Eight hours a year wasted on unwanted interruptions

Time is wasted deleting spam
Time is wasted deleting spam

A new survey has revealed the extent of the disruption caused by unwanted interruptions to people’s already busy lives in the South-East.

The YouGov survey of more than 2,000 adults, commissioned by National Accident Helpline – which is leading the personal injury sector in calling for improved standards in marketing – revealed the extent of the disruption:

Almost 8 hours (7.93 hours) a year is wasted as a result of deleting spam emails, and nearly 6 hours (5.74 hours) is wasted through answering nuisance calls.

More than 6 weeks (44.5 days) across their adult lives is spent dealing with nuisance calls, texts and spam emails.

72% of people have been interrupted by a cold call whilst doing something important – with 48% being disrupted when spending time with family and 38% whilst writing an important email.

Across the UK, people also reported being interrupted by a nuisance call whilst giving birth, during a funeral, when handling live wires and even operating a chainsaw.

Chief Executive of National Accident Helpline, Russell Atkinson, said: “We have all experienced the disruptive impact that nuisance marketing has – deep in thought at our desks, out with family and friends or in the middle of cooking a meal, the phone rings only for it to be a cold call. Whilst each call might only last for a minute or less, this can quickly add up over the course of a month or year.

“National Accident Helpline wants to put an end to this disruption, and as part of our Stop Nuisance Calls campaign we’re continuing to raise awareness of the practical steps that people can take to prevent and report nuisance marketing.

“We are also encouraging other organisations to sign-up to the Ethical Marketing Charter – an industry-led initiative that calls on businesses in the personal injury sector to commit to never cold calling, texting or emailing consumers.

“All of this will help people to start reclaiming their time and spend more of it doing the things they enjoy most.”

Mike Lordan, Director of External Affairs at the Direct Marketing Association, said: “This research highlights that nuisance calls and texts continue to be a key source of frustration for people, and we would encourage people to sign-up to the Telephone Preference Service to ensure they are provided with more protection from unsolicited marketing.”

As part of the research, respondents were asked how they would spend the time wasted on nuisance marketing if they were able to reclaim it – with the vast majority wanting to spend time on a hobby, with family and friends or take a well-earned break from their hectic schedule.

Among the most popular responses were:

Relaxing and catching up on sleep

Spending time with family and loved ones

Working or studying


Gardening and walking

Watching TV

However, the survey demonstrated that many people would simply rather do anything than deal with nuisance marketing – with cage fighting and watching paint dry among the suggestions put forward by consumers.

National Accident Helpline is asking people to share their ideas on how they would reclaim their time. Submit a suggestion on how you would use the time wasted on nuisance marketing on Twitter @NatAccHelpline using the hashtag #ReclaimMyTime.

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