Five Huge Online Timewasters

This post was guest blogged by Alan Johnson, the author of The Online Business Handbook.

I’m sure that you are well aware of the fact that, if you are not careful, you can and will waste a lot of time online, that you can realize that you’ve spend countless hours in front of your computer screen yet haven’t actually done anything useful.

As a result, here are 5 huge timewasters you need to keep in mind:

1) Online Newspapers and Magazine

If you’d want to, you could spend the entire day reading what the online editions of certain newspapers and magazines have to offer but you have to ask yourself: am I actually interested in all of this information?

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with reading the online edition of your favorite newspaper or magazine but on the other hand, going overboard is simply not an option.

2) Forums

As far as forums are concerned, things can get a little bit tricky. On the one hand, they can prove to be an useful source of information as well as a great place to promote certain products but, on the other, they can also turn out to be huge timewasters.

Yes, you can go through what forums have to offer in terms of information and yes, you can even get actively involved, comment when you feel that you have something to say and even start threads but you always need to know when enough is enough.

3) YouTube

It should come as no surprise to see YouTube on this list. Sure, it never hurts to relax every once in a while and as far as some people are concerned, YouTube helps them do just that, but it is important to understand that, if you are not extremely careful, YouTube can and will turn out to be a huge timewaster.

4) and Similar Websites

I’m sure it’s more than obvious how you can waste a lot of time on websites such as Digg. It’s perfectly fine to go through a few stories or follow a certain category, but everything has a limit and I’m sure that you have better things to do with your time than spend the entire day Digg.

5) Instant Messengers

Of course, chatting can be fun but instant messengers can also prove to be quite time-consuming, and, as with everything else, moderation is simply a must. Chatting every once in a while is just fine, but spending hours upon hours on IM is not exactly my idea of being productive.

In the end, you have to realize that time is your most important asset and, as a result, you have to be extremely selective when it comes to the activities you spend time on. Again, there is nothing wrong with reading the online editions of a few newspapers or magazines, spending some time on forums, YouTube, Digg or instant messengers but, as with everything else in life, you have to understand that there is a limit to the time you should be spending on such tasks on a daily basis.

68 thoughts on “Five Huge Online Timewasters”

  1. krizdabz says:

    I would add Twitter to this list! 😉

    1. I wa sjust about to say that. *=) Although Twitter is definitely useful… it can really suck the time right out of your day.


    2. I’d also add RSS! Checking my feeds takes up a huge amount of (unnecessary) time.

    3. I don’t even use Twitter, but just by looking at it I can tell it’s a time waster.

    4. Syed Balkhi says:

      I don’t use twitter either .. don’t see why people do .. It is pretty boring.

  2. As the manager of 2 Little League Teams w/ a full-time job, 5 kids, a blog to write and a house to keep running, time management is always an issue for me!

    1. Health News says:

      Reading posts like these are a huge time waster…

  3. Pretty ordinary post for sure… nothing that adds value to a reader since all the mentioned time-wasters are good sources of knowledge and entertainment. It’s not a big deal to chat or watch video once in a while. I was surprised that JOHN CHOW agrees for such an ordinary guest blog…

    I’ll be back if you’ve got some better stuff to show!! 🙁


    1. Chetan says:

      One of the points to agree 🙂
      Sometimes i feel that reading posts like these are “Time Wasters”. Isn’t it?

      1. To be honest, I just stop reading these kind of posts and pass reading the comments, but everything is just becoming the same daily routine.

        1. Jake Cohen says:

          Agreed. I feel like that for a lot of his posts! Some of them are really good though, just not this one. Boy I am still recovering from what stupid rick roll.

 – We cover everything the internet has to offer.

      2. Syed Balkhi says:

        Then stop reading and don’t comment lol … j/k

    2. Sha says:

      Too many guest posts I guess.

  4. Infogle says:

    Not of the quality of blog

    these methods are always recommend to gather information and these cannot be timewasters in any way… as enough of any thing is time wasting but i dont think these could be some points that mainly constitutes to online time wasting

    I 100% disagree with the post content

  5. Chetan says:

    Forums have never been timewasters for me..
    I learn and share knowledge on forums. Am active everyday on a minimum of 10 forums, and gain a lot of things from them.

    Although i agree that sites like Digg are going to give nothing to me but would just waste my time.

  6. Forums, a time waster? They have been one of the best sources of info for me as an affiliate marketer. Sometimes it takes awhile to find an answer, but they mostly have been a very good source of info. Can’t agree with that one.

    1. Chetan says:

      And also forums are the main places where deals are made by webmasters.. Do people waste time there?

      1. Mayank Rocks says:

        Thats not a waste but when you chit chat and gossip, thats kinda waste. But I would prefer calling it Time Passing :mrgreen:

  7. Jake Cohen says:

    Although you can waste a lot of time online, most of that time isn’t wasted. You are always learning new things, and as a result sometimes it is good to do so. When you are doing these things though, you should time how long certain things take and then try to reduce them to be more efficient. – We cover everything the internet has to offer.

  8. 6. Reading – lol
    Are you kidding me? Forums are vital to be a success in that particular niche. And as for reading newspapers online, what is going overboard?

  9. Internetsalsa says:

    what about visiting,,, etc ?
    is it a time waster?

    Am I wasting time to comment here?

    1. Those three blogs are probably the ones I read the most, definitely not time wasters.

  10. Rob says:

    Hmmmmm, I seem to be wasting a lot of my time online. I guess each one of the ideas he posted could go 50/50 though at being time wasters.

  11. Aaron says:

    I, personally, think that instant messaging is the biggest time waster.

    I use to have it on all the time and got nothing done.
    I now only ever appear offline. That way I, I rarely get bothered when working.

    1. I agree on the instant messaging. I don’t use it because I don’t wnt to be bothered when I’m working. If you need me, email me.

      1. Sha says:

        Yeah, but you can always just turn them off when you’re working. That’s what I do.

      2. I’d also add social networking sites, like facebook.

      3. Internetsalsa says:

        But its not bothering you at work when you are commenting so much in here..
        Anyways this is one of the ways to promote your blogs also.

        Not being personal with you though…I would also comment on every post if I were you.

        Good Luck.

    2. I agree, I spend alot of time on Instant messengers mainly networking but still it does waste alot of my time.

  12. Hannah says:

    I’m sorry but I do have to agree: these were all fairly obvious ones. Perhaps others found use from it, but I already avoid all of these things.

    1. Some people benefit from posts on here others don’t guess you’ve not really benefitted from this one. 🙄

  13. Terry Smith says:

    You left off MMORPGs.

    1. Mayank Rocks says:

      haha. He is talking about webmasters and not gamers :mrgreen:

    2. Relation to webmasters here 😉

  14. I think this post was very poor indeed and I am very surprised John allowed it. Reading this post was probably my biggest ‘time-waster’ of the day. Come on John, time to sort it out mate- especially after the April Fools prank that went wrong!

  15. Sha says:

    Are they really timewasters though? It actually depends on how long you spend doing one or more of them. It’s easy to limit each one.

    1. Robert says:

      I think even a few minutes on each one are significant. That’s 10-15 min, for instance, that you lose and can’t dedicate to writing a blog post.

      1. Sha says:

        I guess it also depends on how long you spend on the computer total.

  16. Simon Lau says:

    I wouldn’t say forums are a time waster. If you have problems then the forum is a great place to get help. If you contribute, then you’re building a community. It’s win-win in my mind. I would even say that forums are like posting and replying to comments. The topic is the post and the comments build up as replies.

  17. Azrael says:

    Maybe you’re overreacting because the only time waster that I could see here is the 1 and 5 in your articles.

  18. alam says:

    For me :
    1. Spam, thats why I move to gmail.
    2. Adding to much rss in my google reader 😉

    1. Gmail is great for fighting spam!

  19. marty says:

    All social networking sites (facebook, myspace, etc) can be big timewasters too.

    Another timewaster is IRC, although it doesn’t seem to be quite as popular as it used to be several years ago.

    Note that it’s important to realise that many of the timewasters mentioned can, if used appropriately, be productive and provide growth for your website. Finding the balance between using these sites productively and wasting time on them is the key issue.

  20. says:

    Oh Come on… I agree with lot of others saying readingthis post is time wasters… Forums, great way to get info. Sometimes you have to scroll thru pages buy better than paying $20 bucks to useless e-book. Hope to see some quality posts…

  21. Terry Tay says:

    Everyone one of the things listed can be a time waster if you are using them for nothing except to waste time. Some people can use the things listed to help with various things, whether it’s to improve a web business or get info on something. For instance, John Chow just uploaded a video to youtube the other day to provide content for his website. So it just depends what you use each of the 5 things for to determine if it’s a waste of time or not.

    1. Hannah says:

      Very true, though normally if you’re spending more than an hour at a time on youtube, a quantity of time which could be seen as “wasteful”, you’re probably not uploading videos or marketing that entire time!

  22. Mike Touch says:

    If you use your time efficiently on forums then they will be incredibly useful. People are full of questions and 9 times out 10 the question has previously been asked on a forum or message board. A simple search on t’internet will find you your answer.

    I’ve also won a lot of great prizes off forums as the competitions usually have great odds and take very little time to enter!

    I’ve learnt everything about SEO from forums. I’m glad you say that they can be useful as long as you don’t use your time effectively.

  23. Mike says:

    I would say, out of all of those youtube and forums are my biggest time wasters. Another one not mentioned is checking my site visitor stats. That time could definitely be spent doing something more productive like actually writing content for my blog.

  24. I am addicted to and I waste so much time at these sites. I’m seriously looking to add a parental control to my computer so that I can no longer visit these sites. As for forums, I wish there was a digg type site to list most popular posts on certain forums that I’m interested in.


  25. Fitness Site says:

    Forums are not a time wasters.
    You learn and market on forums for free. 😉

  26. Saying that browsing forums is a waste of time is utter bull! I’ve learnt (and am still learning) some great things through browsing various forums I have bookmarked!

  27. Steve Mills says:

    Anything can be a time waster if you don’t do it with a firm purpose in mind and do something productive while you are there. Forums, youtube and Digg Surfing can all be used for productive work, networking and learning new strategies.

  28. Robert says:

    This is a great post. People don’t realize how much time they often waste online. Reading newspapers and checking out Digg, etc. can eat up hours and hours every day. Those are hours we can use to be more productive at building our own money-making endeavors.

  29. JGirl4You says:

    I use Youtube to promote my website and some affiliate product such as ringtone but they deleted my account yesterday for copyright reason 😳

    1. JGirl4You says:

      6 – Facebook
      This is also a big waste of time if you abuse it

      1. Mayank Rocks says:

        I partly agree with you. Orkut as well.

    2. Bummer you got nailed for that. No more posting to YouTube. Can’t you just create another account?

  30. Mo says:

    …almost anything to do with social networking can waste time. I’ve spent what seemed like minute but was actually hours surfing when I should have been doing more important things. My #1 time waster – looking for plugins/themes. Jeez… I’m such a packrat.

  31. Anonymous says:

    Terrible article. The one thing you forgot to add as a huge time-waster is “Reading marketing blogs like this one (”

    Why? It’s obvious. John Chow *IS NOT* doing this to help you learn to make money online, he runs this site to *make money off you* the site visitor.

    I’ll bet this comment doesn’t even get published :mrgreen:

  32. Drunk says:

    This is why I only read and a few other sites. This topic is VERY important in my opinion! Effective Time management is what separates the winners from the losers in this game! I’m even wasting time right now, I should be posting on my blog!

  33. germz says:

    John chow should be on that list xD
    I should be writing more content for my site but I’m stuck here reading your awesome articles.

  34. Mike says:

    Forums can be a time waster, however a lot of them have some great information. Sometimes they even have more good stuff than blogs do. I have probably learned as much on forums as I have learned on any other type of site.

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