Progress, not Perfection

The_Equalizer_posterA little while back, I saw the movie “The Equalizer” with my boyfriend Denzel Washington. I went to support my boo, who was obviously spectacular. Actually, there was a scene in the movie when I legitimately squealed and jumped out of my seat out of excitement I couldn’t contain from him looking like such a badass.

If you haven’t seen it, you should.

But more importantly, there’s a nice theme that his character embraces. The idea is essentially “Progress, not perfection.” I’ve written about this idea before , but with New Years around the corner, it doesn’t hurt to be reminded.

Every day with ever decision you make- big and small- you change the outcome of your future. Sometimes these are obvious and big changes. Other times they’re tiny tweaks. But they’re all important. And they all make a difference in who you will grow into. It’s ok to make mistakes. And it’s ok to not be perfect in a day. And, this is especially something I need to remind myself, it’s ok if you don’t get to everything you had on the docket for that day.

The most important part is that you are being proactive about your choices. You are actively wanting to be better. You’re allowed to falter. You’re human. It’d be ridiculous to hold yourself to perfection constantly (only my boyfriend Denzie can do that).  But if you at least recognize when you’ve made a mistake or when you’re engaging in a habit or choice that makes you feel bad or doesn’t serve who you want to become… that’s half the battle. Because when you’re self-aware and want to improve, you will slowly but surely take steps to make those improvements.

This concept is important for me especially to embrace. I put way too much on my plate and am pretty consistent about letting some balls fall in order to juggle an unreasonable amount. And I get mad at myself for not being able to do everything I want to do. But I need to recognize that the only thing I can control is my own attitude and staying true to myself. If I’m working on improving at least one element of my life every day- even if it’s a small improvement- over time, that will add up and make a big difference.

It takes years of slow pressure and tiny changes in order to create a diamond. So be patient with yourself and others.

I am remind myself of this every time my baby Denzel and I go diamond shopping.*

*I am not actually dating Denzel Washington. I know this is shocking to you. The rest of the article is extremely honest, but I may be slightly over-exaggerating my relationship with the major star. But look at him… can you blame me?

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I’m Going In

October was an odd month for me. Lots of ups and downs. Lots of being really in touch with my gut and lots of waking up in Cavecold anxiety-provoked sweats because something was off but I didn’t know what.

Maybe I sound dramatic. But that’s my style. So deal.

It really was an odd month. A bunch of strange things that kept making me feel more “off” than usual. For various reasons that I’m not going to get into here.

Needless to say, it was a bit of a wash of a month for me in terms of my positivity and productivity.

And I kinda just let myself wallow a little bit. And I don’t regret it. Because I didn’t want to push myself. As a woman who can easily push down her emotions and let good old denial take the reigns, I have to be careful to not just ignore how I’m feeling because it’s inconvenient and not productive.

I was tired and sad. So I let myself be tired and sad.

I was lucky that one of my bestest friends in the world and one of the most positive people I know happen to also be going through a weird month. I wasn’t lucky because I wished that on her by any means. But we both agreed it was kinda nice to have someone to wallow with. It made us both feel a little less alone.

But we decided November is the cut off. Once November starts, the name of the game is productivity, positivity, and proactivity. We’re going to distract ourselves into thinking we’re back on track. And maybe by doing so, we’ll actually get back on track.

I stayed in on Halloween and spent the whole time writing emails and making an ambitious schedule and setting clear goals for the rest of the year. And journaling. God I journaled the shit outta those emotions.

And I woke up November 1 excited and ready. I’m no longer going to wallow. I exorcised those demons on All Hallows Eve. It’s time to focus on me and focus on the things I love most- creativity and entertainment. I call this “going in” because I’m about to turn my focus into hyperdrive. I’m gonna be on a bleeping mission for the next several weeks. And I’m gonna accomplish a boat load.

I’m going into the cave of wonder and focus. If I’m not out by the holidays… just know I went down doing what I love.

Back to School Schedule

school busI had to make a change to my schedule. I was pushing myself too hard. It was unsustainable. I was trying to get up at 6 am to get to the gym every morning before working for a while before going to my day job then spending late into the evening working on comedy. I was barely sleeping and usually sleeping through the gym. It didn’t work. Couldn’t keep it up.

So I’m trying something new. I’m letting myself sleep a little later to accommodate for my constant, inevitable late nights. Then I write in the morning before heading off to work, much earlier than I was before. Then I can leave earlier than I did before. And can go to the gym during that sweet spot after lunch rush but before “regular” people are out of their jobs. Right around the time when school gets out.

Maybe it’s not “ideal” to not workout first thing in the morning, but it’s more ideal to at least get to the gym and get a workout in than to regularly have to choose between sleeping a reasonable amount and working out. It’s counter-intuitive to miss either of these. So I had to make a change. And that’s what I decided upon. At least for now.

Plus, I’m done with the gym in time to clean up and still get out to the second half of my day- meetings, writing, rehearsals, shows, etc.

I already feel more well-rested, calmer, and more productive. And I’m making some inroads on getting in better shape. Because I can go consistently. And that feels good.

Plus, whenever I go, I get more stories for this blog. So really, it’s a win/win for all of us.

Multitasking

Despite major blockbuster hits like “I Don’t Know How She Does It” lead you to believe, multitasking is not the most effective way to get anything done.

Please. Take it from me, a gold medalist in multitasking.

In the time it’s taken to write these three sentences, I’ve gotten up to do the dishes, made my breakfast toast, and responded to three emails. Eekgads.

I’m working on focusing more lately. It’s the nature of the path I’ve chosen to have multiple projects in motion at any given time, and that’s fine. I actually relish when there’s lots of work to do and lots of sillies to create. But I’m learning that my productivity can increase exponentially if I respect the fact that giving whatever task is in front of me my complete focus.

I’m taking time at the beginning of my week to outline the week’s goals and needs. Then I put each of those in their own time slot in my schedule. When it’s time to work on them, they get my total focus. When their time is up, I move on. That way, I’m not only doing a little of each thing and thinking I’m being much more productive. It helps me see more results- and especially more results I’m proud of.

When you have a lot on your plate, it’s easy to be overwhelmed. It’s also easy, when you’re multitasking, to convince yourself you’re getting more accomplished than you actually are. I fall into this trap often, and have found that when I’m proactive about my focus, it changes everything.

I now respect the fact that my schedule- if followed correctly- will allow me to get everything I want done in a day done properly. But I have to respect the fact that if it says “write stand up jokes” it doesn’t mean “check Facebook updates” or “read that snarky Jezebel article.” It means, “write stand up jokes.” So just do that. And afterwards, there will be plenty of time for mind numbing activities.

So turn off the TV. Turn down the pop music. Dare I say it- turn off your Wifi for a while (after you finish this post, of course). Focus. Be present in the moment with the task at hand. For me, it’s a relief to know there’s only one thing that I need to do right now. Everything else can wait. It’s not as important as you think. WARNING! MAJOR LIFE SECRET! Everything else can usually wait. In fact, the distracting tasks you’re so concerned about when you should be doing something else will be done much better if you just let them wait their turn.

Gotta go. I’m three minutes behind schedule and I really want to make sure I have time to write that “HUNGRY! LOL!” Facebook status later.

The Glamour

I know a life of creativity seems really glamorous. Actors and creative types are often thought of as these beautiful creatures that are demi-gods bestowed to us for a short time for our viewing pleasure.

This is only a slight exaggeration.

I want the world to know, most of my creativity happens either in the early morning when my hair is totally wacky, my pajamas are still on, and my face is funky with lines from sleeping on it the night before OR in the late evening when I’m exhausted from a full day so I’m wearing whatever was closest and most comfortable and often have a washed out face and worn out makeup.

Like right now, I’m getting ready to do a chunk of writing for the upcoming “RESPECT” podcast, and my hair is janky and weird. I haven’t had breakfast so I’m strangely cranky and moody. I’m in PJs I wear almost every night until they’re obviously smelly and unbearable (it’s spandex from my high school volleyball days and a pink “Better Call Saul” t-shirt…sexy). I haven’t brushed my teeth or looked in a mirror (probably for the best).

This is how I look when the magic happens.

Groovin’

The good news: I’m finally starting to find a time pattern that works with what I want to be doing. I’ve got an approximate time I need to go to bed so I can get up at another time and get (almost!) everything I want done any given day.  If I follow this pattern consistently, my productivity and my energy will all skyrocket- and that’s an exciting prospect!

I’ve got an amazing app called Sleep Cycle that wakes me up slowly and pleasantly so I’m ready to be up and about right when I need to be. I can get up, work on some creative stuff, work my body out, work a little more on creative stuff, put in a full day at my day job, then spend the evenings out performing and in classes. Then – if I’ve planned it right- I’m in bed at just the right time to do it all again.

I did this for like four days in a row last week and it felt amazing. I felt like I was finally in a groove I liked and could continue. My mind, body, and spirit were all rocking out.

Then, like most good things we do for ourselves, my old habits kicked in. I slept in a little so I didn’t get some things done I wanted to. The weekend popped up and I had other plans. I thought I would snap back into it today (Monday) but I wasn’t really proactive about it this morning so I feel off again. I’m out of the groove.

But now that I know a groove can be had and that it feels so fantastic to do, at least I now know the goal I can strive towards while remaining flexible for all the crazy stuff this wacky world may throw at me.

The bad news: Madonna’s Get into the Groove music video sucks.

We’re back on, biatches!

After a little break to create a totally new version of the stage show, Femoir will be returning in podcast form with new episodes uploaded every other Wednesday… starting tomorrow!

New sketches, new characters, new formats, new ideas. Yeayer.

Make sure you’re all caught up before the new ones come out:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/femoirs-podcast/id518190240