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 is empty. 

[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.  

Dammit! I’m dilly-dallying again. 

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 complete.  

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? Oh...yeah… 

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 coffee]. 

Review my goal – stay on track! 

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 again!


About the Author

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."




Sonoran Mirage Anthology

Sonoran Mirage

with contributing author

John Safin



























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