The average Brit wastes a staggering 590 hours a year doing meaningless tasks, according to new research.
In survey of over 2,000 people by We Buy Any Car, Brits said they waste an average of one hour and 37 minutes each day on fruitless activity, such as cooking meals their children refuse to eat, attending pointless work meetings and searching high and low for lost iPhones.
This adds up to 590 hours a year – almost 25 days – with 63% saying being stuck in traffic is life’s biggest waste of time.
Being put on hold came in second (55%), while languishing in shop queues came third (42%).
Worrying about things you can’t do anything about (39%), resetting passwords (28%) and browsing social media on autopilot (28%) also made the list.
So too did watching films with disappointing endings (27%), twiddling thumbs while connecting to Wi-Fi (27%) and waiting for late trains (26%).
Despite or perhaps because of the hours we fritter away on pointless tasks, three in five Brits (62%) claimed they were time poor.
Some 85% said modern life is to blame, with so many options on offer meaning there is a greater potential to waste time.
The study found, unsurprisingly, that 81% of people hate wasting time, and 47% believe squandered time leads to reduced productivity.
But it doesn’t just impact on productivity: feeling they’ve we’ve wasted precious time makes half of Brits (49%) feel frustrated and nearly one in five (17%) feel full of regret for all the misspent minutes.
More than half (52%) believe it’s not just your life that is thrown away because of pointless tasks, claiming that “time is money”.
The study also found almost three-quarters of Brits simply hate to waste time on pointless chit-chat, and 13% said one of the most annoying drains on their time was listening to people talk endlessly about their holidays.
Six in ten (63%) believe they’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% said they would like to see more family and friends, 58% said they’d go travelling and 35% would love to learn a new skill, like a language.
The 17 top ways Brits waste time
Here are the survey’s top results:
Sitting in traffic (63%)
Being on hold (55%)
Worrying about things they can’t do anything about (39%)
Resetting passwords (35%)
Browsing social media on autopilot (28%)
Watching a film that turns out to be terrible (27%)
Waiting for Wi-Fi to work (27%)
Waiting on a broken down or late train/bus/tram (26%)
Dwelling on their mistakes (25%)
Listening to pointless voicemails (16%)
Starting a diet they will never keep (16%)
Listening to people talk about their holidays (13%)
Watching a bad box set or series (12%)
Cooking food their kids refuse to eat (11%)
Pointless business meetings (10%)
Searching for their phone (8%)