Increasing Productivity: What Is The Number One Time-Waster?

The latest Bureau of Labor Statistics American Time Use Survey for 2008 has recently come out, and it holds some interesting statistics about the way Americans as a whole spend their time. A common frustration we hear from people is that there just isn’t enough time for what’s important. Looking at the survey results it would appear that watching television is the number one time-waster in people’s days. According to the survey, over 80% of people spend close to three hours a day watching television. The only other things American’s spent more time on were working and sleeping.

If you’re looking for a quick fix for time issues, it’s a good idea to take an honest look at your leisure time and see if television is eating up a large portion of it. There’s nothing wrong with relaxing a bit at the end of a long day, but perhaps a better use for that big chunk of TV time would be taking a walk with your spouse and children or having coffee with a friend. For a culture that talks so much about valuing relationships, it is surprising that we spend almost three times as much time on television than we do socializing and communicating with people. Try cutting out just an hour a day from your TV time, replace it with something you value, and see how it affects your mood and stress levels. You just might find you have more time that you thought!



  1. Mark Joersz says:

    Laura – I find that the biggest business time drain for me is managing e-mail. In the context, I try to keep my Inbox as empty as possible, with only active and pending items remaining. But, with my travels, it backs up in a big hurry. My sent box is definitely an even bigger challenge to keep empty(but easier to clean out). I find myself spending productive time in the hotel room or in the evening cleaning things up. I actually use the TV in the background to keep up on news while I’m doing e-mails and clean up.

  2. Excellent suggestion, Laura. I’ve been walking instead of TV the past three months and was able to wear a shirt to church today that I’ve not worn in at least years! I feel better longer, too.