Stop Procrastinate and Listen!

I used to be the master of all things procrastinatory until I had babies and had to substitute all the hours I spent  downloading free porn, shopping for shoes I couldn't afford, scanning the nerve personals pages for dudes with cleverly written profiles doing GOD knows what, with, oh I don't know --  shower taking, going pee, an occasional chap stick application, grocery shop.

That's kind of the beauty of motherhood. It's an insta-cure for Time-wasting Disease, a common side-effect of life in the 21st century, mainly because time becomes scarce and valuable so spending it gchatting about Paul Blart: Mall Cop is going to have to take a back seat. 

But what happens when the baby starts to nap and suddenly you have time? Not A LOT of time. But juuuust enough time to spend checking email, checking your favorite blogs, updating your various statuses until suddenly, two hours have passed, the baby is awake and you're like WHAT? Oh, shit! I was supposed to use those two hours working toward my goal to be a better human being and now I'm just... OMG! How cute are Sarah Jessica Parker's baby twins!... I mean... where was I? What? Oh, yes! The baby. Must get the baby...

I know, you guys. Me, too. 

Here's the thing with the Internet. It is public enemy #1 in terms of distraction and worst of all? There is guilt involved. Guilt if you don't respond to emails right away, or twitter back, or reciprocate cupcakes on facebook pages, comments on blogs, flickr pages, etcinfinity... 

So what's a modern girl to do? How do we keep from getting sucked in so we don't waste our lives checking gossip blogs, updating our facebook statuses and twittering incessantly about nothing?

It's a toughie for sure. I do know that what helped me was fully embracing my inner flake and taking the pressure off myself to participate in everything that's going on. Like I said in the above video, I only check my email once a week. Do I browse daily? Of course! (My email and facebook updates ping my Blackberry immediately.) But unless it comes from family, close friend or a emergency, I allow a few days, even a week (or more) before I read and only if I can (some weeks are more insane than others) do I respond. Same goes for Facebook and Twitter re: staying in the loop but that's because social networks scare me. I hate crowds. 

Bottom line? Life is rich with all kinds of choices. You want more time to write your own blog? Stop reading so many. You want to start your own business? Form a band? Pass an important exam? Let's go. Write a list, unplug your Internet and get to work (I spend my nanny hours at a coffee shop with no WiFi. I find it impossible to focus my attention on a manuscript with a an abled-browser within clicking distance.) Life may be long but days are short and dreams, if you have them, deserve some attention. Not to mention those kids playing under your desk. 


I keep forgetting to link my ten-days-of summer post(s) in which I write about fun things I did with my family in San Diego two weeks ago. Check it out if you are in the mood to procrastinate a little longer feel so inclined!


Krystal | 1:20 PM

Amen to that!

I should be getting the kids ready for bed, but we are sitting here staring at Fable instead! It feels like such a good waste of time though!

AS Novus | 1:21 PM

Thanks, I needed that! I am logging off right after this really.

Erin | 1:21 PM

Like Alice, my boss and I have our own little routine of getting through gobs of work by protratcting little rewards. Like "After I finish writing three paragraphs, I'll eat this mini Reese's!" Or "After I finish fact-checking 30 items, I'll read my favorite blog!" Etc. etc. It's really pathetic, but eh. I guess there's an easily bribed child alive in all of us.

Amanda | 1:43 PM

I should have changed my middle name to "Procrastinator." Because, seriously, it is my HUGE vice. HUGE. Somewhat bigger than wanting to shop vintage stores, and right above browsing Etsy and coveting everything. There are days when I pray for the internet to go down for half the day.

My, the things I'd get done...

Haley | 2:00 PM

As a 27 year old with no children yet I often wonder how you all do it but then I quickly realize that being a mom makes you stay on track but I'm just not ready for such busyness at this point, however, I needed that intervention...thanks :)and back to work no more lollyblogging for me :)

megan d | 2:32 PM

i was voted "class procrastinator" for mock elections my senior year. i'm not nearly as bad as i used to be but ironically enough, i was just thinking about how my living room is a disaster and i have laundry mountains downstairs and and and... but at least now i have my daughter to blame my procrastination on because galloping around like horses and watching school house rock youtube videos has been a lot more fun today :)

Summer | 2:32 PM

Not comment on every blog I read??? What??? You mean I have that option.

Wow, a whole new world is opening up.

Do you mind if I tell those bloggers that you said it was okay? ;-)

Martie | 2:38 PM

Started reading your blog this AM. I had to go back to October '05 and I'm up to February '06. My shoulders ache. My head is killing me. From looking at the screen for hours at a time. But I can't look away. You are becoming my new drug of choice.

Sharon | 3:08 PM

the internet really is addictive! I can't begin to tell you how often my status on (demonic) facebook reads something like "should be blah, blah, blah but can't tear away from the computer." or "must get _____ done before the kiddo wakes up". Unfortunately, my work is very internet dependent... Thank you for the reminder that it is ok to not update constantly or email back instantly. If only other people understood then I'd be a more productive mama/employee.

Brooke - Little Miss Moi | 3:25 PM

I am the world's biggest procrastinator. No, wait. That's not it. Let's see... I... WORK WELL TO A DEADLINE! Yep, that's what I do. So I never start anything until the absolute last minute. This includes things like packing suitcases the morning that you're moving out of your apartment back to Australia after 2.5 years abroad. Let's just say we had to scramble up a couple of extra bags at the very last minute. And pay a shitload of money for them to get on the planes.

I would like to blame it on the internet, but before the internet came along, I would read books and 'waste' time that way.

Sandy | 4:51 PM

Oh god, every word of this is true. It's like a Vulcan mind meld. Sigh. MUST STEP AWAY FROM THE INTERNET. How did we waste time before the internet?

Anonymous | 5:22 PM

Good God. Are you kidding me? I've devoted my life to the art of putting things off. I am the Procrasto-master! Hear me roar!

I peeled paper of a 24 pack of crayons today in order to avoid my 12 page poly-sci paper due Friday. I so wish I were kidding. I need help people. The internet is SO NOT HELPING.

Kim | 5:35 PM

Yours is one of the blogs that I happily procrastinate with!

Though I will admit that it's *amazing* what gets done when one stays away from the computer for a day or two.

just another mother | 5:41 PM

love this post!!! love it love it love it ;)

Well put chika!

btw - my word verification for posting this comment is "peasten"... I usually laugh for a while after word verification.... takes very little to amuse this mama....

pamela | 5:43 PM

ack!!! I should be cutting and sewing RIGHT NOW!!!! thanks for the kick in the ass! Altough I do find I'm pretty good at staying focused when I need to. But there is so much " inspiration". Too much. It almost makes you lose your own inner inspiration.... Does that make sense? Ok I'm off to inspire myself without the Internet!

lalalovely lindsay | 5:53 PM

Where did Fable's dress come from? I must know!! LOVE it.

Mommy Words | 5:56 PM

Ouch there's the guilt...the internet has replaced a lot of reading for me, which I think is probably, unfortunately, hurting my writing. I must either stay up later or turn off the computer to get my beloved books back in. Although I did read yesterday that some people can read in the shower so maybe I will have to take more and longer showers and learn that trick. Then I can stay on the internet! Great post. So very true.

cocosmalls | 6:49 PM

i guess being mostly on the not-being responded side of this equation, i think it is frankly a bit rude when people don't respond to emails. i understand ppl get many emails, but i do too-and i manage everday to get back to folks with at least a small note.

i think you are wonderful and your blog is wonderful but i also think that publicly telling ppl that you don't value them or respect them enough to respond is not that nicest thing ever. you are your brand after all.


WHOA. This has nothing to do with respect. This has to do with time and not being superhuman. This has to do with weighing priorities and staying focused on what is necessary. What HAS to get done vs what I'd like to get done, would be able to get done if I could clone myself and didn't have deadlines for exterior projects beyond this blog.

I spent many years putting pressure on myself to respond to every email I was sent, Fuck! Before email, I responded via snail mail to every chicken soup letter. EVERY single one. At some point you have to just say to yourself "I can't do it all. I can't be everywhere at once." It's just not possible when you have a thousand other things to do. And I don't think admitting that is a bad thing at all.

I am FAR MORE than "my brand" actually. I'd like to think everyone who is blogging is. Otherwise we've lost ourselves.

Kristi Drennan | 6:58 PM

Oh my gosh!!!! No joke this is exactly what my issue is and just TODAY I had a chat with the hubby because he's you know...sound and simple in his reasoning and he need to map out your day and put it on the fridge. I feel like yes I do waste too much time reading blogs...ones I don't even really love anymore (not yours of course or I wouldn't be commenting) and emails and stuff hoping to better my blog but then I don't leave any time to really work on mine. I also feel super guilty a lot. I mean I have to clean or I can't breathe and that's just the basics...dishes, laundry, floors. But it takes up all my days and then while I should be playing, and engaging with my child he ends up watching shows so I can just "get stuff done" and then I don't do anything with him or anything I want to do creatively. Yes...I just vented to you a complete stranger and I can't even articulate properly...I'm gonna go shut up and watch the momversation and hopefully get enlightened.

hayley | 7:18 PM

cocosmalls - rebecca is just talking about prioritizing. you can't be everywhere in life at all times. for her, not reading emails or responding to them all is how she manages her time.

i totally relate. i stopped answering my phone every time it rings- especially during dinner, or when i'm writing. i love people wanting to call and talk - but when I have a deadline and two kids, and a dog and dishes ... talking on the phone pulls me away from what i have to do.

of course, there's the times when procrastination is good, because jeeze, don't we all need to read perez hilton every once in a while???

love you rebecca!

carrie @ dear tucker | 8:58 PM

procrastination? i was supposed to be a professional photography by now. what is our best resource is often our worst our enemy. i am helplessly compelled to read my favorite blogs and likewise blog myself... i should also be sleeping right now.

Anonymous | 10:27 PM

You are so right. If we don't guard our time carefully, it is gone.

Gone. With nothing positive to come from all that time spent surfing the web, and just browsing around.

Chanel | 5:37 AM

Whaaat?! Sarah Jessica Parker had twins?!

I'm a college student so it doesn't get more procrastinator than that. 10 page paper due tomorrow?! Meh, I'll just write it after I do my laundry and update my facebook...

Prasti | 5:51 AM

so true. esp. that internet. it sucks you in! i've really had to limit how much time i spend online and pick certain times (2) to do e-mails, blog, facebook, etc. if i don't have time to get everything in then there's always another day.

Birdie | 7:54 AM

"Whatever you would do, or dream of doing, begin it! Boldness has power, genius, and magic in it. Begin it now." -Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Amanda | 8:08 AM

ummm coco-

I'll have you know that I've e-mailed Rebecca a couple times on Facebook and she's e-mailed me back with love to boot. Was it always the same day? No. But it was prompt for a mother who had just finished a book, discovered she was newly pregnant, and about to embark on a book tour. More than that she responds with gratitude. Something that propels me to further support and tell friends about the Rebecca Woolf "brand." As person and a writer.

KellyV | 9:00 AM

All I have to say is THANKS for the Awesome Ice Ice Baby Reference in the blog title. Made my day Momma!

Swedish Pankakes | 9:19 AM

Um you forgot the part where even with no WiFi, there are plenty of tantalizing rounds of solitaire, spider solitaire, and MahJong solitaire.

The last one gets me every time.

Anonymous | 11:57 AM

Do girls watch porn??? Never heard of that!!!

Soph | 1:43 PM

Jumping wildly off topic here to say that I love, love Blitzen Trapper and was so excited to see Furr as Track 1/100. No one out here seems to know who they are.

Totally stoked about your new mix tape project--I look forward to wasting a lot of time over here.

Asianmommy | 7:35 PM

So true! Sometimes I feel like the computer eats away half of my life.

Some Korean Website Highjacker | 8:32 PM


Here I am "using my (1st) words"! I really felt the need to comment here because I think one of the things that sets me off is being wrongfully accused of something and Ms. Smalls has brought that out of me for your defense. Not that you need it cos you are WOW, as I said in my email to you that you responded to in your own time which wasn't even an expectation of mine, just a joy to receive from you!

To accuse you of "telling ppl that you don't value them or respect them enough to respond" is simply a fabrication from a misaligned read of your entry. You never said that at all and it never ceases to amaze me as to how some people read into things with their own eyes wide shut.

I believe that a person with their morals and ethics in place always strives to do their best in any occasion and that it is the intention behind the action that matters. In this case, my intention is to write down my feelings to share with you in a protective way and with no ill will towards another.

We all can't be all things so as I see it, if you are someone who expects a response out of another and doesn't receive it then I say it's always better to light a candle rather than curse the dark! Let them know how important a response is to you, share your true intentions and even if nothing comes back at least you fulfilled your intention the best you can. Cheers to cups half full!!!

xo, Lynn (from the Dakota look-alike email)

Molly | 10:49 PM

Cancelling the emails to my Blackberry was the best thing I did all year. Turn it all off... at least sometimes!

megan d | 11:49 PM

okay, waaaaaay waaaaay off topic here but. i just found out i am pregnant with my 2nd and even though i am a mere 4 weeks along, i am already dreaming of my new wardrobe (and mourning the old one).

anyway, i have been lusting after those super adorable sailor maternity pants since you wore them when you were pregnant... i consider myself a bit of a google sleuth but my searches have rendered nothing.

i know they are an older style so i might have to do some serious ebaying to find them... my question is, do they have a specific name? or anything more identifying than the brand?

thank you so much!

Lara | 6:55 AM

So here I am, procrastinating on your blog. I'm so bad, I'm revisiting the SAME BLOG ENTRY I'VE ALREADY READ just because I so don't feel like working.

Which brings me to my question...
Is the title of this post a Vanilla Ice reference? Because if so, you are HILARIOUS!

Stop. Procrasti-nate and LIS'EN! Bec is back with a brand new edi-tion!

ok, back to work now.

Loukia | 8:01 AM

Well said! It's a sick obsession, the amount of time I spend on the Internet! Mostly I can excuse it as I am online when I am at work, so I'm not taking time away from the children - (I work in an office, away from home) and I still do manage to get my work done... but yes, Twitter/Facebook/blog reading/writing is consuming!

The Slick Mom | 7:55 PM

I agree with most of these comments. It is an obsession. I believe every era had one. Working in Media doesn't help. But, I do have to say, after spending a few months on twitter, I haven't been back for days, maybe even a week. I'm bored with it. At first it seemed fun, but now I realize I don't care about what most of these people are doing. I do stay on Facebook since that is mostly friends and family. I do read blogs and post to mine. But I took up sewing and now that is my obsession!