Cold callers, self-service checkouts and hand-wash only clothes - life's biggest time-wasters

Cold callers, self-service checkouts and hand-wash only clothes are among life's biggest wastes of time, according to a new survey.

Caffeine-free tea and coffee, automated telephone systems, soap operas and TV ads also feature in the top 50 list.

Social media also looms large as a ‘time vampire’ - including aimless tweeting, pointless videos and instant messaging at work instead of speaking to colleagues.

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Scrolling through Facebook five minutes after the last check, and waiting for YouTube videos to buffer also feature in the list.

The average Brit claims to waste one hour and 42 minutes of their precious time every day, and wishes they could spend it doing more useful things such as getting jobs done around the house and pursuing hobbies and interests.

That’s the equivalent of almost of 12 hours a week wasted on things such as playing mind-numbing games likes Candy Crush, hangovers and purchasing coffee on the go.

The study shows the average person spends hours of their day waiting - for people to call back, parcels to arrive, delayed trains, pages to loads on the computer, queuing, food to defrost and the washing machine cycle to finish.

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For those respondents with families, much time is spent arguing over homework, booking doctors’ appointments and cleaning the house only to watch everyone trash it again five minutes later.

Packing a shopping trolley, unpacking it onto a conveyor belt, packing into shopping bags and then unpacking again is also something which grates many.

Untangling ear phones, removing a ridiculous amount of packaging from a small item and browsing properties online which you have no intention of buying also feature on the list.

In fact, the average person reckons they waste at least one whole day a week at work, and could save an hour a day in the workplace if they didn’t have to deal with unnecessary meetings and phone calls.

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While most people admit to wasting an hour and 24 minutes using social media and surfing the internet every day.


1.Cold callers

2.Adverts before you can watch any video / TV online

3.Trying to get through to call centres

4.Having to enter a series of numbers on a telephone key pad before being able to talk to a human

5.Sitting in traffic jams

6.Automated telephone systems

7.Queuing for ages

8.People asking questions because they’re too lazy to look up the answer themselves

9.Meetings which could just have easily taken place over the telephone

10.Unnecessary packaging for the smallest of items

11.Waiting for a call back

12.Trying to remember your passwords and log in details

13.TV adverts

14.Self-service checkouts where you always need assistance

15.Trying to book a doctor’s appointment

16.Waiting for a parcel to arrive

17.Home insurance phone calls

18.Waiting for delayed trains

19.Waiting for pages to load on the computer

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20.Scrolling through Facebook five minutes after you last checked it

21.Watching soap operas

22.Worrying about what might happen

23.Having to return items to a shop that don’t fit

24.Spending a day being hungover and not doing anything

25.Waiting for public transport

26.Waiting in line at the post office

27.Clothes which are hand-wash only

28.Playing mind numbing games like Candy Crush

29.Dusting only for the dust to settle again

30.Watching pointless videos on social media

31.Commuting to work

32.Tweeting about nothing in particular

33.Cleaning the house, only to watch the family trash it five minutes later

34.Instant messaging at work when you could just speak to each other

35.Packing a shopping trolley, unpacking onto a conveyor belt, packing into shopping bags and unpacking again

36.Waiting for YouTube videos to buffer

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37.Looking at pictures of people you don’t even know on social media

38.Caffeine free tea and coffee

39.Weak tea bags

40.Untangling ear phones for them to get tangled again

41.Waiting for food to defrost

42.Watching television repeats

43.Waiting for the washing machine cycle to finish

44.Taking hundreds of photos to try and get the perfect selfie

45.Going out to buy coffee when you could simply have one at home or work

46.Browsing holidays online that you can’t afford

47.Clients/customers that won’t listen to you

48.Browsing properties online that you never plan to buy

49.The inevitable arguments with the children before the homework is finally done

50.Trying on things you can’t afford