Max Earners never waste their time. Your earning capability greatly depends on how you spend your time. The powerful secret to stop wasting time is to live as if today were your last day on earth.

Want to increase your productivity (which can lead to earning more money)? Start by eliminating these 8 common time-wasting habits.


On average, a human has a little over two billion heart beats. Whether our heart beats will fade or set a footstep on earth and into other humans’ lives depends on how we spend the heart beat right now in this moment and the very next moment.

In 2005 Stanford Commencement, Steve Jobs quoted

“If you live each day as if it were your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.”

He said the quote had made such an impression on him that he asked himself every day

“If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today? […] Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life.”

In every corner on this planet earth, we all have 24 hours a day. With that same amount of time, many people have managed to pull out amazing things while the biggest achievement of many others is just breathing air.

So, are you wasting your time on any of the following activities?

1. Watching television

I almost choked on water when I read that on average, a North American adult watches more than 5 hours of television a day. You gotta be kidding me! More than 5 freaking hours a day on TV?

TV definitely deserves a champion medal for a time wasting device. TV consumption causes obesity and brain inactivity among many other negative impacts.

What should we be doing instead?

Cut your cable. Watch something purposefully and selectively, which may be a good movie (I don’t mean TV series), a good piece of music video, an inspiring biography, an eye-opening documentary or a quality YouTube clip that teaches you something you don’t know (mind the YouTube autoplay mode though). Time watching brainless things should be reduced to the minimal.

2. Surfing the internet, browsing social media, and playing video games

An average North American spends about 24 hours a week online, mostly surfing the internet and browsing social media. But young people between the age of 18 and 34 spend significantly more time online than the elderly – a whopping 5 hours a day. This comes pretty close to TV consumption.

It doesn’t stop there, people on average spend about 12 more hours a week playing video games on computers, smart phones, and tablets.

I keep pulling my hairs, how can people have so much time to waste when on most days, one hour of downtime before sleep is already my luxury?

What should we be doing instead?

Set time for surfing the internet and social media to a healthy dose at a certain time during the day. Catch up with people face-to-face or by phone and email instead of endless instant texting or sneakily browsing their lives on social media.

3. Shopping

Somewhere it said an average women spend 150 hours a year or almost 3 hours a week shopping for clothes and shoes. Besides buying clothes and shoes, women also spend a fairly large amount of time and money buying make-up and skin care products. And guess what, about 50 hours a year is also wasted on window-shopping.

Is it also alarming that many teens think of shopping as their favorite pastime?

What should we be doing instead?

Buy what is truly needed and do it as quick as possible. Don’t look around and get trapped into buying more things you don’t need. I’m a women too, but I spent less than 10 hours a year buying clothes and shoes for the whole family.

4. Drinking, doing drugs, and partying pointlessly

Hanging out to catch up with friends is nice to do once in a while. But constantly going to the clubs to drink, drug, and party with strangers is not only pointless but also self-destructive to both your health and your wallet. Sadly, that’s how many young dudes choose to spend their leisure time.

What should we be doing instead?

Go out for a walk to enjoy nature, do sports, unplug to de-stress, eat a good healthy meal, get a real romantic partner and nurture the relationship. There are countless things to do for leisure when you’re young and healthy.

5. Looking for misplaced things

Hands up if you had to phone yourself just to locate your misplaced cell phone! And the madness of digging through your house to find that car/house key or wallet when you’re late for work, anyone?

People spend about 2.5 days a year looking for misplaced things. That’s more than a weekend or half of a work week. I’ll jump to heaven if I have an extra weekend each year.

Things people regularly misplace are phones, keys, glasses, shoes, and wallets. Misplacing things sometimes cost you more than time. It can make you late for work/school, miss appointments/meetings, or even worse, miss trains/flights.

What should we be doing instead?

Read “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing” of Marie Kondo and learn how to get organized at home and at work.

6. Arguing

Arguing is a huge waste of time. It’s useless to argue pointless things with fixed minded people. It takes away your valuable time and drains out your energy without bringing you any closer to your life goals.

Between family members and romantic partners, a healthy dose of arguments is sometimes necessary to ensure mutual understanding. However, an escalated argument is again pointless and to be avoided at all cost.

What should we be doing instead?

“Waste no more time arguing what a good man should be. Be one.” (Marcus Aurelius)

“When you talk, you are only repeating what you already know. But if you listen, you may learn something new.” (Dalai Lama)

7. Multitasking

Multitasking sounds like a great way to get a lot of things done at once. Truth is, humans are wired to be mono-taskers. When you think you multitask, you actually do task switching. Multitasking invites distraction that takes a high toll on productivity, that’s obvious. What’s even worse is it may also impair your cognitive processes, researchers said.

What should we be doing instead?

Stop hurting your brain and productivity by attempting at multitasking. Focus on completing your tasks, one at a time.

8. Procrastinating

Wasting time on procrastinating important tasks surely doesn’t help you complete them. The tasks are still there waiting for you. Procrastination doesn’t make you feel good either. It only promotes negative feelings and anxiety. So, why are you still procrastinating?

What should we be doing instead?

Procrastination is a complex animal. You can’t just simply say to yourself “stop procrastinating” and the next second you’ll jump at the task. To cure procrastination, we have to understand its root cause and tackle it from there. People may procrastinate because of perfectionism (my biggest challenge to get anything started), undergoing stress, overwhelming, or sometimes it can be because the task itself is pointless. Take a moment to listen to your inner self to turn things around.

Final thoughts

Make every second of your time a meaningful second because when it passes, you’ll never get it back. Wait, that doesn’t mean you have to be so extreme and work like crazy all the time. Make your resting time meaningful to your health and your mind as well.

If wasting your time is a sin, don’t commit that sin on other people’s time. Don’t be late to meetings and appointments, stop complaining, stop gossiping, and more importantly, stop talking without listening.

The secret to stop wasting your and other people’s time is to live as if today were the last day of your life. So, if you had only 24 hours left to live and give, would you waste your precious time on those 8 common activities that many people fall trapped into every single day of their lives?

If I had only 24 hours left, I wouldn’t ask Alexa to snooze my morning alarm (which I now do daily). Procrastination is my biggest weakness, but I would not procrastinate a thing knowing I only had 24 hours on earth.

Leave me a comment below to share your most alarming time-wasting habit and the challenge you’re facing to get rid of it.

Matcha Finance

Jenn sharing personal stories and practical tips on maximized earning, strategic saving, smart spending, and long-term investing.

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