As much as we try to save time, we always end up feeling pretty crunched. With social media, YouTube, meetings and phone calls, how could we not get distracted? Even when you’re parking your car, it can feel like minutes are going down the drain.
Gadgets, apps and productivity hacks can only get you so far. Sometimes the best way to start managing your time is recognizing where it’s all going in the first place. We’ve looked at various studies and rounded up some of the most frequent ways people waste their time. Take these into consideration so you can figure out where your lost time is going.
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With the rise of social media, smartphone apps and other tech distractions over the past few years, people seem to be slowing down on the amount of time they spend watching TV. However, that doesn’t mean they’re still not spending much of their day looking at the television screen.
The average person spends three hours and 55 minutes watching television every day -- which adds up to 1,460 hours a year. However, in 2012, the average person watched four hours and 38 minutes a day.
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As of May 2016, the average user spends 50 minutes a day on Facebook, Instagram and Messenger. If the average person sleeps 8.8 hours every night, that’s nearly one-16th of their day. This number only seems to be increasing too: In 2014, the average user reportedly spent 40 minutes a day on these platforms.
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Although it doesn’t quite compete with the addictiveness of Facebook or Instagram, YouTube still ranks as one of the top websites that people spend much of their time. On average, users spend 17 minutes on YouTube every day. This number may seem small, but the average viral video barely breaks a minute -- one video just leads to another and another.
We’re all guilty of getting sucked into apps and internet browsing on our smartphones. In fact, the average American spends five hours a day on their mobile phones -- a 20 percent increase from 2015. Overall, time spent on mobile apps has increased 69 percent year over year. With this much time, what exactly are we doing on our phones? Facebook’s app accounts for nearly 19 percent of time spent on apps, 15 percent is spent on music, media and entertainment and 11 percent is spent on gaming.
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Nearly 37 million households own a Playstation, Wii or Xbox. And of those people, an average gamer will spend four hours a day on one of the devices -- that’s one-sixth of the entire day.
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This one’s a given: When sitting in traffic, you actually feel your time being wasted. Unfortunately, a solution is hard to find. And sadly, the average person spend 42 hours a year sitting in traffic. Not only that, but the average commuter loses the equivalent of $1,400 in productivity. Unsurprisingly, Los Angeles takes the title for most congested city in the U.S., with the average commuter losing the equivalent of $2,408.
The amount of time spent looking for parking varies place to place. In the U.K., the average driver loses four hours a year looking for a space. In the U.S., drivers spend anywhere from 3.5 to 14 minutes looking for a spot. While this number may seem small, it adds up. For example, a 15-block area in Los Angeles typically serves 8,000 cars a day. That means 470 to 1,870 hours are lost searching for parking there. And of course, cruising for parking spaces creates more time loss by added traffic congestion -- 30 percent of vehicles on the streets of major cities are looking for parking.
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It’s funny how much time is wasted at a place where we’re meant to be our most productive selves: work. Most of this time wasted is in meetings. On average, employees attend 62 hour-long meetings a month, in which half are considered time wasters -- meaning 31 hours are spent in unproductive meetings a month. Nine out of 10 people admit to daydreaming during meetings.
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