9 Time Wasting Tasks

  • 01 of 10

    9 Time-Wasting Tasks You Can Stop Doing Right Now

    9 Time wasters you can just stop doing right NOW.
    9 Time wasters you can just stop doing right NOW. Getty

    Everyone knows that surfing the Internet, watching TV, and playing games on your phone can destroy your  daily routine. But some other tasks you do because you think they’re productive can also secretly suck your time away. Here are nine time-wasting tasks you can stop doing right now.

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  • 02 of 10

    Researching small actions over and over

    Stop researching small actions over and over
    Stop researching small actions over and over. Getty

    You hear about a new park and excitedly research its hiking trails, hours, and how to get there. When you eventually get around to making the trip, you’ve forgotten all the details and have to do it all again. Stop this! When you’re motivated enough to research something, take advantage of the feeling and either follow through right away or write everything down so when you can act on your idea, all you’ll have to do is grab your notes.

    Tip from Elizabeth: Conversely, don't spend so long...MORE researching that you never take action. Recover from "decision fatigue" by cutting down on the amount of decisions you have to make.

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  • 03 of 10

    Deciding what to wear

    Get dressed more quickly in the morning
    Get dressed more quickly in the morning. Getty

    There are several ways around this annoying time-suck. Build your wardrobe around a “uniform” of clothes that always look and feel good on you, or set out a week of outfits on the Sunday before your work week begins. Decluttering your closet can also really help cut down on “nothing to wear” moments.


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  • 04 of 10

    Thinking about emails

    Just answer your emails
    Just answer your emails. Getty

    Instead of thinking about how to respond to emails and writing possible responses in your head, just answer the emails. Few are important enough to require major strategizing.

    Tip from Elizabeth: I keep a running response to the inevitable "How are you? What have you been up to?" emails that I get once in a while. This may seem like more work, but it seriously saves you time. 

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  • 05 of 10

    Trying to remember what you need at the store

    Organized shopping list
    Organized shopping list. Getty

    Keep a running list of everything you need at the drugstore, grocery store, or mall so that when you find yourself there, you can get in and out fast. Write the list on your phone, in your planner, or wherever you prefer - just make sure your list will always be with you, not sitting on your desk.


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  • 06 of 10

    DIY-ing Everything

    Buy or DIY?
    Buy or DIY?. Getty

    Calculate how much you’re really saving by taking time to do beauty treatments and home repairs yourself. Think not just about money, but also about time. If DIY is the better deal, go for it; if you’re actually losing time you could be working or doing something else more valuable, or relaxing which is just as important to your productivity, pay a pro to do it.

    Tip from Elizabeth: 

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  • 07 of 10

    Cleaning all the things

    Celeaning is a time suck
    Celeaning is a time suck. Getty

    Allie Brosh’s Hyperbole and a Half gave the meme to a phenomenon everyone has experienced. Sometimes you happily clean until everything’s spotless…then when you fail to repeat this the next week (or month) you feel like a slacker. But a major “spring cleaning” is only occasionally necessary if you regularly wipe your counters after cooking and polish mirrors when you notice a smudge. Instead of setting aside a whole day to clean everything, build frequent quick clean-ups into your day.


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  • 08 of 10


    Save time by using a laundry mat
    Save time by using a laundry mat. Getty

    Separate items into two piles when you put them in the laundry to avoid untangling and separating clothes just before washing. Buy enough socks and underwear to avoid having to go to the laundromat every week. Research wash-and-fold options where you live to possibly avoid doing laundry yourself at all.


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  • 09 of 10

    Attending events from start to finish

    There is no need to attend events from start to finish
    There is no need to attend events from start to finish. Getty

    If you think you can’t go to a party because you don’t have all evening, you might be wrong. In most cases, no one will care if you make an appearance and then move on. (Of course, in some cases it’s rude to come late or leave early. But for casual events without a set schedule, you’ll probably be fine.)


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  • 10 of 10


    Save time by working at home when possible.
    Save time by working at home when possible. Getty

    Of course, not everyone has the luxury to stop commuting long distances to work. But if it’s at all possible, it’s worth doing. If not, maybe there are other ways to make your trip slightly less wasteful. Telecommute one day a week; take a train or bus rather than drive so you can get something else done on the way; or try to do something productive or enriching in your car, like listening to podcasts or music you love or a language-learning CD.