Kickfannie TimeMatters

by Terry Monaghan for Kickfannie Operations

The 26 hour day, part 6

Contaminated Time – The Problem

Does this sound familiar? You are out with friends for dinner and drinks, but your mind keeps wandering to the unfinished project you left behind at work.

Or, you are sitting down to work on a big project on the job, and your mind keeps drifting to the decisions you need to make about your aging/ailing parent.

Or, you are in a meeting with your team, but your attention is pulled to the phone that just vibrated…

All of these scenarios are examples of what experts call contaminated time.

“We contaminate time when we are not able to stay focused in the moment, or when we are trying to do one thing, but are thinking about another. If our time is contaminated, we don’t get the full benefit of either work (peak productivity) or play (total relaxation).”

The above quote is from one of my favorite books: Time Management for Unmanageable People by Anne McGee-Cooker with Duane Trammell (Bowen & Rogers, 1993).

Having worked with hundreds of entrepreneurs and professionals in many different fields, I would assert that at least two hours of work time is contaminated each day because of being tired, distracted, and overwhelmed. And more of our day is contaminated because we’re too tired, too worried, or too distracted by family and personal matters and other responsibilities to enjoy the time we have for relaxation and fun.

If we can even remember what relaxation and fun are! What can we do to transform this? A good place to start is to confront how much of your time actually is contaminated.

Estimate how much time you contaminate by not being totally productive during an average work day. For example, taking an hour to complete a twenty-minute budget draft because you are worrying about a problem with your car.

Now estimate how much time you contaminate on average over the weekend or on days primarily dedicated to play, relaxation and renewal. For example, taking a series of business calls (or checking business email) while on vacation and spoiling your mood for family fun.

Average your work-day and weekend contamination hours, and multiply by 30 (days in the month). Now you have an estimate of the average total time you contaminate in a month that could be reclaimed for refreshing play or productive work.

Did you shock yourself (with how much time you are contaminating)? Can you even imaging what might be possible if you can reclaim even some of that time?

We’ll get to how you can do that in the next article in the series.


About the Contributor

Terry's clients find themselves working on what is most fulfilling and what really matters in moving things forward rather than what they previously thought they "had to do." The things you hoped to get to someday become the things you work on today.

With over 30 years of business and entrepreneurial experience, Terry's unique technology has dramatically increased the productivity of Fortune 100 executives and entrepreneurs in a variety of industries. As a Keynote Speaker with the Tony Robbins Power Team, Washington, DC, Terry inspired audiences in our Nation’s capital to “Eliminate the Overwhelm!” To learn more about Time Triage™ check out Terry’s website at

Submit Questions for Terry to answer at