Time Wasting with Purpose
By John Safin
I need to write an
article that emerging and experienced writers can appreciate, and all
that I do is determine ways to put off the inevitable. The article
must be written, yet without a clear focus or even a subject to
write about, my mind drifts from place to place and all regions of my
conscious and subconscious.
Hang on…my coffee cup
[Five minutes later]
Aaahh! A delicious
white chocolate mocha venti, hot, no whipped cream from my favorite
bookstore’s café. I come here to write because home has too many
distractions. The television is usually ‘on’ in the living room. While
the office is in a second bedroom, the audio can be heard even if the
television screen is blocked from view. The news channel or Cartoon
Network is the usual choices for companionship. Occasionally music from
my collection is selected; however my CDs tend to influence my writing
style. Heavy rock for all the ‘evil’ characters, jazz for narration, and
so on. Once in a while I’ll turn on the radio, but the local music
stations play the same songs over and over with too many commercials.
Much of the time talk radio will be a selection, again offering a false
sense of companionship as the on-air personality’s voice talks to me. No
one to nag at you is one of the drawbacks of being single.
Like anything that’s
important, knowing the ultimate goal will help you reach it. Whether
it’s a writing assignment or from another aspect of your life,
understanding and clearly defining your objective will help you achieve
success. Three actions that can help you achieve your goal include:
Writing down your final objective
Determining the steps and timeline to reach your goal
Reviewing your goal
In my instance,
publishing a compelling and interesting article is the final objective.
The goal is clearly defined, as when the article is finished my goal is
This coffee is really
good. While it might be 110 degrees outside in Phoenix, Arizona. The
bookstore’s air conditioning is being kept at a chilly seventy-eight
degrees. The hot brew is helping to keep my physical being comfortable
even if the café chair is deadening the nerve ending in my rather large
posterior. Feels good to stretch. Wish my nose would stop itching.
Where was I… oh, yeah…
The timeline for this
project is equally clear. It’s the beginning of a new month, which means
it is time for another update of the web materials. [rub my nose ‘cause
it still itches]. As much as I try to get things written well in advance
of the deadline, life sometimes gets in the way. This puts the deadline
for this project between “now” and the next twenty-four hours.
Fortunately the steps to accomplishing this particular goal are few
allowing me to stay within the project’s timeline [sip of coffee]. I
have the individual discussion points and the flow of the article
determined. Now it is just a matter of writing details for each
discussion [rub nose].
Issues with the tools
of my trade interrupt the flow of ideas and words. My poor little
laptop, purchased way back in the 20th century (1996),
sometimes does not automatically save files as I type. The work-around
for this problem is to periodically save my work as I type. The guy
sitting across the café from me is also working on a much newer laptop.
So clear is his monitor that I can tell he is creating 3-D architectural
images for a house.
My project of
completing the article on achieving one’s goals is broken into five
parts: Introduction, the “Goal Achievement” list and a conclusion. The
time to complete this project is so condensed that I did not create an
actual calendar of events. Had I been working toward a larger goal, the
specific steps and specific dates/times would have been associated
together. Writing the phases of your goal in this manner accomplished
two things. The first is to provide you with data to measure your
success rate. You will know if you are behind, ahead or right on
schedule. The other reason to do this is to create little victories
especially with a larger project. If you think about all the steps and
time it would take to walk across the continent, you would almost
convince yourself that it would be an unachievable task. Breaking that
journey into segments, such as miles walked per day, you would find that
it would take about two months to walk across the continental United
States and thereby becomes an achievable endeavor.
It took me about two
days to drive from Syracuse, New York to Phoenix, Arizona. I didn’t do
much sightseeing, although I made little stops here and there just to
stretch my legs. My feet would be tired from having to walk all that
distance. This coffee is good. Probably shouldn’t have as much as I do
since it probably has a thousand calories per cup, and no one needs that
much caffeine. But people are buying it. Six people in line to order
something, including a very shapely woman. God bless America!
Where was I?
Writing down your goal
as well as all the steps to accomplish it will help you stay on track.
The only way this works is for you to actually review your goal [stir
coffee and sip]. Long term tasks or projects that will take a long time
need to be reviewed at least once per day. Napoleon Hill, America's
foremost success/motivation author, recommended reading this every
morning when you rise from bed and every night just before going to bed.
If your goal is to be the best fiction writer, lose forty pounds, get
rich by age thirty or whatever aspires you to action, you must believe
that you will attain objective and nothing will stop you.
I could stand to lose
forty pounds. I haven’t done it yet because I haven’t created a plan of
action. Much easier to sit in front of the computer and write, or grab a
video game and play. Drinking this yummy white chocolate mocha is
definitely NOT helping to achieve that goal. Why is my nose itching so
much? Maybe I’m going to kiss a fool. Or is it, a fool will kiss me?
Either way, I hope the girl that kisses me or that I kiss is cute [sip
Review my goal – stay
Earlier it was
mentioned there are too many distractions at home and that is without
throwing family members or roommates. If your goal is to become a famous
author or other endeavor that takes time, you will need to communicate
to the important people in your life when and how much time you need to
do this. Additionally, don’t become so obsessed with your project that
you forget to live life with the same important people. If they are
understanding and concerned for you, they will be a solid foundation of
support for you becoming a famous author, losing forty pounds, getting
rich by age thirty or whatever your goal is.
By the way, if you
would like to get rich by age thirty and currently thirty-one years old
or older, you’ll need to re-engineer that particular goal to fit your
needs, unless you happen to meet someone who desires to create a time
machine. Then it would be possible for both of you to collaborate by
sending you back in time so you are rich by age thirty and then can
provide funding for the inventor to create the time machine that sends
you back in time so you can provide funding for…the…inventor…
Crap! Got distracted
John Safin has written non-fiction, fiction,
humor, and political ravings plus acted as ghost and speech writer for
top business leaders.
He has a background in business operations,
marketing, public relations, event planning, recruiting, and training.
Originally from Upstate New York, John moved
from Glendale, AZ to Carlsbad, NM, which he now calls "home."
with contributing author