With a degree in creative writing from Columbia and six traditionally published books under her belt, Rea has helped hundreds of clients refine, hone, and craft their own ideas into full-fledged books. Whether it’s working on a book proposal to sell to a publisher, ghostwriting a memoir, or consulting on a great idea, Rea’s fifteen years in the publishing industry will clarify the message, mission, audience, and ultimately help find a home for a client’s work.
When she’s not promoting her novels, NOT HER DAUGHTER, and her newest release, BECAUSE YOU’RE MINE, you can find her creating writing workshops, ogling her sexy husband, homeschooling her incredible daughter, or plotting her next great adventure.
I pulled up my calendar and wanted to cry.
I was launching a book in four days, prepping for a 30+ event book tour, homeschooling my daughter, running my side business, and rushing to meet another book deadline head on. Oh yeah, and trying to find time to f*ck my husband sometime this century.
To say I’d become a yes person was an understatement. On days I carefully curated to write my book, I somehow found myself bouncing from Facebook to Twitter to Instagram to email like a crack addict whose bounty was displayed before her. Text messages off. Email closed. Back to the page. But what happened with The Bachelor? That Hannah totally got screwed…have they named the new Bachelor yet? God, I hope it’s Peter! Maybe I’d just do a quick internet search to see…
This had become my life.
Correction: this has become your life. So mired in posting, clicking, collecting likes and DMs like candy, we can rarely focus on getting anything done. Myself included.
I’d lost the ability to focus.
As I was frantically texting my husband that we needed toilet paper, and did he think I had fibromyalgia because I was so f*cking exhausted all the time?—he sent me a shocking text.
“I love you, Rea.”
Four words to change a life.
That’s when I got it: I’d become so reactive in my life—responding to texts and emails and likes and reposts and hashtags and comments and opportunities—that I’d stopped interacting with the people in my real life. Namely that husband I needed to f*ck, like whoa.
When was the last time I sent him a love letter or a “you’re so amazing!” text? I thumbed through and was appalled to find our entire conversations consisted of logistics. Once, we were dreamers, then we’d become doers, and now, it seemed like we were stagnant, barely keeping it together with a list of to-dos so long I wanted to just curl up into a hole and die.
But I didn’t die. Instead, I decided to constrain.
Constraint is one of the best things we can do for ourselves. Things like scheduling out your entire week in advance, saying no and meaning it, and putting your dreaded phone away when you should focus.
In my quest for constraint, these are my top tips:
Clean Up Social Media
Guess what? Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to be on social media if you don’t want to. If you are, do yourself a favor and pick one platform that doesn’t make you want to puke. #deathtofacebook. People can tell if you don’t like what you’re doing. Spend time cultivating an account that you actually enjoy. For me, it’s Instagram. Since I’ve made the decision to invest in one platform, I can spend less time mindlessly scrolling and more time investing on true engagement and growing my business. The simple act of removing apps from my phone and deleting unloved accounts allows me to focus on what’s important (i.e. my real life) and spend concentrated amounts of time connecting and engaging with followers.
Clean Up Your Professional Life
Email isn’t supposed to be checked every five minutes. Neither is your phone. Neither is social media. Neither are your texts. In lieu of going back to a flip phone (which I’m really thinking about), I’m batching texts, emails, and social media to just three times a day. Making this one rule enables me to finish an entire project or task without obsessively getting distracted by checking social media or emails. When I do check, it’s quick and efficient and allows my brain time to process and refocus.
Clean Up Your Personal Life
My husband and I made a deal a few times a week to talk about fun sh*t. Not parenting sh*t, house sh*t, food sh*t, bills sh*t, or sh*t sh*t. (If you’re a parent, you’ll know that poop talk is literally part of the everyday convo.) Just f-u-n sh*t. We are allowed to talk about our dreams. To make each other laugh. To make out. The singular goal is to relate to each other like people, not errand runners. By implementing this new rule, we’ve actually reconnected as romantic partners, dreamers, and individuals who had goals outside of our marriage.
Clean Up Your Time
We all say that we don’t have enough time in the day, right? We can’t work out, we can’t hang with friends, we can’t work on that passion project. Here’s a sobering fact: the average person spends four hours per day on their phone. Four hours! What that means is that we’ve become unnaturally good at being on our phones. We’re not learning a skillset, improving our minds, bodies, careers, etc. Imagine what you could do if you got that time back. I now have a tracker that alerts me how long I’ve been on my phone. I’ve slashed my time in half, removed apps that are time wasters, and organized everything into folders. Now, when I look at my screen, it’s tidy. When I pick up my phone, it has a purpose. When I go out, I often leave my phone at home. And a few nights a week, I take a 45 minute walk without my phone to process my day. #tryit
Bottom line: I’m taking action and saying no what no longer serves me. I’m constraining. I’m focusing on what brings me joy and lights me up. Because all this worry, stress, and overwhelm? There is no upside.
This life is yours. Once you make your own rules, you just might discover something beautiful.
Images: Yura Fresh / Unsplash; dylanhafer, whenshappyhr, samanthamatt1, notskinnybutnotfat / Instagram