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LONDON — Do you ever count up how long you wait on hold when you want to speak to a company’s customer service department? It turns out the average person loses a month of their life every year while doing absolutely nothing! A new survey finds the average adult wastes a staggering 26 days per year to “wasted time.”

According to the poll of 2,000 people in the United Kingdom, the average person spends nearly two hours daily doing a whole lot of nothing. Over the course of a week that amounts to over 12 hours of wasted time, and more than 624 hours annually!

Over half of the respondents say waiting on hold while on the phone is their biggest time waster. Another 45 percent point to waiting in lines as a big drain on their time. A similar percentage (44%) waste tons of time sitting in traffic, while others can’t stop browsing social media (21%). Tea, apparently, is quite time-consuming as well; 15 percent of British adults say they often lose track of time while waiting for the kettle to boil.

Other common time-wasting activities include waiting for laundry to finish, waiting for service in a restaurant, and waiting for a delivery to arrive.

Commissioned by Duolingo and conducted by OnePoll, the survey also reports that most adults (56%) are aware they need to practice better time management. Unfortunately, between work, family, and other obligations, many say they’re just too tired to stay productive.

Still, 59 percent tell researchers they have at least tried to be more productive with their time lately. For example, 23 percent have recently learned a new skill.

“When you don’t plan and prioritize your time you’re more likely to waste it. We typically allow things to drain our time when we’re reacting to something that’s outside of our control, like waiting in a queue or for the kettle to boil,” says Clare Evans, time management coach and author of “Time Management for Dummies” in a statement. “Try to see waiting time as an opportunity to get on with a quick task on your list – check email, make a phone call or even use it to read a book or do a Duolingo lesson.”

According to the survey, the average adult usually finds themselves with nothing to do about three times per day. Notably, close to half the poll (47%) admit they aren’t more productive during these moments due to a lack of motivation. Nearly four in 10 (38%) just can’t help but fall back on classic time wasters like watching TV or browsing the internet. Over one in five (22%) simply don’t know what to do with their free time.

Despite all this, seven in 10 people say that learning new skills is key to keeping life exciting. When asked about specific goals for 2022, some of the top answers included attaining more personal growth, achieving more personal dreams and ambitions, and improving as a person.


  1. Being on hold
  2. Waiting in a line
  3. Sitting in traffic
  4. Trying to call the doctor’s office
  5. Waiting for a delivery to arrive
  6. Commuting
  7. Scrolling social media / Amazon Prime and TV channels
  8. Waiting for laundry to finish
  9. Getting served in a restaurant
  10. Waiting for a cup of tea to brew

About John Anderer

Born blue in the face, John has been writing professionally for over a decade and covering the latest scientific research for StudyFinds since 2019. His work has been featured by Business Insider, Eat This Not That!, MSN, Ladders, and Yahoo!

Studies and abstracts can be confusing and awkwardly worded. He prides himself on making such content easy to read, understand, and apply to one’s everyday life.

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1 Comment

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