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Archive for the ‘distractions’ Category

Managing Distractions to Meet My Deadlines

Distractions Everywhere of the biggest issues I’ve had most of my life with getting things done is the ease with which I’m distracted. By the time my daughters were 5 or 6 and I was told they both had mild ADD/ADHD, I realized I probably shared their characteristics, no matter what name or label might be put on it. Like so many other things deemed “mental health issues” (think autism, bi-polar, etc.) there’s been a lot of name-changing over the last 60-odd years.

Schizophrenia has become several newly named things including bi-polar disorder. Autism has been broken out various groupings, and maybe un-grouped by now, probably depending who’s in charge of psychological designations this week.

Regardless, of what label you might give it, (or not which is my preference) my propensity for distraction is shared by many, including my kids.

Finding Order in Chaos

Take today for instance. I tagged along to my daughter’s Girl Scout meeting so they wouldn’t have to go all the way home to get me for our dinner date afterwards. I set up my laptop in an adjacent room and started the usual folderol associated with connecting to a new network, getting my poor, tired beast (the laptop, not me) to respond, and getting connected to Slack, where one of my clients prefers to communicate.

Frustration ensued when Outlook proved cantankerous. I kept getting the dreaded “not responding” message and had to shut it down a couple of times. Then the laptop screen went dark (a recent development) and I had to shut the whole bloody thing down.

When I finally got the email program functioning marginally well, I couldn’t find the message from Slack which helped me find my accounts. It showed up on my phone, but didn’t allow me to do the confirmation nonsense, but was nowhere to be found on my laptop—until it dawned on me I was searching for it in the wrong email account (I have 5 on Outlook plus my gmail account).

At long last, I had Slack set up, had checked transactions on my investment account, and started typing gibberish in a blog post until inspiration struck. Meanwhile, the meeting had started, childish voices jabbering excitedly as my daughter and son-in-law efficiently wrangled their little herd of cats and got them started on today’s project. With a Disney movie playing in the background (I suspect a few who share my attention issues in the troop) my stage was set for creativity.

Compartmentalizing the Distractions

Surprisingly, it is the perfect setting for one like me whose mind jumps from rock to rock in a rushing stream of consciousness. With my laptop set up in front of a window which overlooks a stand of trees and what looks like clumps of lavender, my mind actually has enough to keep it busy while staying on task and writing the second-to-last blog post for April—right on schedule.

I got tired of trying to calculate when a post was due if I wanted to stay at least 2 weeks ahead, so I finally put due dates on the Trello cards for each publishing day. According to the one for this post, I’m supposed to have it written, formatted, and scheduled by midnight tonight. No problem!

I’d actually gotten almost 3 weeks ahead instead of the 2 I require, but last week, and some major distractions have me, once again, scrambling to meet my self-imposed deadlines.

Getting Myself Unstuck

The problem was a post I was working on for a client. It wasn’t coming together as I’d have liked. Unfortunately, it affected everything I tried to do afterwards, including posts for another client and myself. Finally, at the end of my rope of frustration, I picked up pad, pen, and my ever-present water bottle and relocated to my front porch.

I wrote this and that (it didn’t have to make sense or be the Great American Novel) for an hour or so as the sun sank behind the trees and the chirping birds slipped away to their nighttime retreats. Every so often, one of my “barn cats” would wander over to ask for a little attention,. Sometimes I paused in my scribbling to oblige, other times, I multi-tasked. (believe it or not, there were thoughts I wanted to complete in the 4 or 5 pages I scribbled while enjoying the rare quiet in my neighborhood as darkness fell).

By the time I finished and went back inside, I was not only able to finish the article for the first client, but start one for a second. The only thing that slipped as the week came to a close was my personal schedule for posts. Unfortunately, that meant my newly created plan to post on Elephant Journal every Monday fell by the wayside this week.

A Toolbox Full of Solutions might think having to deal with distractions, blocks, and the rest of what life likes to throw in our paths would get to me after awhile. But as I learned when my daughters were young to put a little coffee in their milk so they wouldn’t bound off the walls as badly in the hours they were forced to sit in a classroom, I know my own blocks and distractions are manageable.

It might be writing on the porch or patio. It might be a walk. Or I might need to take my hot pink writing bag and find a relatively quiet coffee shop or cafe where I can scribble for a little while about everything and nothing.

Sometimes I get inspired after a night of dancing in the 2 or 3 hours it takes me to unwind. Other times, the words flow right after I feed the cats and jump into my day. The one thing I’ve learned though is, with the exception of my morning pages, I can’t put my writing on a strict schedule.

Each Week is Different

One week, I’m on a tear and might knock out 5 blog posts and a couple of chapters of whatever I’m working on. The next, if I get one post written, I’m doing well. No matter what kind of week I’m having, the one commonality is never beating myself up for the quantity of productivity or lack thereof.

I know eventually it all evens out, and to be honest, with a little perseverance and a respect for my own cycles, the productive weeks outweigh the slack ones. I’m able to manage both my clients and my personal requirements on time or early, just as I did when I was working in Corporate America. The difference is, I feel a far greater sense of accomplishment these days because whatever I put out, even if no one but my client ever knows I wrote it, is the result of my skills, my talents, and my ability to set deadlines and commit to them every single time. It only took me about 4 years to figure out how to honor those commitments to myself.

Need Help Managing Your Distractions?

Are you struggling to keep all of your entrepreneurial balls in the air? Would you like to take a task or two off your plate? Maybe it’s content creation, or perhaps it’s getting your books in order and creating a budget. If this sounds familiar and you’re ready to streamline your life and give your business space to grow and thrive, CONTACT ME and let’s talk!


When All Else Fails, Gratitude Overcomes All

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for lessons learned, no matter how long it took me to get there.
  2. I am grateful for increased productivity and respect for commitments I make to myself.
  3. I am grateful for the ability to be creative despite 12 chattering girls,, a Disney movie, and recalcitrant laptops.
  4. I am grateful for all the new and exciting opportunities coming my way.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; love, family, friendships, dancing, inspiration, motivation, commitments, relationships, expanding worlds, vivid dreams, opportunities, and all the people in my world who help me be my very best me.

Love and Light


About the Author

Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, ghostwriter, and advocate for cats. Sheri believes in the Laws , of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. Her mission is to Make Vulnerable Beautiful and help entrepreneurs touch the souls of their readers and clients so they can increase their impact and their income. If you’d like to have her write for you, please visit her Hire Me page for more information. You can also find her on Facebook Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author or in her new group, Putting Your Whole Heart Forward

Disastrously Divided: Fighting Over Children

Who Gets Hurt in The Latest in a Long Stream of Media Circuses the plot thickens, we are now fighting over children. A subject where there should be no division, only compassion. Yet here we are, arguing over whether or not it’s right to rip children from people fleeing a miserable existence in their own country where there’s no guarantee their children will see tomorrow, much less adulthood.

A few thoughts and questions on the arguments being put forth.

  1. People in the military are there by choice. Our armed forces became strictly voluntary in 1973.
  2. People in the military know where their children are, and that they’re safe, even if the parent is risking his or her life for their country.
  3. Separation of immigrant children from their families has been going on to some degree for years. Why is it suddenly a hot button now?
  4. Blaming another administration (especially the wrong one) for a law being on the books makes no sense. How many laws are on the books which are never enforced?
  5. The current administration isn’t the first to separate children from parents crossing the border illegally. But they are doing so on a larger scale, and including those who went through the proper channels to legally seek asylum.

Looking for Answers and Maybe a Consensus

With my trusty Google in hand, I took to the internet to see if I could find some actual facts on the Of course, every site is biased in one direction or another, though some, like CNN do their best to sugar coat it, and not always in the best interests of the truth (which we all know is heavily influenced in each of us by what we already believe).

The liberally biased published an article recently entitled “The Trump Administration’s Separation of Families at the Border, Explained”. Though some of the points have been argued on both sides, I found item 6 particularly interesting as it addresses Trump’s contention that his actions are justified by a “bad law passed by Democrats”. According to the article, the legislation in question was passed by George W. Bush in 2008. The article goes on to state:

The decision to charge everyone crossing the border with illegal entry — and the decision to charge asylum seekers in criminal court rather than waiting to see if they qualify for asylum — are both decisions the Trump administration has made.

Hard as They Try, CNN Can’t Ride the Fence reports on the affects on children separated from their parents in their article “Doctors saw immigrant kids separated from their parents. Now they’re trying to stop it”. The doctors agree the children are impacted both psychologically and physically by the forced separation—not only while separated, but for the rest of their lives. Health issues they can look forward to as a result of toxic stress response activated by separating children from their parents include heart disease, cancer, and morbid obesity. And that’s after they have dealt with developmental issues. The article explains:

“Toxic stress is prolonged exposure to hormones such as cortisol, epinephrine, nor-epinephrine — fight or flight hormones — and then inflammatory hormones. In a very young child, that disrupts brain development.”

Though cases of toxic stress were seen occasionally during the Obama administration when illegal entrants were incarcerated and separated from their children on a much smaller scale, Dr. Julie Linton says the situation is much worse today and is quoted in the article:

“Now it’s a systematic policy to create the same kind of trauma that, before, I saw really on a case-by-case basis,” she says. “Now we’re systematizing something that we know is incredibly harmful and incredibly cruel.”

Physical and Emotional Damage That Impacts a Generation

This doesn’t even consider the fact that immigrants become fearful of any kind of authority, and won’t help if a child becomes ill for fear of deportation. But it’s not just the families themselves who are at risk. According to Dr. Marisa Azaret, chief psychologist at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital, their friends are impacted as well. She’s quoted as saying:
“When your best friend is worried that their father is going to be deported, it’s disrupting a whole generation of our kids.”
It seems the medical profession, and especially pediatricians are weighing in heavily on this, with the American Academy of Pediatrics, American College of Physicians, and American Psychiatric Association 
all speaking out about the long-range effects of the Administrations wide-spread, and somewhat indiscriminate separation of families without regard for those who actually follow the law and enter the country legally under the existing amnesty laws.

Even Faux News is on Board This Time tried to find articles with very definite conservative leanings and opposing viewpoints but when high-profile Republicans like Senator John McCain are distancing themselves from the Administration, and speaking out against the policy; when States are implementing policies to keep from sending National Guard troops to the border to help with this inhumane and horrifically skewed interpretation of the law, the conservative news sources are either eerily silent, or in agreement with their more liberal counterparts, at least insofar as the basic facts of the matter.
Even Fox News, notorious for it’s conservative leaning is surprisingly consistent with other publications, even citing the act which is being used to justify the widespread internment of over 2,000 children who have been separated from their families. They, too, attribute the law in question, not to the Democrats, but to an act during George W. Bush’s Presidency.
A 2008 anti-trafficking statute dictates that certain minors must be taken out of immigration detention within 72 hours.
Their article, “What Trump’s ‘zero-tolerance’ immigration policy means for children separated from families at border” sticks mainly to widely agreed-upon facts without trying to justify the Administration’s policy. Instead, the author of the piece, Kaitlyn Schallhorn confirms the refusal by a number of Governors to send troops. It also shares quotes, not only from previous First Ladies, but from the current one, expressing, at the very least, dismay over the President’s policy.
And yet, does anyone else’s hair stand up when even Fox isn’t defending the President on this one?

Summing it Up, From Where I Sit

To say the Executive Order recently signed is acknowledgement the policy is ill-conceived is, in my opinion, yet another example of the sheep mentality sweeping our country. It’s a band-aid at best, and a poke at our mass delusions at worst. One thing is for certain, the masses and our beliefs and expectations are being tacitly ignored, and in a number of ways, used against us.
Events like the plight of migrant children are smoke screens for passing legislation like cuts to Medicare, more, for transferring more and more resources, rights, and privileges to the elite at the expense of the common people. How long are we going to continue allowing this to happen, jumping on emotional bandwagons, and failing to dig into the emotionally charged issues before reacting. How long are we going to let ourselves be distracted while we’re being screwed?
I’m not saying we ignore the issues or stop caring, but that we need to look for the reason something suddenly becomes the most important thing in the world. We need to look behind the curtain to see what we’re being distracted from seeing. We need to recognize and protest a political agenda which cares nothing for the voters who still believe they actually have a real say in who we put in office.

Now, More Than Ever, We Need Gratitude

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for the freedoms, at least for the moment, which allow me to research topics like this. I may not have gotten all the answers I came for, but I can continue to dig.
  2. I am grateful for a mind that things, a skepticism that keeps me looking beneath the surface and reading between the lines, and the courage (or maybe recklessness) to talk about it from a different perspective.
  3. I am grateful for a working environment that molds to my own pace and rhythm, and includes a clowder of stress-relieving felines.
  4. I am grateful for the many people in my life who love and care too much about others. They are part of the heart and soul which will ultimately bring more love and less hate into a very troubled world.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; love, family, friendship, multiple sources, Google, curiosity, awareness, consciousness, inspiration, motivation, dreams, peace, harmony, health, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light


About the Author

Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, Virtual Assistant and advocate for cats. Sheri believes in the Laws of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. She specializes in creating content that helps entrepreneurs touch the souls of their readers and clients so they can increase their impact and their income. If you’d like to have her write for you, please visit her Hire Me page for more information. You can also find her on Facebook Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author

January 3, 2014 Getting sidetracked

Best of intentions are seldom enough to get the story writ.

I left the dance hall tonight I had it all planned out. I was going to go home, make a cup of one of the lovely teas I unearthed while organizing today, sit down at the computer and write. It’s now 1:03AM and I have yet to write a thing! Even now, I’m dividing my time between writing this post and talking to a new friend. We met over a Tarot spread tonight, and spent a couple of hours helping each other interpret our cards. I won’t say it was wasted time because I learned a lot in the process, but yet, it didn’t get any writing done, here or on my latest novel.

I know I need to exercise more discipline, and my intentions really are good! I even spent some time on the copywriting course tonight before I went dancing. I also know that I need to minimize distractions, and have been good in the past about turning off everything except what I need to write.

This is the year when I will turn off email and social media for blocks of time every day.

A key part of sticking with my resolution to be kinder to myself is to allow myself to be successful. In order to do that, I have to make time to write and study, not just when I feel like it, but every single day. It’s a lot like my commitment to my gym routine. There are no excuses! Or should I say, there’s no such thing as a good excuse. Which is why, at just after 1 in the morning, I’m still up and making sure I do some kind of writing before I sleep. If you can’t keep a promise to yourself, you’re not going to be much good at keeping them with others.

***Topic Change Alert*** Speaking of having to be good to yourself before being good to others, I am reminded of how important it is to love, nay, to be madly in love with yourself. It took me a long time, but I’ve finally learned that until you can honestly say that you’re madly in love with yourself, you’re not likely to attract someone who will love and appreciate you as you deserve. Now, I’ve become pretty darned deserving over these last few years, yet I seem to be lacking an ingredient which will complete the circle.

Which leads me back to the new friend I made tonight. We were discussing the cards we’d each pulled for a Relationship Spread a gentleman posted tonight. My quandary was having gotten a card which meant “wish fulfillment” in a position which was supposed to answer the question: What am I doing that is an obstacle to finding an appropriate love partner? What I now realize is that my mindset is that I have everything I need emotionally, which keeps me from presenting an openness which might allow someone to breach my walls. In other words, loving yourself isn’t enough if you don’t acknowledge the fact that you also want to share that loving, caring person with somebody besides your pets and children.

This is just another example of how I allow myself to get sidetracked, however. So I will wind this up with tonight’s gratitudes so I’ll get up at a reasonable hour tomorrow to start following my plan and writing/studying!

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for new perspectives.
2. I am grateful that I can crank out a few words, even when distracted.
3. I am grateful that I recognize when I need to make some changes.
4. I am grateful for another night of dancing with some lovely company.
5. I am grateful for abundance: friendship, inspiration, commitment, love, joy, happiness, harmony, peace, health and prosperity.

Blessed be.

October 28, 2014 All good intentions got flushed today. #shericonaway #blogboost

The best of intentions aren’t worth a tinker’s damn if you don’t go to bed until 3:00 AM!

I really did have the best of intentions today: Get up early, go to the gym, pick up my Harvest box, and do some more reading on plot development. But around 11:30 last night, an email came in notifying me that the ebook I’d pre-ordered which completed Nora Roberts’ O’Dwyer series was available. What was I to do but start reading it immediately?

Needless to say, I finally put it down at 3 AM and woke later than I’d planned. So the gym got skipped and after picking up my Harvest box and chatting with the young man who’d put me in touch with his mother, who manages the website, I came home, fixed one of the artichokes which was in the box, heated up some leftover chicken, and returned to my book.

Sure, I finished it by about 4PM, but by then, I wasn’t inclined to do anything productive with the rest of my day, so I did my daily meditation, hours late, instead.

It’s too darned easy to get engrossed in something and lose track of the time!

After watching some of the shows I DVR on Tuesday nights and having a couple of phone conversations with my daughter on her way to and from Wine and Paint (or something like that), I did my evening chores and promptly became engrossed in a computer game. So now it’s 3AM again!

The difference is, two-fold. First, I didn’t have the foresight to write my blog post before I lost sight of time, space and responsibilities, and second, I fully intend to go to the gym tomorrow, regardless of what time I wake up. To ensure that I don’t oversleep, I will allow Mr. Scrappy Doo of the lousy manners to remain free to roam the house. He can be counted on to start being obnoxious sufficiently early to render all efforts to talk myself out of going to the gym, pointless. In this regard, Dylan is absolutely no help. Not only does he have no interest in the morning wet food, but he is quite content to snuggle in bed for as long as I’ll stay put.

So the plan is made, the blog post is written, the book is finished and no longer a distraction. Life should return to normal…for at least a day.

What distracts you to the point that you lose all track of time and turn your entire schedule upside down for a day or two? Do you give yourself permission to just let it all go for a bit, or do you feel guilty about it, or worse, beat yourself up?

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for days that go awry, and the fact that I can and do catch back up.
2. I am grateful for my loosey goosey schedule.
3. I am grateful for more goodies and new things to try in my Harvest Box. (tomorrow’s treat will be mashed cauliflower and kolrabi.)
4. I am grateful for my furry bed warmers who sometimes double as alarm clocks.
5. I am grateful for abundance: time, love, joy, friendship, imagination, motivation, harmony, peace, health and prosperity.


September 23, 2014 Energy shift

Today was like a bell curve.

I know that probably sounds geeky and weird, but it’s the only thing I could think of to describe today’s energy. I started out slow, easy and mellow, taking longer than I should have to actually get going. Distractions were like lightening bugs, beckoning me to follow. Although I had plans which would take me out of the house, I kept finding things I simply had to do before I left!

I did finally get out of the house around 2 and spent the next couple of hours doing what I’d planned. As it happens, it worked out better than I’d expected as I didn’t hit the after school rush I’d thought I would. Traffic in the stores was light, though I did hit a slow patch on the freeway which turned out to be a trash truck inching along while everyone did their best to get around it. People were in good moods, cheerful and friendly. I found what I needed easily, and even picked up a couple of things for my son-in-law’s next care package.

What I noticed most about today, though, so completely followed what I’ve been reading about from other people that, by the end of the day, I just had to sit back and say: “Hmmmmmm The only way to describe it is vibrant and light and incredibly uplifting. It makes me anxious to see what the next few days–no, weeks, even months will bring! It’s like taking all of the holidays and rolling them up into one, big bundle and celebrating everything you can think of for a week or more, just because you can.

I did, however, liken the day to a bell curve. At the other end was a plethora of shows I DVR’d tonight and, of course, had to sit down and watch while zipping past the commercials. Granted, I spent a lot of time fidgeting and playing with my iPad while watching, but it was still a lower energy path to the last part of the day.

I find that I’m planning out the next few days with either errands or tasks I want to accomplish. Not all of it is on my To Do list, per se, but all are things I need to accomplish at some point. I even scheduled my errands into “perishable day” and “non-perishable day”. For those in cooler climes, this probably seems silly, but here, where we call a day in the 80’s “a nice respite from the heat”, leaving anything perishable in the car for very long means you just flushed the cost of those items down the drain!

At the end of the day, I see this energy shift that some attribute to the Autumn Equinox a positive time of completing projects, reconnecting and good, strong forward momentum. Here in the Northern Hemisphere, it’s the time of harvest rather than forward momentum. A time where what we’ve worked on all year is harvested and stored away to carry us through the winter (which seems kind of weird since our growing season is maybe March to November). Yet, this year hasn’t followed normal patterns anyway, so why should we begin going by the book at this late stage? Instead, let’s throw away that book and follow those energies wherever they might take us! Who’s in?

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for a shift in energies.
2. I am grateful to be making my own way, following my own star.
3. I am grateful for this lighter, more energetic feeling.
4. I am grateful for expansion. The world has become such a robust organism and we, her inhabitants, are beneficiaries of the energies of growth.
5. I am grateful for abundance: energy, love, connections, friendship, health. joy and prosperity.


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