A few years ago, I went down with my sister to New Orleans to enroll her daughter with Central Casting, an agency that fills in the background and minor roles on films and TV shows that are often shooting all over the city. On a whim, because they asked, I said yes to having them take my photo and contacting me should they need any mid-thirties basic background ladies in the future. I thought I’d never hear from them. I was wrong. In fact, they started ringing my phone early and often and soon I found myself cramming in trips to Nola for very long days of sitting around, once even in a 60’s era ballgown, for sometimes 12-18 hours a day basically socializing with the other background talent but also rubbing elbows with top Hollywood stars. Ok, maybe not rubbing elbows but we were in the same room. The pay? Not stellar. Basically, a smidge over minimum wage with a guaranteed base pay of about a hundred bucks. It was so fun! Also, though, it was making me a little frantic. Waiting for the next offer to come in, deciding on the spur of the moment to drop everything the next day and rush into the city, and never knowing when I would get to head home for the day.
Around that same time, somewhere on the internet I saw the phrase “I will not pursue frantic.” Woah. It hit me. That’s exactly what I was doing. The hurriedness I was always feeling — the anxiety of being where I needed to be for my regular gig running a skincare and cosmetics organization, or when I needed to be there for my family, all while waiting for my brush with greatness on set — it just wasn’t worth it. Time to start politely declining. I made a deal with myself. Unless I got offered a gig with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnston himself or an offer to be the leading lady in a sure-to-be smash hit that would launch my film career, I was going to have to say no.
I’m all for saying yes to exciting new opportunities, y’all. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good adventure and still say “OK, I’ll give it a go!” to new things. In fact, it’s why I now sometimes introduce myself to the right audience as a writer or podcaster. I just must protect my time to be sure I’m not living in that hurried, frantic space as a choice. I spoke about the concept of not pursuing frantic on The She Confident Podcast this week. Here are a few takeaways on living a less frantic life.
- Learn to say no without hesitation or shame. If your plate is full, it’s full. If you simply cannot help with the bake sale or go to a party on a weeknight or take on a new project at work, it’s ok to decline. Just give it a try. Wherever you are right now come up with a list of ways to say no. I prefer a good “Not right now, but thanks for thinking of me! Don’t leave me off the list for next time.”
- Find more time. If you are burning daylight everyday trying to accomplish all the things, perhaps you need to add some hours to your day. I’m about to say something controversial. Get up earlier in the morning. Just one extra hour in the day can make all the difference, depending on what you do in that hour. Here’s what I do. In 2020, I have begun getting up at the dark hour of 5:15 am each morning. I grab some coffee, head to my comfy chair in my office, and take 20 minutes to read something that is going to educate, motivate or inspire me. Exactly 20 minutes, I tell Alexa to set the timer. Then, I take ten minutes to practice some gratitude for the people in my life that I’m, well, grateful for. After that is ten minutes to literally map out my day. I look at what all I need to accomplish that day and then plug in the exact times I’m going to do them. I have never considered myself a morning person, but after just a couple of weeks of doing this I look forward to that time to be intentional about starting my day on the right track. Give it a try!
- Make some energy. Simply put, a powerhouse doesn’t have energy, it makes energy. That’s not an original quote, I believe Rachel Hollis said it first. If you want to have get up and go, you must get up and go. Moving your body, intentionally, for about 20-40 minutes every single day can energize your brain to be able to sort out and accomplish more. Also, go to bed on time. Stop scrolling Facebook and set the DVR to record Jimmy Fallon. You need your beauty sleep, but more importantly your brain sleep to be able to fire on all cylinders the next day.
Mindy Boyd is a writer and podcaster, the founder of “She, Confident”– a community of women focused on building self-confidence in themselves and others and the owner of a skincare and cosmetics franchise of Aloette Cosmetics. Look for more content on SheConfidentSite.com