plowing water

plow water

To pursue or continue with some futile task or activity, wasting one's time as a result. Usually used in the continuous tense. I've spent my life campaigning for environmental protection, but with the way the world's governments continue to favor corporations over everything else, I feel as though I've been plowing water this whole time. You're plowing water if you think you're going to change Henry's mind.
See also: plow, water

plowing water

n. wasting time doing something futile. You’re wasting your time. You’re plowing water.
See also: plow, water
References in periodicals archive ?
The CEO says it's important, but in truth, we're just plowing water trying to impress the shareholders.