The biggest time wasters include waiting on hold while on the phone, standing in lines, and sitting in traffic.

Whether it's standing in line at the bank or being put on hold when you want to speak to a company's customer service department, many everyday tasks require some sort of waiting period, but have you ever wondered how much? According to a new survey commissioned by Duolingo and conducted by OnePoll, the average person loses one month of their life every year doing, well, nothing.

According to the poll, which surveyed 2,000 people in the United Kingdom, the average adult wastes 26 days per year to wasted time—or 12 hours a week and more than 624 hours annually. For more than half of the respondents waiting on hold while on the phone is their biggest time waster. Another 45 percent say standing in lines is their biggest time suck, followed by sitting in traffic (44 percent), browsing on social media (21 percent), and waiting for the kettle to boil (15 percent). Other common time wasters include waiting for laundry to finish, waiting for service in a restaurant, and waiting for a delivery to arrive.

woman waiting on hold on the phone
Credit: laflor / Getty Images

While the survey reveals that the average adult usually finds themselves with nothing to do about three times a day, 47 percent admit they aren't more productive during these moments due to a lack of motivation. Additionally, 56 percent of respondents feel they need to practice better time management, but feel they're too tired to do so from juggling other obligations like work and family. Instead of increasing productivity, about 38 percent say they fall back on classic time wasters like watching TV or browsing the internet.

Despite all this, most respondents (70 percent) are looking forward to using 2022 to learn new skills, which they feel is key to keeping life exciting. When asked about specific goals for the New Year, top answers included attaining more personal growth, achieving more personal dreams and ambitions, and improving as a person.


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