Make Procrastination Go Bye-Bye

nowProcrastination.

When I told my 11 year-old son I was going to write a blog on procrastination, he asked me what it meant. When I explained the definition to him, he immediately cringed and said, “Ugh! Don’t say that word. It makes my (taps on his solar plexus) hurt.”

That pretty much nails it on the head. That tightness in your chest, that incessant worrying, the agony over your inaction. Now my solar plexus is clenching.

If you’re not being held to a deadline by someone who’s handing you a paycheck, chances are, once you make a commitment to yourself to do something, (exercise, meditate, writing, painting, reading, etc.) you may immediately find yourself on Pinterest, Facebook, or Instagram, scrolling the accounts of people you don’t even like or respect for hours on end. For me, I prefer hiding from my creative endeavors by cleaning the kitchen for 3 hours. The other example was purely fictional.

This week I have been in the thick of procrastinating.

It hit me yesterday when I was literally rolling pennies. ROLLING PENNIES. This seemed like a high priority at the time. I mean how the hell am I supposed to be creative when there is a cup of unrolled pennies 10 feet away from me? (Fellow procrastinators are closing their eyes and nodding.)

Once I came to, and realized that I was knee-deep in procrastination quicksand, I called my friend.

“Hi. I have given myself 3 daily practices to do: Exercising, meditation and writing. I only have to do each of them 10 minutes a day. (I find that if I give myself an out after 10 minutes, that 90% of the time I’ll do 3 times the amount.)

I’m doing EVERYTHING but the writing. I don’t know why!”

Just by saying those words out loud to another supportive person and hearing her 2 cents, I was able to figure out why I was afraid to write. And as soon as I discovered why, I was able to free my mind, unclench my hands and write freely and instantly.

If you’re rolling pennies right now, this one’s for you.

1) Don’t Aim for Perfect. Avoid having this be your goal. When your target is perfectionism you will get procrastination. I realized I had an undercurrent of perfectionism going in this area. Perfectionism comes from the Latin: “I am afraid I’m not good enough, so why the hell bother.”
Writers use a phrase called blah blah gold. Most of us don’t want to deal with the blah blahs of writing some tepid ideas out on the page, because we just want to pole vault our way right over to the gold. Sometimes you might get instant inspiration, but most of the time, your back in your chair, working on your project and dealing with the blah blahs. Get comfy here. The blah blahs, the imperfect yoga pose, the painted-over canvas, are all the opening act for the gold, your end result, your masterpiece. I like to think of this blah blah part as giving myself, my soul, my creative angels, a chance. And if you’re expecting perfect from yourself, there’s no time for that. More importantly, it’s not fun.

2) Do 80%. I love Dan Sullian’s book, “The 80% Approach.” He says, “The first time we do anything, when we finish judging our effort, it is 80% of the way there, no matter how much preparation we do before taking action.” He states that if you are a perfectionist, demanding 100% each time, you are wasting time with panicky thoughts and excessive unnecessary man hours trying to make something “perfect.” And God knows when we will ever get there. Instead of expecting 100% in one go-around, try 2 or 3 go-arounds, at 80%. And he says do this fast. Dive in.

Just hearing I only have to do 80%, takes the pressure off, and as Sullivan says, “nips perfectionism in the bud.” Knowing I can go for 80% makes it easier to start. I just have to take a stab at it, take a good bite out of it, and I’ll be WAY further along than if I stayed with my spice rack polishing.

3) Give Your Brain a Fighting Chance. In addition to chucking perfectionism and going for 80%, stay FAR way from anything that will pull you into a compare and despair mode. This could be Facebook, Instagram or any social media that demeans your existence. (So all of them.)

Your mind can be your greatest asset or your greatest enemy. If you need external stimulus to get started, only take in things that inspire you creatively, get you excited to take action, and that feel good. I turn off my phone. If you’ve never done this, it is liberating. And yes you feel like you will miss out on a job via Instagram. But you won’t! Because that’s silly.

So to recap, here are my procrastination zappers:

1) Just do it! Make it messy, make it unorganized, just make it happen and drop being perfect.

2) Do 80%.

3) Fill your mind with what you want and where you want your project to go. Not what a jaded poo-head who hates their life will think of you.

These techniques helped me finish this blog. I hope they help you start, continue, or finish what is important to you.

PLEASE COMMENT IN UPPER RIGHT HAND CORNER.
What are your particular procrastination areas? What activity steals your time away from starting? Did this help you? Let me know!

With love,

Angela Hoover

The Beauty of Trying

Recently I was at my kid’s track meet.

This may come as a shock to those of you who know me, but I’m not exactly a staple in the athletic world. I’ll never be the amped-up mom at a baseball game screaming at the kids (whatever terms I’m supposed to be screaming out), or losing it because my kid missed the ball. I’m more, the mom drinking Starbucks on a cushion asking the parent next to me questions like, “Excuse me, what is that?” “Angela, that is a bat.” “Huh.”

I grew up with two sisters and I don’t remember going to ANY sporting events in my entire childhood, besides my sister’s diving competition. Bottom line. I’ve never really gotten super excited about sports.

Until track.

What is it about this sport that moves me to my core and makes me instantly tear up under my sunglasses? It’s like I’ve just come out of the movie The Color Purple or something. (My film crying record.)

Here’s what it is.

It’s witnessing somebody TRYING.

It’s watching a person give it everything they’ve got.

The reaction is absolutely contagious and completely electrifying.

Then there’s their support team. I’m not sure what moves me more. The face of the child drenched with determination, fighting to move their body to the finish line, or their enthusiastic team mates sprinting up and down the field screaming their name, and shouting, “Go! Go! Go!!!! You’ve got this! You can do it! Don’t stop! Go! Go! Goooooo!!!!!!!!”

I get that a lot of sports have the components of focus, drive and teamwork, but I have never seen them in such a concentrated way in so many individuals at one time. At least at this age. (9-11.)

There was a kid who came in dead last on one of the races. He was fighting to get one foot in front of the other, wincing and breathing really shallow. As soon as his feet crossed the finish line though, he threw his hands up in the air and all of us got up off our butts and cheered for him ferociously.

To be clear, I am not a “everybody deserves a trophy” mom and this kid wasn’t getting a ribbon. But he gave all of us, seated, hot-dog-eating adults a reminder of what it takes to get to where you want to be.

EVERYTHING YOU HAVE.

It reminded me how beautiful and exhilarating a feeling it is to watch someone really TRY, and then meet their goal, and how wonderful it feels when I do the same.

A lot of times I don’t feel like crossing the finish line, or even trying for that matter. My doubts are always there. There’s always 4 loads of laundry to do, kid’s projects and events to go to, and bills that don’t stop or change when my circumstances do.

But if I don’t try, I’m robbing myself of having some of my favorite feelings: feeling proud of myself, feeling elated, feeling excited, feeling alive, feeling hope and belief that my dreams are possible, hoping that by my actions maybe someone else will be reminded to go after something that they want or love.

Tomorrow night June 15th 2015, there is an impression contest with Dana Carvey. They have guaranteed the first 40 people an audition. I am number 51 on the line up.

So for the occasion, I have come up with some A-1 solid excuses for not going.

I may not get in. There’s a good chance I won’t get in. Burbank is too far. It’s a school night. I have to get a baby-sitter. And last but not least, I probably won’t get in.

These are all valid. And, I am going to put them all down, (dangit!) in the name of trying.

I have to. I may not get a ribbon or even get on stage, but I will get the satisfaction of experiencing the beauty of trying.

If there’s something you want to do, just try. Try, despite not being ready, or having the best resources or the perfect circumstances.

If you do, I promise the angels of the universe will be running to opposite ends of the field for you, jumping up and down, cheering your name,  and yelling, “We’re routing for you! You got this! You can do this! Don’t stop! Go! Go! Goooooooo!!!!”

Graytrack1

My 10-year-old son with all of his coaches cheering him on to the finish.

Dana-Carvey

Me with comedy idol (SNL) Dana Carvey. (And I did make it to the stage!)

The new TLC Show called #WhatSheSaid, hurts like a Mother.

This Mother's Day TLC launches a new show I'll be on called WhatSheSaid, where no stone is uncovered in the land of motherhood.  Funny, brutally honest, and why yes, embarrassing!

This (Sunday May 10th) Mother’s Day, TLC launches a new show  called WhatSheSaid.  If you like to watch mom’s fail on Pinterest crafts, fumble through social media tends, and basically make you feel like the best mom in the WORLD, you may want to set your DVR.  We did this sober and  still revealed too much and somehow don’t remember half of it.  Our spin-off show, will be “What She Shouldn’t Have Said” produced by comedian Stephanie Blum. We’d love you to check it out!  Happy Mother’s Day! xo Angela

From left to right.

Comedians, Stephanie Blum & moi, and bloggers Vera Sweeney and Audrey McClelland. The show also features Heather McDonald, Marisa Jaret Winokur, Cocoa Brown, Kelly Pryce, Michelle Villemaire, and Summer Stratton.

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