A Guide to Tackle Time Wasting Activities in Workplace and Transform Wasted Time into Success

  Published : May 22, 2024
  Last Updated: May 23, 2024
A Guide to Tackle Time Wasting Activities in Workplace and Transform Wasted Time into Success


In today’s fast-paced business environment, time is a precious commodity. Wasted minutes quickly translate into missed deadlines and lost profits.

Time wasting activities at the workplace can cost you dearly. Office workers endure an average of 56 interruptions daily. These interruptions, coupled with various other activities, lead to a significant loss in productive hours. Top-time wasting activities in the workplace include

  • Social media browsing
  • Excessive meetings.

Infact, 64% of workers spent time on social media during work hours. In a month 31 hours are wasted in unproductive meetings.

How we spend time at work

Employees waste an average of 2.09 hours per day on non-work-related tasks. These time wasting activities can:

  • Drain employee morale
  • Erode your company’s bottom line

10 Most Common Time Wasting Activities at Work and How to Eradicate Them

This section delves into the ten most prevalent time wasting activities in the workplace and provides practical solutions to eliminate them.

Unnecessary Meetings

Before scheduling a meeting, meticulously evaluate its purpose and necessity. Ensure only essential participants are involved. 57% of employees frequently feel their meetings could have been an email.

To keep meetings efficient and productive:

  • Craft clear agendas,
  • Adhere to strict time limits
  • Focus on actionable outcomes

Multitasking Myth

While multitasking might feel like a time-saving tactic, research demonstrates it often leads to

  • Errors
  • Diminished quality of work
  • Hampered creativity

For optimal results, encourage your employees to

  • Prioritize tasks
  • Tackle them one at a time

average time wasted at work by role, exempt status & education

Delegation Dilemma

As a business owner, it can be tempting to micromanage and handle everything yourself. However, resist this urge! Empower your team by delegating tasks that align with their skill sets. Ensure that you:

  • Provide clear instructions
  • Offer ongoing support
  • Celebrate their accomplishments

These can foster a sense of ownership and accountability. Your employees will be more included to avoid the time wasters at work.

Digital Distractions

Social media platforms and online browsing are notorious time wasters in the workplace. Over 36% of millennials and Gen Z workers spend a minimum of two hours during the workday checking their personal phones.

  • Implement internet usage policies that restrict access to non-work-related websites during work hours.
  • Encourage employees to silence notifications.
  • Consider utilizing time-blocking techniques to dedicate specific periods for focused work.

industries that waste the most time surfing the internet

Email Overload

Constant email checking disrupts workflow and hinders concentration. Encourage your employees to schedule designated times to check their inbox and respond to emails throughout the day.

To streamline their inbox, your employees can

  • Utilize email filters
  • Unsubscribe from unnecessary mailing lists


Unexpected interruptions can derail focus and productivity. Encourage employees to

  • Communicate their desired work styles
  • Establish boundaries

Engaging in gossip with their co-workers is a significant distracting factor for 39% of employees. 27% of the workforce are sidetracked by colleagues who drop by for a chit-chat.

To minimize interruptions, your employees can:

  • Utilize tools like “Do Not Disturb” features
  • Designate specific quiet times during the workday


A cluttered workspace and disorganized digital files translate into wasted time searching for information. Promote a culture of organization by

  • Implementing filing systems
  • Encouraging employees to keep their workspaces tidy

To streamline document management, invest in:

  • Project management tools
  • Time-tracking tools like ProHance
  • Cloud storage solutions

Overstuffed To-Do Lists

An overwhelming to-do list can be paralyzing. It can cause employee burnout. Consequently, it can lead to reduced productivity. Encourage employees to:

  • Prioritize tasks
  • Create manageable daily to-do lists that focus on the 2-3 most critical tasks for the day.


Important tasks get pushed aside, leading to last-minute scrambling and stress. Address procrastination by

  • Breaking down large projects into smaller, more manageable chunks.
  • Encourage employees to tackle the most challenging tasks first thing in the morning when energy levels are high.

Excessive Breaks

Breaks are essential for rejuvenation and focus. However, excessive break times can significantly impede productivity.

  • Encourage employees to take short, scheduled breaks to move around and refresh their minds.
  • Consider implementing a time-tracking app to monitor break duration.

Why is it important to avoid time wasting activities in the workplace?

There are several compelling reasons to avoid time wasters in the workplace, both for individual employees and businesses as a whole. Here’s a breakdown of the key reasons:

Increased Productivity and Efficiency:

  • Focus and Concentration: By eliminating distractions and staying on task, employees can achieve a deeper state of focus. This can lead to higher quality work completed in less time.
  • Reduced Errors: Multitasking and context switching can lead to mistakes. Eliminating time wasters at work allows for a more focused approach. This minimizes errors and rework.
  • Meeting Deadlines: When time isn’t wasted on unproductive activities, employees have a greater chance of meeting deadlines and completing projects on time.

Improved Employee Morale and Well-being:

  • Reduced Stress: The constant struggle to stay on top of a workload with the biggest time wasters can be stressful. Eliminating them reduces stress. It creates a more positive work environment.
  • Sense of Accomplishment: Completing tasks efficiently and effectively fosters a sense of accomplishment and boosts employee morale.
  • Improved Work-Life Balance: By reclaiming time wasted during the workday, employees have more time for personal commitments and can achieve a better work-life balance.

Enhanced Business Performance:

  • Cost Savings: When employees are productive and efficient, businesses save money on labor costs and wasted resources.
  • Increased Revenue: By completing projects faster and with higher quality, businesses can potentially increase revenue and profitability.
  • Improved Customer Satisfaction: Timely completion of projects and efficient communication with clients leads to higher customer satisfaction.

Competitive Advantage:

  • Faster Time-to-Market: Businesses that can eliminate time wasters at work can get products and services to market faster. This helps you gain a competitive edge.
  • Improved Innovation: When employees are freed from time-consuming tasks, they have more time and energy for creative thinking and innovation.
  • Stronger Employer Brand: A reputation for efficiency and productivity can attract top talent and strengthen your company’s employer brand.

Effective Use of Resources:

  • Reduced Costs: Less time wasted translates to less overhead for businesses.
  • Improved Resource Allocation: When employees are focused and productive, you can allocate resources more effectively towards strategic initiatives.

Also Read: Unlocking Peak Performance: The Power of Employee Productivity Monitoring

Wrapping Up

By implementing these time saving strategies, you can develop a work environment where employees can thrive and productivity soars. The reclaimed time can be used for

  • Innovation,
  • Growth, and
  • Achieving your business goals.

Remember, time management isn’t about working harder. It’s about working smarter. Time-tracking software like ProHance can help you combat the biggest time wasters at the workplace. Schedule a free meeting today to get a demo of this software.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. What are the biggest time wasters at work?

Several activities can steal your focus and productivity throughout the workday. Some of the most common culprits include:

  • Unnecessary meetings
  • Multitasking
  • Dealing with other people’s work
  • Online distractions (social media, browsing)
  • Excessive emails and notifications
  • Interruptions from colleagues
  • Disorganization and messy workspaces
  • Overly long to-do lists
  • Procrastination
  • Excessive or unstructured breaks

Q2. How can I identify time wasters in my workday?

Keeping a time log for a few days can be an eye-opening exercise. Track your activities throughout the workday and see where your time is going. You might be surprised how much time seemingly small distractions accumulate.

Q3. What are some strategies to avoid wasting time at work?

This blog post outlines numerous strategies to combat time wasters. Here are a few key takeaways:

  • Set boundaries: Mute notifications, designate specific times for emails, and encourage colleagues to do the same.
  • Prioritize ruthlessly: Focus on the 2-3 most important tasks for the day and break them down into smaller steps.
  • Embrace focused work: Minimize distractions by creating a focused work environment and consider implementing “quiet time” periods.
  • Leverage technology: Utilize time-tracking software, project management tools, and communication platforms to streamline workflows.
  • Delegate and empower: Don’t be afraid to delegate tasks! Train your team on effective organization and time management.

Q4. How can I encourage my team to avoid time wasters?

Open communication is the key. You can:

  • Discuss the importance of time management and the impact of time wasters on productivity.
  • Lead by example and implement some of the strategies mentioned above. 
  • Consider offering training sessions on time management and organization skills.

Contact Us