I am drinking coffee and writing on this Sunday morning.
I have a turquoise, soft cover Moleskine journal that I love and a ball point pen that writes just right. It’s a beautiful, sunny, January day. My phone is downstairs. In the time it has taken me to write these four and a half lines, I’ve had the urge/impulse/itch to check/use/scratch(?) my phone four times. #1- I wanted to use the timer for what was initially going to be a timed writing exercise [No Tracy, you can use the clock]. #2 – What’s today’s date? It’s right there on my phone’s home screen [Uh Tracy, use your brain]. #3 – I wanted to check the weather app to include the actual temperature when describing this lovely day [It’s January, Tracy…It’s cold]. #4 – I wonder if I’ve heard back from my friend Jamie. Hmm. I could do a Lumosity “workout.” And see what’s up on Twitter. I love Twitter. [No, no, noooo! IT CAN WAIT! IT CAN ALLLL WAIT. Write your damn journal entry] Jeez, no wonder I have trouble with follow through. We are living in a distractible world, and I am a distractible girl [Madonna invocation: You know that we are liiiiving in a distractible world and I am a distractible girl].
At work last year I was part of a project team that moved a manufacturing plant from Minnesota to NC. We up-fit an 80,000 Sq. Ft facility on a very tight time line to accommodate the plant. I was the Project Manager. Our team was rock solid, we all worked crazy hours, and lives were at stake. Ok, lives weren’t at stake – but SOCIAL lives definitely suffered. In the end, we were successful and it was extremely rewarding. Throughout the project, my boss constantly said, “What can we check off the list today? I’m big on checking things off the list.” He preferred to make a good, solid choice and move on versus making the perfect choice (which, obviously doesn’t exist). It sounds simple, but that stuck with me. It has become this perfectionist’s New Year’s resolution. Like most of us, I have a lot of lists. Being distractible and a perfectionist can be a paralyzing combo, especially creatively. Daily I think of ideas for a blog post, joke, sketch, business idea, etc. But I convince myself that I’ll get to them when I have more time (…to make them “perfect” before sharing them with the world, I suppose). And most of the time my (probably genius) creative musings and (probably million dollar) Shark Tank ideas lie dormant, never to be recalled. It’s a bad feeling. This blog post is a case in point. I started it yesterday morning but did not finish it in one sitting. It would be so easy to let it die away like so many others, unfinished. But damn it, I’m checking things off the list. And this year, writing is an important item on my list. Writing, and then letting it go of what I’ve written. It’s not perfect and that’s ok. Don’t over edit. Don’t let doubt keep you from doing what you want to do: just write. And for God’s sake, don’t check Facebook. [Fade out: Li-ving in a distractible world…DISTRACTIBLE!… Li-ving in a distractible world…….]
This piece was originally featured on Tracy Cate’s own blog, which you can see here
Artwork by Elena Lishanskaya