Wasting time at work

Everyone knows how it feels to waste time at work – whether it’s checking social media, having unnecessary meetings, chatting with coworkers, or just staring at a blank screen. Even though taking short breaks might seem okay, too much time off-task can hurt your work and even make you feel stressed. In this guide, we’ll help you figure out your biggest time-wasting habits and share some tips to manage wasted time at work. Keep reading to make the most of your workday!

Wasting time at work is a significant problem for both employees and employers. To get a clear picture of time-wasting activities, let’s look at some work statistics.

  • On average, office workers face a staggering 56 workplace interruptions each day.
  • Nearly 64% of employees use social media while at work.
  • According to a work survey by Salary.com, workers waste an average of 2.09 hours per day on non-work-related tasks.
  • 57% of employees often or very often feel their meetings could have been an email, resulting in 31 hours spent in unproductive meetings over a month.
  • More than 36% of millennials and younger workers, like Gen Z, spend two hours or more checking their personal phones during the workday.
  • 39% of employees find themselves distracted by engaging in gossip with their colleagues, while 27% are sidetracked by co-workers who drop by for chit-chat.

Understanding these statistics gives us insights into the prevalence of these activities and their impact on productivity in the workplace.

Why Do People Waste Time at Work?

Many workers don’t waste time at their jobs because they are lazy or unproductive. There are several reasons why people might end up wasting time at work:

Procrastination: Sometimes, employees put off tasks that feel overwhelming or unpleasant. Instead of doing important work, they might surf the internet or check social media to avoid these tasks.

Burnout: When employees feel overworked and stressed, they may waste time as a way to cope. This can include spending hours on non-work tasks, getting easily distracted, or feeling mentally exhausted and unable to focus.

wating time at work burnout

Lack of Priorities and Focus: Without clear goals, workers may waste time by jumping between tasks without making real progress. This lack of organization can lead to spending time on less important work instead of focusing on crucial tasks.

Poor Time Management: Some employees struggle to manage their time effectively, resulting in lower job satisfaction and a poor work-life balance. This can happen due to a lack of a clear plan, trying to do too many things at once, or not setting realistic goals and deadlines.

Boredom: Certain employees waste time because they’re bored with repetitive tasks and don’t see it as a big deal. This boredom can lead to a lack of motivation, engagement, and ultimately, wasted work hours. The positive side is that these challenges can be identified, addressed, and managed effectively, leading to less time wasted and increased productivity in the workplace.

How to Deal With the Biggest Workplace Time Wasters 

1. Personal Calls and Chats

Sometimes, employees spend too much time on personal things like phone calls or chatting. This can make it hard to focus on work. One way to fix this is to set clear rules about when it’s okay to take personal calls or chat. Managers can also make strict rules about doing personal stuff during work hours.

2. Short Breaks and Snacking

Breaks are good to prevent feeling too tired, but they can also be a problem if people take too many or eat snacks all the time. To fix this, it’s important to have set times for breaks and snacks. This helps people avoid eating without thinking and encourages them to take breaks in a way that helps them work better.

3. Lack of Concentration and Focus

Many things can interrupt work, especially with remote work. If someone gets interrupted, it can take a long time to start working again. To avoid this, it’s better to focus on one thing at a time. People can create a quiet workspace or use headphones to block out noise. Employers can also set specific times when everyone can work without interruptions.

wasting time at work lack of focus

4. Poor Administrative Skills

Some simple tasks, like organizing emails or scheduling meetings, can take up a lot of time. If people aren’t good at organizing, it can waste even more time. To fix this, it’s important to learn how to share tasks. Employers can also train employees to be better at organizing and managing time. Using tools like time trackers and calendars can also make these tasks easier.

5. Unclear Job Descriptions and Roles

If employees don’t know what they should be doing, they might waste time figuring it out. Employers can solve this by making sure everyone knows their jobs and responsibilities. Regular check-ins and talks between managers and employees can also help people understand their roles better, making work more efficient.

6. Lack of Tools and the Right Equipment 

Sometimes, not having the right tools or equipment can waste time. This includes old software, slow computers, or not enough office supplies. Employers should regularly check and update the tools and equipment they provide. Using project management software and time-tracking tools can also help save time.

7. Unclear Communication and Misunderstandings

Bad communication can cause confusion and waste time. If people don’t understand each other, it can lead to mistakes. Employers can solve this by encouraging clear and open communication. Regular team meetings and using project management tools can also help people work better together.

8. Surfing the Web

Spending too much time on the internet for personal things can waste a lot of work time. People might shop online, check social media, or watch videos when they should be working. Employers can limit access to certain websites during work hours and set clear rules about internet use. Giving feedback about performance can also help reduce internet use.

wasting time at work

9. Unproductive Meetings

 Meetings can be helpful, but they can also waste time if they’re not managed well. Before scheduling a meeting, employers should think about whether it’s really needed. Setting an agenda, keeping meetings short, and making sure everyone has clear tasks after the meeting can make them more productive.

Recognize the Activities Where People Waste Time

To make the most of your time, it’s important to look at common things that can waste it. Check how you work to find areas where you might be losing time. You can do this by keeping a record of what you do each day and how long it takes, or by using a time management app. Here are some questions that can help you be more productive:

  • How long does it take to finish important tasks?
  • Do notifications or interruptions distract me easily?
  • Am I organizing my tasks in the right order?
  • Do I know exactly what my job responsibilities and goals are?
  • Can anything improve the tools or equipment I use for work?
  • Am I communicating effectively with my team?
  • Do I spend too much time on things not related to work during work hours?

By asking yourself these questions, you can find ways to be more efficient and use your time wisely.


In short, it’s important to notice and avoid wasting time at work to do a better job and feel happy about it. As Benjamin Franklin said, time once lost can’t be found again. That’s why it’s crucial to use our work hours wisely. That’s where Gemba PMS comes in to help. By teaming up with Gemba PMS, companies can improve how they work and make things more efficient. Gemba PMS provides solutions to find and get rid of things that waste time, so every moment at work is useful. Let’s use our time wisely and discover how Gemba PMS can make work better and more successful.!

Key 13 of 20 Keys is all about stopping activities at work that don’t really help get things done. It’s like making sure everyone is using their time wisely. Waste here means doing things that don’t add any real value. The goal is to make sure people spend more time doing things that really matter and make a difference in the workplace.

Imagine you have 8 hours at work. Key 13 of 20 Keys is saying, “Let’s not waste those hours on things that don’t help us succeed.” Instead, let’s focus on the tasks that really make a positive impact and help us achieve our goals. It’s like saying, “Hey, let’s not spend too much time on stuff that doesn’t get us anywhere. Let’s use our time for things that really count.” So, it’s about being smart with our time and doing things that bring real value to the table. 

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