How to Deal with Some Common Time Stealers

Time stealers are the biggest reason that the words “I just don’t have the time” are heard all over the world. Uttered by millions of people who struggle to fit everything they want to do into 24 hours.  Whilst we can’t extend our days, we can eliminate some of the time stealers that take up too much time. As a minimum we should aim to reduce the time we spend on them.

How to Deal with Some Common Time Stealers

Here are some universal time stealers. If you recognise that you are spending too much time on any of them, maybe it’s time to take action:


It’s the time of year where the days are shorter and it’s getting colder.  This can often mean that nights in front of the TV seem very appealing.  However, time spent sat down watching hours of TV means time stolen from other activities, such as exercise, seeing friends and family, baking etc.  It might be time to find a better balance and cut back on your TV watching.


As most of us can all access the internet on our phones now, it can seem as though we’re never not online.  Again, time spent connecting with your online communities, shopping etc is time that could be spent with your family or on hobbies.  Limiting our internet time can free up time to do other things. It can also give our eyes a break from staring at a small screen. There is also plenty of research that shows limiting screen time also lead to better sleep.


Unless you are lucky enough to be able to walk to work, your daily commute is likely to be subject to delays and congestion, eating up your time and causing stress.  Whilst we can’t all change jobs and work closer to home to cut down on travel times, there are other options such as working from home one or two days a week or working 4 longer days instead of 5.  There is also the option to make use of commuting time to do something useful like learning a language.


Meetings can really eat into your time and sometimes just aren’t needed.  Just because you’ve always had a team meeting every Tuesday morning, doesn’t mean you have to continue. Is there ’t anything that needs to be discussed this week? If not no meeting.  This will also ensure that when you do have a meeting, they’ll be taken seriously. To save wasting your time and your colleagues, ensure that you only invite people that need to be involved. Circulate an agenda so that everyone knows what needs to be discussed and keep discussions to the points listed.

Failing to plan

If you don’t have a plan for your day, it’s unlikely that you’ll accomplish all that needs to be done.  Your day will potentially involve a lot of staring at a blank computer screen and not achieving a lot.  Take time at the end of each day to assess what you’ve completed. Identify your top priorities are for the next day, and plan how you’ll achieve them. Idle time will be reduced and you might even be able to finish work a bit earlier.

Whilst we’ve still only got 24 hours in our day, hopefully you can use those 24 hours more efficiently. Eliminate or reduce those time stealers or activities that don’t add enough to our lives to compensate for the time they involve.

What are your biggest time Stealers? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Till Next Time

Mike Gardner is The Time Doctor

Mike Gardner aka ‘The Time Doctor’ and is highly regarded as one of the UK’s leading Time Management and productivity specialists. As well as being regularly featured in both online and off-line media outlets around the world, he is the author of the best selling time management book, Business Owners: Your Family Misses You. He regularly speaks on topics that are congruent with his mission of helping small business owners, entrepreneurs and independent professionals to be incredibly productive, whilst still balancing their business and family commitments in a way that enables them to feel fulfilled and guilt-free. He is an avid Aston Villa fan, a Dad to Neil & Emma, a hubby to Wendy and in his role as an Officer with the reserve forces, he has completed operational tours of Iraq and Afghanistan.

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