12 things in life unsuccessful people waste their time on

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Everyone has their own timeline. Some achieve success earlier in life, while some much, much later.

There’s no shame in being a late bloomer, of course. An “unsuccessful” person, simply put, is someone who’s still on their way to success.

But it’s a good idea to examine why it’s taking them so long to achieve success.

Well, there are plenty of reasons why. A lot of it is due to sheer luck and circumstance. But generally, what’s holding them back are bad habits.

To help you avoid them, here are the time-wasters “unsuccessful” people spend their time on.

1) Getting involved in drama

Conflicts are inevitable because we’re humans with quirks and flaws.

But while most people try to minimize (and even eliminate) conflicts as much as possible, there are some who get in and out of drama like it’s their job.

There are many reasons behind this. It could be boredom, or it could be that the people around them are toxic. Or maybe they have some kind of savior complex that compels them to stick their nose in other people’s business.

Either way, nothing good can ever come out of wasting time on other people’s drama and making their own worse. This isn’t just a waste of time—it’s actively harmful.

2) Too much partying

There’s nothing wrong with partying and having fun with friends. As humans, we need to have some form of relationship with others, no matter how introverted we may be.

But when it’s done in excess? It can definitely take one’s time away from their goals.

“Unsuccessful” people underestimate how partying every night can affect their long-term goals. They think “Nah, I can totally juggle work and play.”

But of course, it’s almost impossible to function properly if one always lacks sleep from partying.

One should instead keep their partying tame—to reserve those wild 24-hour balls for when they’ve finally made it and can party as much as they want without consequence.

3) Obsessing over their looks

Many people struggle to achieve their goals because they spend too much time obsessing about their looks.

Don’t get me wrong. Looking presentable is important to being successful in life. It’s not like you’re going to impress your employers if you come to the office looking like a disheveled corpse.

But if done in excess? It could be a total time-waster.

How much time is spent every night on having a “12-step skincare routine”?

And how about the time spent in coming up with cool outfits every single day?

Successful people like Steve Jobs know this, that’s why they use capsule wardrobes.

4) Being stuck in the past

The past will always be full. This much is inevitable. 

No matter how many “correct” decisions they might have made in the past, there will always be a handful of mistakes that will keep on haunting them.

To a certain extent, this is a good thing. One should always look to the past and look for lessons that they might yet learn.

But at the same time, one should take care not to get lost in the past, reliving regrets over and over when they could be focusing on the tasks that need to be done in the present.

Anger, frustration, and regret over the past can shackle on in place, keeping them from moving forward and achieving the success they deserve.

5) People-pleasing

We’re not talking about trying to please the critics as an artist or getting on the investors’ good side as a businessman. This kind of people-pleasing can actually lead one to success.

What I’m talking about is chasing the vain desire to impress the general public and be liked by everyone one meets.

They’ll say “yes” so people will think they’re kind. They’ll act generous and nice all the time so they’ll become unforgettable.

If you can relate to this, always remember: time is precious. 

Each time we say YES to others (and spend too much time getting other people’s approval), we say NO to ourselves. 

So go ahead and be generous if you really want to. But don’t be scared to say “no” and to leave a bad impression if you really need to.

6) Gossip

Let’s be real—listening to gossip can be fun sometimes, but it’s a total waste of time. 

Some people might be struggling to become successful because they spend so much time gossiping.

They’d want to know everything about their colleagues, neighbors, and exes. And when there’s nothing too intriguing, they might even start reading about the latest celebrity gossip because they need to get their daily fix.

Now imagine if they just spent their precious time on something more useful— like learning a new skill or even on meditation or rest. Those things would have been more beneficial in the long run.

Besides, no one looks back on their life and say, “wow, the highlight of my year is listening to gossip” because it’s simply a useless activity.

7) Pursuing goals that aren’t aligned with their values

Each project we work on requires plenty of time—whether it’s a movie script or an online business.

On average, online business requires one month to set up while startups require at least a year.

An “unsuccessful” person isn’t necessarily lazy. They might in fact be the hardest worker in the room, with all the personality traits of highly successful people.

But they have unfortunately stretched themselves thin handling too many endeavors at once, and not all of them are even aligned with their values!

And imagine how many hours are spent per project. Hundreds, even thousands that could have been better spent on the things that actually matter.

8) Worrying unnecessarily about everything

I’ve been a worrywart all my life. Still am. I obsessively worry about my health daily. And once a week, I worry about my work, my future, and my child.

That’s why, when I talked with my elder brother who achieved success at a young age, he told me “The first thing you have to get rid of, if you want to achieve your dreams, is your anxiety.”

He said, “Instead of worrying, work.”

And I noticed the huge difference when I put his advice to work. Therapy helped too.

The thing is that by being a restless worrywart, you’d only be wasting your time and energy fighting with yourself. You’re also actually making the problem worse!

9) Indulging in “harmless” time-wasters

Instagram. Reddit. Tiktok. Facebook reels.

These apps might seem harmless enough and it can’t be denied that not only do they help with boredom, you can also find useful stuff through them sometimes.

But the problem is that they’re addictive. In fact, they’re designed to be addictive. And once someone’s addicted, they find it hard to focus on anything—including their goals—until they’ve had their daily dose.

While successful people won’t necessarily swear off from browsing social media and wasting time every now and then, they know better than to INDULGE and get addicted.

They set limits-often around the 30-minute mark…and only interact with these apps when they’re done with everything that needs dealing with.

10) Getting too invested in romantic relationships

Love is a wonderful thing. But there are those people who treat dating and relationships like it’s the most important goal that they de-prioritize their own dreams.

It’s impossible to achieve your dreams and be yourself if you treat romance as your #1 priority. It can be a full-time job if you put too much focus on it.

Dating is hard. Being in a relationship is hard. Fixing a relationship is hard. Moving on is hard. Dating again is hard. And all these things require your time.

But not only does it distract you and drain you emotionally, you can easily find yourself surrendering bits and pieces of yourself simply to have someone to love.

If you want to achieve your dreams, then love yourself first

Relationships should, at best, be treated as a luxury. Sure, having a relationship would be nice, but focusing on it when you should be focusing on yourself more can greatly affect your future.

11) Comparing themselves to others

While it’s good to find inspiration from others, one should also remember not to actually compare themselves to others.

That path leads to nothing but jealousy, insecurity, and an abundance of self-pity. Once someone starts comparing themselves to their “inspirations”, they’re bound to end up realizing just how inadequate they are.

They would see someone having a house at 18 and go “how come I’m still renting an apartment?” and want to rush success… which, ironically, often ends up delaying actual success.

It will affect them emotionally and psychologically. They’d lose hope in themselves with every failure they have to endure and, at some point, they might even stop trying altogether.

12) Temporary pleasures

Pleasure isn’t happiness, but a lot of people—understandably—make the mistake of assuming that they’re one and the same. And this can really, really blow up in their faces.

One might find pleasure in eating a scrumptious donut. And because of that, they’ll keep stuffing themselves full of donuts just to be “happy”… only to end up struggling with weight and even diabetes.

Or they’d find a very interesting show and, instead of shutting off Netflix, decide to watch just one more episode…then one more, and one more. Unfortunately, because of this, they end up going to work half-asleep.

The ones who are finding it hard to achieve success choose what feels good now, instead of what’s good for later. 

In other words, they’re not masters at delaying gratification which, according to a 40-year Stanford research, is the one quality that makes a person likely to succeed.

Last words

Ultimately, the one thing that really makes successful people stand out is the fact that they know how to regulate themselves.

They would enjoy life’s luxuries, but know when to stop… and have the strength of will to actually do what needs to be done to succeed.

And this is what the “unsuccessful” ones are still struggling with.

So if you consider yourself unsuccessful, take heart! You can still turn your life around by simply not doing the things mentioned in this list.

I guarantee you that success is within your reach if only you learn how to manage your time well.

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Tina Fey

I'm Tina Fey, the founder of the blog Love Connection. I've extremely passionate about sharing relationship advice. I've studied psychology and have my Masters in marital, family, and relationship counseling. I hope with all my heart to help you improve your relationships, and I hope that even if one thing I write helps you, it means more to me than just about anything else in the world. Check out my blog Love Connection, and if you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Twitter

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