8 Common Time Wasters at Work

  • February 3, 2023
  • by Ola Rybacka
  • No comments

A lot of people tend to waste their time at work in different ways. Some of them by just surfing the internet, checking social media notifications, unsuccessful organizational system or simple disorganization. As a result, the tasks to be completed are accumulating. Fortunately, it’s a matter of developing good habits and paying attention to the mistakes you make.

How much time do you waste at work? Measure it!

First step to overcome wasted time is to measure it and control what takes you the most time at work. Exclusion of major time waster will help you to stay focused and finish certain tasks saving your valuable time. TimeCamp is a tool that may help you to exclude time wasters in the workplace and track your time spent on each task. It is really useful to maintain self-discipline and save time.

The most common time wasters in a workplace

1. Unnecessary Meetings

Unproductive meetings are one of the most common time wasters. They take away from the overall productivity that you might have. It’s a good idea to either keep them after the normal schedule or, if possible, create an online system that will allow people to be in a meeting while also working and they can stop working only when they have something to say.

online meeting

2. Checking Emails

Mails are by far the biggest time wasters at the office, because there are many situations in which you have to check and reply dozens or hundreds of them.

That’s why you have to work hard in order to acquire a good time tracking and time management technique which will help get rid of such issues efficiently.

Try to opt for either face to face or phone conversations or mails. Also, avoid checking mails first thing in the morning, instead try to work on the important stuff, mails can be replied at some point in the afternoon. It may also be helpful to turn off the email notifications not to lose focus and stay productive.

3. Micromanaging Employees

Although micromanaging seems good because it lets you ensure that everything is done accordingly, it actually affects your employee’s performance and morale. It lessens work efficiency and undermines employees’ effort working at their peak performance. 

Once you have set clear expectations and provided orientation and training, your job is to let the employees do their jobs. You can monitor how an employee works and coach them on the sidelines whenever they have questions and concerns about their work. 

Letting the employees do their job while giving them a degree of autonomy and flexibility will help them grow, boost their morale, and increase their work performance. And you will avoid additional tasks that are time wasters at work.

👉 Read also our article about 15 Negative Effects of Micromanagement and How to Fix It!

4. Multitasking and content switching

We all know that multitasking is killing our productivity. And when we do multiple tasks, we only waste our time. Our brain isn’t able to do all things at once. So if you think you’re great at juggling all your tasks at once, you couldn’t be more wrong. When multitasking, you’re slowing down your work progress. You also prolong your tasks’ accomplishment. Working on your project in separated periods of time can make you easily forget about that great idea you had in your head just before you switched to that project from a week ago. Trust me, you’ll get much more done if you concentrate on one task before moving on to another.

5. Disorganization

If you aren’t a person that’s organized, then this will definitely hamper your time management at all times. You will waste time trying to find the items you are looking for and it’s just a very bad thing overall, which is why you have to find solution.

Stay a few days after your regular schedule to organize your items, be it on the desk or inside your work computer. It will help you to minimalize distractions and stay focused while working. Add a time tracking app to track how many hours you spend organizing your items per day as well.

👉 Get know more about Project Prioritization-How to Do It Right!

6. Doing other people’s work

One of the most dangerous time thieves is a lack of assertiveness.

It happens to us that we can’t say “no” when someone asks us something. We often lose the time that we could devote to fulfilling our duties and thus achieving our life goals. Lack of this skill often gives birth to disappointment as there is nothing more distressing when we see how someone at the expense of our weakness uses us to perform their duties.

Say NO. Do not be afraid to use this word! Let’s learn, although I know it’s hard to do it, to distinguish people who need help from the ones who are just using us. Only then will we be able to realize how intensely other people have interfered in our 24 hours.

7. Social Media and other online distractions

Studies show that around 60% or more of the time that people spend online has nothing to do with their job during work hours. Social media are one of the most common workplace time wasters. The idea is to make time limits or block sites, log out social media accounts and chat apps. This way you can increase your productivity and avoid wasting time! Another solution would to be perform all those distracting activities during the lunch break, around 30 minutes or so will suffice.

   social media distractions

8. Chatty coworkers

Hell is other people, wrote Jean-Paul Sartre once upon a time. It sounds very pessimistic and it’s not always true, but when we talk about stealing time, it makes a big sense. People lose plenty of time at work, having little chats, discussing unimportant stuff and talking on the phone on and on. It’s important to have good relations with office workers but in the course of work, they should recede into the background.

How to avoid time wasters?

Time tracking

If you don’t monitor your work, you will not be able to track your progress but also self-development. Create a system which will give you a clear and detailed insight into your work. For this, you may find TimeCamp useful. It’s a time tracking software which not only tracks your work hours but also helps you keep a hand on all your activities (both productive and unproductive). With this tool, you don’t have to worry about wasting your time on useless things.

Better project management

Setting your goals straight can save a lot of your time and energy as well as boost your productivity. If you create a list of goals you want to achieve, you’ll stop wasting time on things you don’t have to do. Instead, you will focus on doing those goals you planned. Additionally, setting deadlines will also be helpful as it will encourage you to finish all projects on time.

Set a schedule for deep work

A simple to-do list is helpful, but you’ll need proper planning to be really efficient and achieve goals with ease. A proper plan is also great for saving a lot of time. Make sure to include scheduled time for attending meetings (with both clients and your company officials) — this will give an idea of how much time you’ll have to do all the other tasks of importance. 

Set a time for breaks

Constant working without taking breaks decreased productivity. It’s important to do regular and proper breaks which will help your brain to rest and tackle the problem later with new energy. If possible spend this time outside and unwind. Even on the busiest day, you should take a break. Otherwise, your productivity will be at a low level which will cause stress and frustration. Taking proper breaks is good for maintaining focus every day.

Stop Multi-tasking


Not many people are able to multitask effectively. Working on multiple projects at once may decrease your focus and productivity. Divide your work into different tasks and approach them separately, not all at once. Helpful may be creating a to-do list with important tasks and realizing one task at a time. Remember there is always a possibility to delegate tasks when working on projects with team. Also, it is helpful to reduce the stress connected with deadlines.


In conclusion, office life does come with its fair share of time wasters. It’s always a good idea to check them out and focus on the results because that’s what matters the most. Keep that in mind that good time management and time tracking solution can improve your productivity, but you should also fight against the time-wasters at work and just focus on what needs to be done fast. If you do so, the results can be more than impressive!

Support your activities with time tracking software!

Co-author: Wiktoria Rybicka, Marketing Intern in TimeCamp

Ola Rybacka

Content Specialist at TimeCamp, foodie and doxie lover, full-time otaku. よろしくお願いします!

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