The biggest time wasters at work (and how to avoid them!)

We all have 24 hours in a day, 7 days in a week, and 52 weeks in a year, yet some of us get an amazing amount of work done, seemingly effortlessly while others can’t even seem to get started. In fact, as the adage goes, "If you want something done, give it to a busy person to do." So why are some people so efficient and productive while others always seem to be rushed for time, getting less done than they should?

It turns out we all probably have plenty of time in the work day to get everything done and then some…IF we don't waste it (or someone else doesn't waste it for us).

According to studies, here are the biggest time wasters at work and in the office. We’ll cover time wasters at home and in your personal life in a later blog.


33% spend between 1-2 hours each day checking and answering emails.

22% spend more than 2 hours every day.


27% spend between 1-2 hours each day surfing the internet.

80% of us spend more than 2 hours online each day.

64% of employees visit non-work related websites during working hours.

45% say that surfing the web is their #1 distraction at work.


19% spend from 1 to 2 hours every day delaying and putting things off.

Reportedly, only 10% of people don’t procrastinate.


47% of employees polled say that attending meetings is their biggest time waster.

18% spend between 1-2 hours in meetings every day.

Chit chat

16% spend 1-2 hours conversing about non-business-related topics each day.

Only 3% don’t spend any time chatting around the water cooler.


13% spend 1-2 hours a day just getting to and from work.

Social media

77% of all workers who have access to social media during the work day use it.

11% are engaged on social media 1-2 hours every day.

75% spend up to 2 hours a day or more on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other social media platforms.

The most popular time-draining websites:

41% Facebook

37% LinkedIn

31% Yahoo

28% Google

8% Twitter

4% Pinterest

Cell phones

10% spend 1-2 hours a day talking on their cell phones or texting.

10% also spend more than 2 hours each day on their phones.

Job hunting…on the job?

69% of employees polled say that they’re actively seeking or open to new job offers…even while currently employed

46% actually spend time at work job hunting – on the company’s dime!

Personal life

6.8% of employees conduct personal business during work hours

3.1% run personal errands outside of the office

2.3% make personal phone calls

1% plan personal events

The #1 time distraction on the job?

37% of employees report that fixing other people's mistakes is their biggest time waster.

36% of employees report that dealing with "annoying" coworkers is their biggest waste of time.

30% of all time wasted is spent trying to contact people, find information, and schedule meetings.

23% of employees confess that they waste time out of sheer boredom

22% say that unproductive busy work is their #1 time waster

14% say that socializing with colleagues is their biggest time waster at work.

14% of all time wasted is spent duplicating information or dealing with unwanted communication such as spam or junk mail.

11% say that dealing with computer and technology problems wastes the most time

Time tracking

52% of people say they don’t know where their time goes.

55% say time tracking helps them be more productive.

70% report that it helps them improve invoicing and billing.

The average worker takes:

74 minutes/day

Trying to contact customers or colleagues.

67 minutes/day

Trying to find key information.

39 minutes/day

Duplicating communications.

33 minutes/day

Attempting just to schedule meetings!

29 minutes/day

Unwanted communications.


Now that you understand the biggest time wasters at work, can you make some changes in order to become more efficient and productive as a team? We’d love to hear from you!

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