The 2015 Fuck It List: #14 Getting Locked In On *When* I Do Shit vs. Focusing On Just Actually Doing Shit.

Welcome to my Fuck It list. Fourteen things I’m going to stop giving a fuck about in 2014. Because, as important as it is to push yourself to be a healthier, more compassionate person, that can be downright impossible. Refusing to give a fuck, however, isn’t just easy — it’s kind of awesome.

{Prehistoric Amber} The Fuck It List: 2014 | AmberL.Carter.com

So fuck it. Here are the fourteen things I’m going to stop worrying about come 2014.

– 14 Fucks I Refuse To Give In 2014

This year, I’ve made a list of 15 Things I Refuse To Give a Fuck About In 2015 (capitalized, because it’s IMPORTANT). But instead of trying to write and post a huge massive manifesto all at once, I decided to instead break my list down into bite-sized pieces.

15 Fucks I Refuse To Give In 2015: #14 Getting Locked In On *When* I Do Shit vs. Focusing On Actually Doing Shit

 

I have this sort of idea stuck in my head that the only way to become a fully-functional, successful, prolific person who works for themselves is by waking up at 5 AM every morning, working out for two hours, then being at your desk, ready to work, by 9:00 (after you’ve eaten a full breakfast, showered, meditated, made yourself up to look flawless, and maybe did a little light reading of the newest non-fiction bestseller, of course). Then you spend a jam-packed, furiously productive morning where you get everything done on your miles-long to-do list while simultaneously engaging on your social networks and hosting podcasts or spree casts or zoom chats, breaking only for an Instagram-worthy salad and green smoothie that you tweet about sort-of-smugly but with just enough humor that it inspires everyone else to eat better, too. Then you shut yourself into a room for four hours for some really productive writing and then you do sunset yoga and then you get dressed up and go to a glittering networking event where you make really important contacts and dance and take Instagram selfies with other thought leaders and then you go home and have some tea while you wind down with a quiet meditation and then a little light fiction reading and then your (freshly-washed, because you would NEVER fall into bed with a face full of makeup) face hits the pillow just in time for you to catch optimal rest before you do it all over again.

Right? Because that’s how those Wall Street Journal “A Day In The Life Of____” features make it look.

The thing is, I left the 9-5 about five years ago because I wanted the freedom and autonomy of being able to do what I wanted with my time. But a constant theme since then has been the battle between the feeling that I needed to create some sort of structure for myself, and also knowing that I am a person who is perpetually fond of saying “I don’t gotta do shit!” when it comes to authority and rules. I also don’t know if the generations of farmers in my family have somehow modified my genes, but I’m the kind of person who somehow feels like I’m losing at life if I get up later than 8:00 AM…which gets tricky since I love staying up late, and I looove sleep.

So every Monday, I attempt to make my days look like the scenario at the top of this post so that, one day, when I have become successful at building my empire of reality TV recaps + books about feelings, I can be all, “Oh yeah, guys, this has been my routine for years.”

And every Monday I fail.

***

This week I’ve been working on wrapping up a major book project. It’s at that stage where, every day when I wake up, I think to myself that this could be the day when I finally finish it (and as a writer, nothing gets you out of bed faster than that thought). A coupl’a nights ago, I decided that I was going to finish it that night, even if I had to stay up until dawn to do so –

I actually made good on my word, and worked on it until 6:00 AM the next morning.

I woke up the next afternoon at 2:00 PM, fully prepared to feel guilty for losing more than half a day to sleep. But I didn’t. Instead, I felt great – I didn’t finish the book, but the amount I got done in those dark and quiet hours…holy hell, you guys. I spent all night working on my book. And when I say that I spent all night…I really mean that I spent all night working: Twitter was quiet. I could catch up on Facebook conversations during my short breaks without having to constantly check back in to engage again. Nobody was calling, nobody was texting…and I had nothing else that I was supposed to do but plow through that book.

I realized that, one of the reasons why I don’t tend to get a ton done in the morning is because, even when I make a point to not check my phone or email or social networks before I get some writing in, I’m still dealing with FOMO. Unless I get up at 5 AM to write (HAHAHAHAHA), it’s like I can literally feel the electronic waves of all my friends’ tweets floating through the air, brushing across my skin, whispering to me that I’m missing out on a hilarious conversation that’s going to be over by the time I hop onto Hootsuite. For instance, meditating in the morning is literally painful for me – even though I so want to start out with 15 minutes of stillness because I know it will set the tone for the rest of my day, I’m so anxious to get going on my to-do list that trying to vacate my mind becomes a freaking joke.

But still, I kept insisting that sticking to a morning routine of meditating and two hours of writing before I hop online was good for me.

After my all-nighter, though, I realized that I was doing the same thing with an idealized routine that I was doing with body image. It’s literally this all over again. At some point, I created a vision of what I felt like my ideal life should look like, and then, even when I couldn’t stick to it because it didn’t fit who I naturally was, I kept holding it against myself, insisting that this is what it should all look like. 

Which makes me feel like a miserable failure…and that shit ain’t productive for anyone.

So in 2015, I’m saying fuck it to getting locked in on *when* I do shit instead of just focusing on actually doing shit

There’s a minimum of stuff I need to do to feel good about my day: I need a few solid hours of writing time, and I need to meditate. That’s it. Then there’s the stuff that helps me feel like I’m Oprah’fying my life: A few hours of working on other projects that I’m excited about; some physical activity, preferably yoga; some social interaction, either online or IRL; a good hour or two of reading; and a cup of green tea and dark chocolate while I’m reading about or working on some type of personal development; some play time on the internet with stuff that entertains and makes me laugh.

When I break it all down like that, it suddenly becomes crystal fucking clear that it doesn’t matter a’tall whether I get that shit done at 10 AM or 4 PM or 2 AM. It just matters that I get it done.

And don’t get me wrong: I’m not throwing structure *totally* to the wind…it’s still important to me to drink a cup of hot water with lemon right when I wake up; to eat breakfast before I have my first cup of coffee; to clean my room before I turn in for the night (even if that means throwing everything into the closet); and to wind down at least a half hour before sleep with a book or a magazine instead of an electronic device. But those are things that make me feel good by doing them. It’s about each action, not the specific time at which each action must happen.

And every time I find myself forcing myself into a routine that doesn’t actually work for me, I need to remind myself that, while having my day heavily scheduled like Chris Hardwick looks like a good idea, I would literally be all, “SEE YA” and run away to a deserted island if I had the kind of life where I couldn’t blow off everything for an afternoon to hang with my pals at the pool.

Also, in writing this and giving myself permission to *not* force myself into that idealized vision of what my day should look like, I just realized that I’m totally probably going to start having those kinds of days, now, just because I no longer feel like I *have* to.

My brain is awesome.

//

Want more posts like this one? Dig into some of the archives here and here. Your sweet reality will thank you for it. 

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About Amber L.

Hi! I'm Amber. I've been telling stories with books and blogs since 2004. I also spent 10 years working as a behavior therapist, which I now put to proper use by publishing thought pieces and dissertations on '80s pop music and the defining TV shows of our current times ('The Bachelor', 'Vanderpump Rules', etc). I can also be credited with single-handedly ruining the city of Portland, OR just by moving here.

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