12 Time Wasting Habits Holding You Back

Time wasting habits tend to form over time. No one sets out trying to form habits that waste their time and hold them back from achieving their goals.

Yet most people end up with a couple, or a lot, of them.

And the first step to addressing these time wasting habits is a self-evaluation of which ones you have. Then after you have determined which of the bad time wasting habits you have you can start to take action to get rid of them.

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1. Multitasking

If you don’t believe me on this one then I recommend reading this article all about the facts on multitasking but in a nutshell it actually decreases your total productivity by 40% when you are multitasking.

Which makes sense when you think about it. Your brain is rapidly switching back and forth between two tasks rather than focusing on just one task.

Solution– avoid multitasking at all costs. It’s holding you back! Instead, focus on one task at a time and commit yourself totally to that one task.


2. Debating on meals

Taking time to figure out what or where you are eating ends up sucking up so much of your time.

Especially when there is more than 1 person involved in the decision process. Looking at menus and debating driving distances for an hour every Saturday means that you are losing an entire hour of your weekend that you could be using much more productively.

Solution– meal planning! Make a list of what you will eat every day for the week. This also needs to include meals out.

Get a cute meal planning notepad that ideally is magnetic and stick it on your fridge to get started with this new good-for-you habit.

3. No to-do list

You think of things in your mind that you need to get done but then you don’t write them down. Which un-shockingly means that things can get forgotten or not completed on time.

Solution- start writing daily, weekly, and monthly to do lists. Writing to-do lists not only helps you see everything you need to accomplish but it also gets your brain thinking about what you need to do and that can help trigger remembering things.


4. Falling for distractions

Distractions are all around us and with all of the technology available to us it’s becoming increasingly easy to get distracted.

Phones and TV aren’t the only distractions (though they are some big ones). Chatting with a coworker for 45 minutes or noticing that the dishes need done and deciding to do them and not finish the task you were working on are also distractions.

Solution- start by making a conscious decision to finish each task you start without switching to another task. I have a whole guide on minimizing distractions and working through the temptations of distractions.

5. Unproductive screen time

I made sure to add the word unproductive because not all screen time is unproductive. There is screen time that you could be working on personal development and that is awesome!

But there is also a lot of unproductive screen time- i.e too much social media, games, 32 articles on the Bachelor, etc.

Solution- set yourself short timers for when you go on your phone or turn on the TV. When your alarm goes off it reminds you of how much time passed and helps you keep your screen time under control. Screen time can be as productive or unproductive as you make it.


6. Looking for missing items

Most people are either like me and always know where everything is or you are like my man who we spend at least 10 minutes every day looking for his keys/wallet/phone etc.

He’s started actively working on this habit of just setting things down wherever and has noticed since working on eliminating this time-wasting habit he has felt like his mornings are less stressful and more productive.

Solution- start with the basics. Get a bowl and put it somewhere right where you walk in the door and put the necessities in there. Then start working on taking mental notes about where you’re setting something down. This will train your brain to start remembering those actions so you can locate things later.

7. Not shopping online

Yes, I am telling you to shop online more! Or more so, to choose the online options for anything you already need to shop for.

Walking around Target for 60 minutes when all you need is paper towels can be a majorly time-wasting activity!

Solution- ordering basics whenever you can through online retailers like Amazon or will help you save so much time. You can also now either use a service like Amazon Fresh or a lot of grocery chains are offering versions of a “click list” where you can make the purchase online then drive and pick up the groceries- takes about half the amount of time!


8. Too many alerts

Ding * Ding * Ding * each time your phone dings it is an automatic response to look down at the notification. A good part of the time the notification is for something irrelevant and you just swipe it away. That is wasting your time!

Solution- Go into your settings and turn off push notifications for apps that you don’t NEED or want notifications for.

9. Saying yes to everything

We all want to make everyone happy but there becomes a point where saying yes to everyone and everything means that you aren’t able to accomplish what you want to.

I wouldn’t call saying yes to everyone a “bad” habit but it definitely is a habit that can be holding you back from accomplishing more!

Solution- there’s so much that goes into fighting the habit of always saying yes so I made a whole guide on learning how to stop saying yes and focusing on your goals.


10. No sleep schedule

Sleep schedules can actually make or break your day. Think about the days where you didn’t get enough sleep or got too much sleep and you feel groggy and unproductive. The amount of those days can be significantly decreased by figuring out and sticking to a sleep schedule.

Solution- figure out a 30 minute bed time and a 30-60 minute wake up window that works for you and then start working towards going to bed and waking up in those windows.

11. Too much Netflix

This kind of falls into the screen time part but it’s a more specific issue. So many people fall into the Netflix trap as soon as they get home from work. Even if it is intended to just be “background” noise it can still be distracting and it can easily suck you in.

Solution- don’t allow yourself to turn on Netflix (or hulu, or cable, or any TV) until you have accomplished your major goals for the day. Make it more of a reward rather than a necessity for the day.


12. Indecisiveness

This is a HUGE and deep habit that probably needs an entire post (stay tuned for that! subscribe to my emails if you haven’t!). But in a nutshell indecisiveness can hold you back in so many ways. It takes up time to debate different decisions but it also wears you out mentally. Decision fatigue is REAL and it’s a huge problem for a lot of people!

Learning to be decisive is not easy at all but anything you can do to move towards being more decisive will help you achieve your goals in the long run.

Solution- when you find yourself actively being indecisive, give yourself a short time limit until you have to make the decision and then stick to that time. This will start to train your brain to weigh options and come to the best conclusion quicker.

Time wasting habits can get the best of anyone.

But they are holding you back from achieving more every day. I believe in what you can accomplish if you use your time more productively whenever possible.

Looking for more tips and trick on productivity? Check these out:

8 Essential Habits of Organized People

7 Things To Do on Sundays for a Better Week

Learn To Get Up Early Every Day


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