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WASTE OF TIME Average Brit wastes a staggering 590 hours a year doing meaningless tasks, research claims

A NATIONWIDE survey of British adults has revealed that we waste one hour and 37 minutes each day on fruitless activity, such as cooking meals your children refuse to eat, attending pointless work meetings and searching high and low for lost iPhones.

This adds up to 590 hours a year, with 63 percent saying being stuck in traffic is life’s biggest waste of time.

Being put on hold came in second (55 percent), while languishing in shop queues came third (42 percent).

Worrying about things you can’t do anything about (39 percent), resetting passwords (28 percent) and browsing social media on autopilot (28 percent) also made the list, along with watching films with disappointing endings (27 percent), twiddling thumbs while Wi-Fi connects (27 percent) and waiting for late trains (26 percent).

Despite, or perhaps because of, the hours we fritter away on pointless tasks, three in five Brits (62 percent) claim they are time poor and 85 percent believe modern life is to blame, with so many options on offer meaning there is a bigger capacity to waste time.

The study found, unsurprisingly, that 81 percent of us hate wasting time, and 47 percent believe squandered time leads to reduced productivity.

But it doesn’t just impact on our productivity: feeling that we’ve wasted precious time makes half of Brits (49 percent) feel frustrated and nearly one in five (17 percent) feel full of regret for all the misspent minutes.



More than half of us (52 percent) believe it’s not just your life that is thrown away because of pointless tasks, claiming that ‘time is money’.

Richard Evans, head of technical services at webuyanycar.com who commissioned the poll said, ‘’We were not surprised to find that over 60 percent of Brits feel that they are time poor. Modern life offers so many opportunities and distractions and people are busier than ever before.

‘’It was also no surprise to learn that one in five motorists feel that time spent trying to sell their car is time wasted.’’

The study also found that almost three quarters of Brits simply hate to waste time on pointless chit-chat, and 13 percent said one of the most annoying drains on their time was listening to people talk endlessly about their holidays.

The study found that six in ten of us (63 percent) believe we’ll look back at life and feel sad about all the time we’ve wasted.

When quizzed on what they would do if they could have all the needlessly spent time back, 59 percent said they would like to see more family and friends, 58 percent said they’d go travelling and 35 percent would love to learn a new skill, like a language.



  1. Sitting in traffic – 63 percent
  2. Being on hold – 55 percent
  3. Queuing – 42 percent
  4. Worrying about things you can’t do anything about – 39 percent
  5. Resetting passwords – 35 percent
  6. Browsing social media on autopilot – 28 percent
  7. Watching a film that turns out to be terrible – 27 percent
  8. Waiting for Wi-Fi to work – 27 percent
  9. Waiting on a broken down or late train/bus/tram – 26 percent
  10. Dwelling on your mistakes – 25 percent
  11. Listening to pointless voicemails – 16 percent
  12. Starting a diet you will never keep – 16 percent
  13. Listening to people talk about their holidays – 13 percent
  14. Watching a bad box set or series – 12 percent
  15. Cooking food that your kids refuse to eat – 11 percent
  16. Pointless business meetings – 10 percent
  17. Searching for your phone – 8 percent