According to new research, people spend the equivalent of more than TWO YEARS of their lives “killing time.” Researchers found we typically waste 42 minutes a day waiting for everything from friends to buses and trains.
Standing in line at the grocery store and sitting in traffic also leave us doing nothing for almost five hours a week – the equivalent of almost 11 days every year.
In a typical week we will waste eight minutes standing by the microwave as our food cooks, nine minutes standing in line at the supermarket checkout and eight minutes watching the buffering symbol on a streaming service for our shows to load.
The survey of 2,000 adults also found 63 percent of people thought they could take measures to use their time more effectively – if they could be bothered.
Greg Tatton-Brown of online casino Casumo.com, which commissioned the study, said, “We all like to think we are living the most productive and proactive lives we can, but downtime is often an inevitability even in the busiest of schedules. When you have time to yourself, it’s worth trying to change how you feel about this perceived downtime and turn those fleeting moments into an opportunity, whether you use it for self-reflection, catching up on social media or just to seek entertainment and play your favorite mobile game.”
The study also found when those surveyed have a chunk of time to kill, 45 percent disappear into their own thoughts for a while, a third tap out a tweet or a social media update, while one in seven load up a game on their phone to whittle away the downtime and 16 percent send a couple of messages to friends and family to stay in touch.
Forty eight percent blame their short attention spans for their abundance of downtime, which stops them from doing something more constructive.
If they were able to get back all the hours they had wasted just “killing time” over their lives, one in four would like to use the time to learn a new language. Twenty-seven percent would channel their efforts into picking up a new instrument, and 13 percent would bang out the novel they’ve always wanted to write.
Despite regularly finding themselves killing time waiting for other people to arrive, 68 percent feel they are more than likely to be early for appointments and social events so as not to keep others waiting around, while only six percent confess to being the kind of person who is regularly late.
All that being said, time spent watching minutes pass on the clock is rarely wasted. Forty-two percent of those surveyed believe some downtime has allowed them to think deeply on an issue that is affecting their lives in order to work out a solution.
Twenty-two percent have thought of the perfect words to express how they feel while clock-watching, and one in six have stumbled across a life-changing idea after letting their mind drift unguided for a few minutes.
Despite the perception that time killed is time wasted, 45 percent enjoy the knowledge they have a bit of time to burn coming up in their hectic lives and almost half wish they were able to make more time in their busy schedules to switch off and while away a few carefree minutes.
Unfortunately, seven in 10 regularly have days where they can’t steal a moment to themselves to let their mind wander and zone out.
Tatton-Brown added, “The world can seem a brighter place after a few moments away from the rat race, and having time to recalibrate, even if it’s just while you’re making a cuppa or playing a mobile game, can turn your whole day around.”