The fastest way to get something done is to focus on one thing and then get into the flow state.

That’s the reason why one important part of time management and weekly planning is to block time for each task/project.

To focus solely on one thing and to get into the flow state.

The flow state is the goal of productive time:

  • doing a lot in a short amount of time
  • without realizing the time passing by
  • without distractions

That’s how you get the most done in a short time period. Make flow state your goal!

“The happiest people spend much time in a state of flow — the state in which people are so involved in an activity that nothing else seems to matter; the experience itself is so enjoyable that people will do it even at great cost, for the sheer sake of doing it.”

— Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

3. Time-Wasting Activity: Poorly Structured and Unproductive Meetings

I hate those kind of meetings. You too?

Meetings without a structure and without prepared participants are the worst. Especially when it’s not relevant to you.

Meetings are unproductive if it’s only talk and no taking action. In the end, there has to be a solution or task list to do, or else it’s useless.

My tip: Try to ask if you can skip meetings that are not relevant to you by showing them how productive you could be.

If your boss doesn’t like the idea try to help the participants prepare (especially your topic points) to get to a decision faster.

The more prepared your participants are the faster the meeting will be.

One point you can add is setting specific minutes for each agenda item.

4. Time-Wasting Activity: Procrastination

One big time-waster is procrastination. We hear it everywhere: Students start studying for the exam at the last moment.

But there is a good thing: you can overcome it easily.

Because procrastination has a reason:

  • The task looks too big
  • The task looks too hard
  • We don’t have a good enough reason why we have to do this
  • We don’t have internal motivation

As soon as you figured out the actual reason behind your procrastination you can do something against it.

If the task is too big: separate into smaller tasks and then do one each day. Also small steps to the goal are one step forward in the right direction, and less to do in the end.

One additional tip: My boyfriend needs some kind of group or societal pressure to overcome procrastination. He studies with friends, or at university.

Every person is different. Find the reason why you are procrastinating and then find your own way to overcome it. It can be a combination of tricks. Be creative!

“Procrastination is like a credit card: it’s a lot of fun until you get the bill.”

— Christopher Parker


Time-wasters are usually part of some internal un-motivation.

If you figure out why you don’t start with something you will find the answer to go against the explained time-wasters.

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(c) Karina Ahrer

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