Time-Wasting: “I had a bad day”

“I disgust myself.”

That’s what I said to myself yesterday at around 1:30 PM.

I’m not a fan of negative self-talk, and I caught it immediately and did a little mental “cancel, cancel” to snap out of it. But it’s a perfect indication of the state of mind I found myself in.


I’d been wasting time all day. Here’s a list of what I’d done up to that point:

First, I snoozed my alarm clock for 45 minutes, finally getting up at 7:45. I meditated for 20 minutes and did some affirmations. Then I watched a full episode of The West Wing as I ate breakfast. I farted around on email for a while, then I downloaded the new Dream Theater CD that came out on Tuesday to see if it’s worth buying. I can’t really remember what else I did (it must have been important, right?), but before I knew it, it was noon. I went to the gym and went for a short run, hoping that would give me some momentum. But when I came home I watched another episode of The West Wing as I ate lunch (TV on DVD is my bane).

Which brings us to “I disgust myself.”

Why am I telling you about this? Because it’s a great case study for understanding what can lead to time-wasting…and what can be done to prevent it.


The first breakdown was that I did not have a clear intention for the day. I’d been very productive the day before, and as a result, I blew off my planning.

So, I was operating reactively. I was reacting to my whims, to my emotions, and to circumstance.

When you react, you’re at the mercy of whatever comes into your field of attention, whether it’s important or not.

But when you set a clear intention, you have purpose and drive for your actions. You choose proactively what to focus on and what to say no to. In essence, you make better use of your time.


Even if I’d had an intention, I did not create a structure to my day that supported the intention. That was the second breakdown.

When you work for an employer, for example, some structure is usually created for you:

You need to be at work at a certain time. You have a desk or work area where you’re required to be. You have projects or assignments that are given to you. And the environment usually has fewer distractions (no West Wing DVDs).

By contrast, when you work from home, you must create your own structure. When do you get up? When do you start work? When do you take breaks? Where do you work? What tasks or projects are most important?

This isn’t to say that employees have it easier than entrepreneurs. It only illustrates what structure is and why it’s vital to productivity. Whatever your situation, look for opportunities to create more structure or modify the existing structure to fit your goals better.

Without structure, it is difficult to keep focused on your intention.

If you have a “bad” day where you catch yourself wasting time, look at how clear your intention was for the day and what structure you can create or modify.


“I’m embarrassed by how easy it was…”
–Scott Foster, Manorville, NY

Does you have a planning system? Does it help you set a clear intention and provide structure? Is it based on the fundamental principles of time management? Does it incorporate the 3 positive motivators (enjoyment, growth, and contribution)? And can you complete it in only 10 minutes a week?

If not (or if you don’t have a system at all), then this is the best time to try the Turn On to Life! 10-Minute Weekly Planning System.

How do you know if your planning system is working or not?

  • Do you feel anxiety or stress about all of the things you have to do?
  • Does it feel like you’re busy all the time but not making the progress you’d like to?
  • Do you feel like you’re often behind or you’re playing catch up?
  • Do you show up late for some appointments?
  • Do you “drop the ball” on some tasks or commitments?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, it may be time for a change.

Take just 3 minutes to read about the Turn On to Life! 10-Minute Weekly Planning System, and make a choice, yes or no.

By the way, the price goes up $30 next week.

But that’s not why you should try it. Here’s the real reason:

You deserve to feel peaceful and productive today. Why spend another day feeling time-related stress or frustration?

Read more about the Turn On to Life! 10-Minute Weekly Planning System, and discover a life of peace, passion, and productivity:


Time management and planning can be simple, powerful, and fast. How fast? Just 10 minutes a week.


Copyright 2007 Curtis G. Schmitt

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