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Related to spin wheels: spin one's wheels
spin one's wheels
to waste time; to remain in a neutral position, neither advancing nor falling back. (Fig. on a car that is running but is not moving because its wheels are spinning in mud, etc.) I'm just spinning my wheels in this job. I need more training to get ahead. The whole project was just spinning its wheels until spring.
spin (one's) wheelsInformal
To expend effort with no result.