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Archive for the ‘productivity’ Category

Turning Irritation Into Productivity

Taking “Do Not Disturb” to New Lengths

I have an irrational aversion to people I don’t know parking in front of my house. It could be a neighbor, one of their friends, or someone pulling over to send a text or check an address. It doesn’t matter. I see their car in front of my house and have to physically restrain myself from running outside and telling them to park elsewhere.

Perhaps it stems from the first few years I lived in this house. We had a neighbor around the corner who was dealing drugs. His customers would often park in front of my house and run around the corner to make their purchases. But he’s been gone for at least 20 years, and still, park an unfamiliar car in front of my house and my ire escalates.

I realize the street in front of my house is public property. I know I have no legal right to ask people to leave. Still, I wish they’d find somewhere else to park and not avail themselves of the shade my big, beautiful tree provides.

Releasing Irritation For More Productive Pursuits

As I try to follow the teachings of Eckhart Tolle and stay in the moment, it’s easier to let the irritation slip away, but I’ve yet to master it completely. Like a two-year-old with a prized toy, the space in front of my house is mine. In my selfish mind, I’ve lived here long enough; paid enough taxes to maintain the roadway that I feel I’ve earned the right to be a little selfish. Yet I also see myself turning into the cranky old woman everyone secretly mocks because she yells at all the kids going by and watches from her window to see what the neighbors are doing.

My saving grace is my writing. I typically have more than enough projects for myself and others to keep me busy and reasonably oblivious to the goings-on in the neighborhood. I also don’t know most of the neighbors well, if at all. In fact, I find myself taking a page out of my newest neighbors’ book and remain detached from all but my two oldest neighbors. Maybe it’s not the friendliest existence, but I never claimed to be the Welcome Wagon. Nonetheless, I did try, albeit fruitlessly to welcome the neighbors when they moved in maybe a year ago. I’d been friendly with 4 of the previous 6 residents of the house in the 30 or so years I’ve lived here.

Like me, they chose to isolate from the neighbors, and being a hermit myself, who was I to argue? I’m happy to watch out for the elderly woman across the street, and the octogenarian couple next door. They rarely ask for much, and I’m grateful I can be there for them if they do. But having a far more distant relationship with the other neighbors suits my hermit heart fine.

Isolated Doesn’t Mean Lonely

Created with CanvaOne might ask if my existence is lonely; an island in a suburban sea of souls. There was a time it was, especially the first couple of years after I left Corporate America behind. But as regular habits improved and I left the house 3 times a week to go to the gym, had a regular errand day, and saw friends for dancing, movies, lunches, and game nights, being lonely left my schedule entirely.

I may still spend a lot of time alone (and frankly, it’s difficult to write and carry on a conversation at the same time), I do so when and because it’s what I want. It’s only loneliness when you want for company and can’t find it. Heck, there are times I make it clear I want to be alone while out in public. When I’m at the gym, or in a jury room, I put earbuds in my ears, making it clear I’m there to get something done, and not to be the social butterfly my friends are for me.

We all have our functions in life. Some of us carry the conversation or bring people together. In that regard, I’m a follower. That isn’t to say I’m not a leader at times, else I’d have never been able to run away from the real world to be a writer. There’s a lot of leadership in re-creating yourself into something completely different, then actually earning money doing it. Of course, at times there’s also a lot of blind stubbornness too.

Stubborn Enough to Keep Doing What I Love

I thank goodness for the stubbornness that always drove my parents nuts. Without it, I’d have given up https://www.flickr.com/photos/carbonnyc/6144729060/in/photolist-3sXiiN-79cUTk-6VaBVG-GUsXeK-qnCm5H-d5XpoC-5Tvsgb-7x7Jhw-amZkSu-pXsfKM-5TopvB-5MF2XZ-dnqeiB-9C31Yv-28ku7Rg-9m5Cts-omGCDC-5T4qn7-e2xNUC-mfCeZT-6RVoAh-a3P2f7-urpka-nKtZgr-8LFLux-dsSyjE-9AzNx5-W4TpQJ-xXPgS-brRoHe-9T2kCn-edcZ3H-a4dWNc-2Frv8v-sBJeM-5MGjKv-5cGQ25-gMdeqC-bzzgF5-4zDj55-4Uaf26-91q2wz-GPmaw-6uvJCp-7viqdV-7YKDTv-6T4oiL-7g2xCc-MKA7BD-gg9bcdlong before I’d used up a lot of financial resources. But that stubbornness told me I was going to make a go of being a writer, come hell or high water, and I have to say, the water has gotten pretty high at times.

Instead of allowing myself to drift with the current, I’ve continued to reinvent myself until I found something that began to work. I learned a lot of things along the way.

  • What I love to do
  • What I hate to do
  • What I’ll tolerate doing until I can outsource it
  • What I do well
  • What I don’t do well
  • How to write better and faster
  • How to help others with my writing

Committing to Myself

Created with CanvaI took a few courses and dropped most of them. I talked to coaches, but only hired one after several years of muddling along by myself. I learned to set myself deadlines, and to treat commitments to myself as at least as important as the ones I made for others. I set schedules for myself:

  • For gym visits
  • For self-care
  • For posting to my blog (and later refined that even further)
  • For dancing more often
  • For expanding my social life

That last is more important than it sounds since I learned that outright selling isn’t my thing. I have a hard time promoting myself. What I can do, and which helps my writing immensely is to listen to other peoples’ stories. I’m still working on listening more and talking less so I get more of their story and less of my interpretation. It’s one of the skills I’m learning to hone as it makes me a better writer and ghostwriter.

More than once in even the last 24 hours, I’ve stopped myself from interjecting. I read recently we listen to respond rather than listening to understand. I’m working on shifting the practice in myself. There are so many interesting stories out there waiting to be told, and 99.9% of them aren’t mine.

Part of learning to listen to understand is tied directly into living in the moment and disallowing any petty irritants. It’s still a work in progress, but isn’t that what makes life interesting?

Need Help Getting Organized?

Are you struggling to keep all of your entrepreneurial balls in the air? Is lack of time getting in the way of committing to yourself? 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!

Making Time for Gratitude

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m grateful I’ve taught myself to respond to the alarm clock, no matter how early I have to set it.
  2. I’m grateful for earbuds and Pandora so I can create an island of serenity in a crowded place and get some work done,.
  3. I’m grateful for a general understanding that earbuds mean “please don’t try to engage me in conversation”. I might seem antisocial to some, but like everything else, there’s a time and a place.
  4. I’m grateful for inspiration which doesn’t let me down as long as I put fingers on the keys or pen to paper on a regular basis.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance; quiet places, solitude, friendship, commitment, collaboration, opportunities, joy, love, peace, harmony, health, comfortable clothes, beautiful days, friendly people in difficult situations, philanthropy, and prosperity.

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

6 Things I’m Doing to Increase Productivity

The Time Has Come to Dig My Way Out of This Hole

Sometimes, we get ourselves into a rut; doing the same things at the same time on the same day, week after week. We end up in a rut which affects all parts of our lives, and often, we don’t even recognize it. In the last couple of weeks, I realized I’d hit that point and needed to take some drastic steps to re-invigorate my motivation. Here are just a few of the changes I’m making.

Change 1: Change it Up

Since part of the rut was just in the routine, I looked at doing some of the usual things like exercising at different times of day. Instead of doing it right after I get up and feed the cats every day, I’m moving it around. Sometimes, I’ll do it right after breakfast, others, later in the afternoon. My brain is no longer expecting it and will not be able to adjust to a particular time and schedule.

Change 2: Making Meditations More Proactive

I decided to test-drive John Assaraf’s “Winning the Game of Money” program. I say test-drive because, for now, I remain skeptical that it will teach me to make significant changes in the way I approach my writing and making a living, but I’m also keeping the door open to the possibility that it will. As he has a 30-day money back guarantee, I’m going to give it the full 30 days before deciding whether to continue. After only 4 days, I can say that it has opened my eyes to, well, opening my eyes. I admit that there are opportunities staring me in the face that I’m just not seeing right now. As the main component of the program is a 30 minute guided meditation which can be done once a day or more if you like, I’m using it instead of my usual hour-long, silent meditation. The one thing I’ve noticed after only 4 days is that the cats are becoming active participants. Pyewacket, in particular, feels the need to lie on top of my head or climb all over me through the entire recording. I’m also feeling more alert, more positive and more energetic. I can certainly appreciate these benefits and use them to my advantage!

Change 3: Enjoying my Own Company

I’ve been spending more than the usual amount of time out in public lately, between doctor visits, errands, and physical therapy. It’s given me a bad case of human overload. Since I crave a certain amount of alone time, I gave myself three full days of nothing but me and the cats. Half-way through Day 2, I was feeling absolutely wonderful! Then, while doing chores I was visited by a very friendly pit bull puppy, and, better still, an old friend I haven’t gotten to visit with in awhile!

Change 4: A Dance Hiatus.

As you might have read, I had a bit of a meltdown the last time I went dancing. I lost the ability to, as I like to say “leave my shit at the door”, and behaved rather badly. Though I have tendered an apology to the injured parties, I am not ready to return to that environment right now. I’ll go back when my daughter is in town, but have no real pressing urge to do so any sooner. I do miss seeing my friends, but I know they understand and will welcome me back when I’m ready.

Change 5: Setting Deadlines

I have done very little work on any of my novels lately. It’s becoming terminal and I finally decided to switch from working on my 2015 NaNo to going back to the one I wrote in 2013. I tried to finish the latest revision by October 31, but came up about 50 pages or so short. So far, I’ve managed to get another chapter revised, but now, I’m committing to 20 pages per week. It may not sound like much, but revising takes a whole lot longer than writing a draft, as I’ve learned to my frustration. I read today that writers procrastinate because we work better under pressure, and saw myself in that slightly tarnished mirror.

Change 6: Getting More Regular

I used to be really good about writing blog posts several times a week, but in the last few months, I’ve really let my readers down. My goal for now is 3 posts a week, but I can certainly do more if I just plant my tushie in the chair and start writing. I’m hoping the WTGoM program will inspire me to write more and give me things to write about as well. Stay tuned to see how well I do on this one.

Keeping it Simple For Now

The only thing missing from this plan is a more intense exercise plan, but until my neck and shoulder are in better shape, I’m going to leave most of that to my Physical Therapist. She kicked my butt today and I came away feeling a bit battered, but I’d rather she pushes me so I’ll get better more quickly.

At this point, there’s nothing left to do but give you tonight’s gratitudes.
1. I am grateful for support groups. There are many people out there who share interests with me and both cheering their successes and giving each other moral support makes what could be a very lonely journey something uniquely companionable.
2. I am grateful for life’s synchronicities. Just when I feel like I’m making no progress, something happens to assure me I am.
3. I am grateful for beautiful, sunshiny days and emerald green grass. The rains have made our air clearer and allowed the drought-murdered lawns and hillsides to thrive. Even my daffodils are turning their faces to the sun to smile radiantly.
4. I am grateful for my daughter. We don’t always agree and we can really frustrate each other, but there’s a love and a bond we share that nobody can ever break.
5. I am grateful for abundance: love, support, inspiration, butt kicking, brainstorming, connections, friendship, family, health, harmony, peace, philanthropy and prosperity.

Blessed Be

I invite you to visit my Facebook pages, Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author and HLWT Accounting. Please also drop by my website, www.shericonaway.com and check out my Hire Me Page. I’ve created these pages as a means of positive affirmation and would be very grateful if you’d “like” them or leave a comment! Thank you!

July 22, 2015 10 Things to Do While Waiting on Hold for Hours

Finding Productivity in Strange Places

I love computers. I really do. They’ve simplified my life in so many ways, but there are times… Today, I made the second call in three months to get a copy of my life insurance policy. What ensued was three hours of being passed back and forth between two departments, conference calls with the insurance company who, according to them “only handles the billings” and even the predecessor company. Yet the answer from them all was the same: We’re very sorry, but we can’t find you in the computer.

This is exactly why so many of us have developed a serious love/hate relationship with our electronics. We know that at some point they will fail us. To add insult to injury, while waiting on hold for yet another department at the insurance company, the call failed! Thankfully, I’d gotten the phone number before being put on hold number 97.

I am not one to sit idly for hours on end. In fact, being forced to do so gives me the twitches and sends my ADHD into paroxysms bearing a nasty resemblance to seizures, thankfully, sans loss of control or writhing on the floor. Instead, I simply cannot sit still. The cell phone and bluetooth headset have saved my sanity more than once.

Today was no exception, but I was able to put my proclivities to good use for a change, and that’s where the idea for this post blossomed. Without further ado, here are 10 things to do while being put on hold, transferred and otherwise thwarted:

  • 1. Pull everything out of the closet while searching vainly for 20-year-old documents, only to find the Miracle Balls I was looking for two weeks ago.
  • 2. File 3 months worth of investment documents.
  • 3. Scoop the litter boxes.
  • 4. Retrieve the snail mail.
  • 5. Clean and cut a pound of green beans.
  • 6. Fold a load of towels.
  • 7. Do a weight workout.
  • 8. Answer emails.
  • 9. Brush two cats.
  • 10. Manage to hold my temper despite being asked to verify my identity every time the another person was brought into the conversation.

Original Mission: Not Accomplished

Though I failed to actually achieve the results I desired, I actually got more than I bargained for. I have to wait a couple of days to see if one of the people I called is able to locate my ancient records in another department, but in the meantime, I have drafted a scathing letter to MetLife requesting immediate resolution to my problem either by locating the exact department for whom they’ve been collecting (and raising) my premiums for the past 20 years, or a refund of all funds they’ve collected since nobody would have been able to access my policy given what I learned today. I’m not a patient person as a rule, and of all the people I spoke to today, MetLife employees were the least helpful of all, clearly not giving a damn about the people they suck money from. By the time I’d spent over three hours on the phone, fueled only by a cup of coffee and a carton of yogurt, they had used up at least a year’s worth of my quota of patience, and will see that dam burst rather impressively should Boeing fail to locate the records by Friday.

I am happy to report that the positive results of so much forced idleness were enough to keep the eruption at bay for the moment. Though the Miracle Balls are somewhat deflated and I have to wait a few days to find out just how much is in my pension account and how it can be paid out, I feel that, overall, I received far more than I still lack. I also learned a valuable lesson about keeping my overly sensitive BS meter happy.

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful that I learned about funds I’d forgotten even existed.
2. I am grateful for all the tasks I accomplished instead of sitting and staring at the wall.
3. I am grateful for the motivating phone call and butt kicking I got from a dear friend today. She gave me a lot to think about and a much-needed deadline to meet. Now to just conquer those pesky fears and get on with it.
4. I am grateful for the calming influence of my cats who stayed very close all day today.
5. I am grateful for abundance: love, friendship, cheerleading, inspiration, motivation, health, harmony, peace, prosperity and philanthropy.

Blessed Be

I’d appreciate your taking a moment to visit my Facebook pages at https://www.facebook.com/SheriLevensteinConawayAuthor?ref=aymt_homepage_panel and https://www.facebook.com/HLWTAccounting . Please also drop by my website, http://www.shericonaway.com and check out my Hire Me Page. I’ve created these pages as a means of positive affirmation and would be very grateful if you’d “like” them or leave a comment! Thank you!

May 25, 2015 Going With the Flow of the Heart

Sometimes, You Just Need to Let Your Intuition Lead the Way

Today is not going as planned. I look at those words I just typed and think Boy, is that an understatement! My schedule for today was as follows:

  • Gym-Legs
  • Pitches
  • Meditate
  • Write Posts for BlogMutt
  • Dance at BL (Maybe)

I’ve already reconciled myself to the fact that item one has been moved to tomorrow. I tried something different today and did my meditation when I woke up…or should I say I tried to do my meditation when I woke up since Miss Munchkin chose that period of time to use my chest as a trampoline. I can only be grateful that it was the 8 pound cat rather than the 20 pound cat who required gymnastic practice this morning.

As for items two and four, well, let’s just say I gave them the old college try, but ran into issues. I perused the website for the company I’d planned to cold pitch but it just left me cold. No ideas, no inspiration…nothing. I looked at several others in the same Google search with similar results. Thinking I might just need a change of scene, I moved over to BlogMutt to try to find something to write about. Sadly, I ran out of steam before anything really caught my attention, though I am still reviewing one client’s website for inspiration.

Turning back to Facebook (believe it or not, I get a lot of my ideas from pages I’m following) I read a couple of posts shared by friends and one from Spirit Science. Though it didn’t trigger anything marketable, it made me see some things in a new light.

Seeing Immediate Success in Changes for the Better

As I read the article from Spirit Science entitled “What Science is Telling Us About the Heart’s Intuitive Intelligence”, I began to see how my recent actions to give myself a schedule were actually already yielding positive results.

I am no longer getting up in the morning and futzing around on social media for hours. I’m jumping into something productive, even if it is simply reading articles or reviewing websites for possible pitches. Even better, when I wandered into the kitchen looking for lunch, I followed my typical route, looking for something easy. But here’s the difference. Instead of pulling a frozen pizza or veggie lasagna out of the freezer, I pulled kale, a beet, fresh fruit and yogurt and threw together a smoothie. Strangely, it never occurred to me that the time to do so was less than the pizza or lasagna, and aside from a couple more dishes to wash, it’s actually easier! My old mindset kept telling me that it would take too long and be too much effort. I’m also ensuring that a fresh veggie or a salad accompanies any meal with meat, rice or pasta.

I, myself am a prime example of how small changes can have effects far greater than we might realize. Is this the Universe nudging me to take those baby steps? Maybe…likely…probably. I’ve gotten so used to the butt-kicking, head-slapping nudges that the subtle ones which feel like they were my own idea are quite the novel concept.

National Holiday or no, I Need to See Evidence of Productivity

As a freelancer or solopreneur, I don’t have a typical work schedule. Sure, I’m trying to give myself a framework now, but that does not mean I will ever return to the stereotypical nine to five. The very idea makes my gut clench. What it means instead is that time of day or day of the week or even national holiday is no excuse for spending the entire day napping or lollygagging. I try to only allow myself one day in 10, and often 12 or 14 to really just futz around and do nothing constructive. I see that happening less and less frequently as I get more into my schedules, my workouts and my writing.

The energy drain I’d been experiencing seems less and less apparent now. It’s as if I needed to restate my life’s purpose and then just get moving. Though I might not be following the schedule, per se, I find myself anxious to start working on revisions for Frederick the Gentlemouse. Since that is where my creative side wants to go, I see no reason to avoid indulging it (after I finish this post which insisted on being written now! of course). My heart (interesting that I read the Spirit Science article which I previously referenced today) is clearly taking the tentative daily structure and tweaking it to fit its own desires and ambitions. Who am I to argue with whatever makes my heart happy as, if the heart is happy, the brain and the creativity are also happy!

Listen to Your Heart and Find Your Happy

What I’m trying to say in my usual 10,000-words-or-more, rambling kind of way is that though our lives need some kind of basic structure or framework. Once we find something that works, our best option is to step back and allow our hearts to lead the way. Look at it like this: The beating of our heart is what gives us life. Our heart is our healing center (think Heart Chakra). The energy from our heart, when we are in a positive, loving, joyful place has the potential to heal not only our own ills, but also the ills of other people, animals, plants, and Mother Earth herself. Individually, the impact might be small, but imagine the impact of a thousand positive, loving hearts…a million…a trillion. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that most of us wish for peace on earth. I believe we can achieve it, one loving heart at a time. How many lives will you touch? How many hearts can you heal today? How many healed hearts will heal more hearts tomorrow? Wrap your head around that if you can.

My gratitudes today are:
1. I am grateful for the things people share on social media to inspire us.
2. I am grateful for the positive changes I’m making in my own life, and hope they will inspire others to also make changes to improve their lives.
3. I am grateful for the opportunity to increase the vibration on our planet in this human lifetime.
4. I am grateful for the lessons I learn from animals about love and acceptance.
5. I am grateful for abundance: the flow of inspiration, blessings, positive energy, changes which become evolution, love, joy, harmony, peace, energy, health, prosperity and philanthropy.

Blessed Be

And now for some shameless self-promotion:
I’d love it if you’d visit my Facebook pages at https://www.facebook.com/SheriLevensteinConawayAuthor?ref=aymt_homepage_panel and https://www.facebook.com/HLWTAccounting. If you get a minute, please also drop by my website, www.shericonaway.com and check out my Hire Me Page. I’ve created these pages as a means of positive affirmation and would be very grateful if you’d “like” them or leave a comment! Thank you!

May 21, 2015 Making a Plan for Productivity

Figuring Out How to Stop Going Nowhere Fast

In the last few months, I’ve felt like I was floundering. My productivity, at least from my perspective, has been ominously close to zero. I have too many days when I just fart around, doing little of value.

Fortunately, I’ve joined several groups on Facebook, and connected with a few people who provide, not only inspiration, but motivation. One such group is The Careful Cents Club, a group for freelancers which was created by the lovely and talented Carrie Nicholson. In fact, this is where I met Gina Horkey who created a course I recently took and who has been both coach and cheerleader as I meander into the world of freelance blogging.

Making a Plan to Motivate

It was a discussion in The Careful Cents Club today which made me finally realize what the real problem was. It wasn’t lack of motivation, because when I have things to do, I’m very focused. Instead, it was the lack of a plan. I was letting my days just wind out however they chose, with no direction or purpose to guide me. To say this method was an epic fail is to sugar coat the truth. I’d lost any kind of edge I might have once possessed, and the time had come to get it back.

It was MG’s post today stating that because Gina had held her accountable, she’d landed a job, which finally made me clear the fog which had inhabited my brain. Not only had she landed a job, it had only taken a couple of days for it to happen! I began to wonder. What could I achieve if I found a way to hold myself accountable? My earnings from freelance blogging have been hit or miss at best, and have a long way to go before they reach the $100 mark, much less the aggressive goal I made to earn $4000 a month by September! Since the books and the blog posts aren’t going to write themselves, I needed both a plan and a schedule, as well as set times for going to the gym, completing accounting work for clients and even meditating,

And while I’m on the subject of meditating, that is where I’d really been taking advantage of myself, and losing sight of everything that matters. My meditations lately had become two and three hour indulgences which left my sleepy and lazy for the rest of the day. I’d start out meditating and end up napping for hours with a cat or two snuggled on my lap or beside me.

So, here’s the plan for the next week.
1. I will schedule each day out, loosely but with definite goals. I’ve started slowly with Friday and Saturday.
2. I will limit my meditations to one hour, and set a timer so I don’t go over. I did this today and came out of my meditation refreshed instead of sleepy.
3. I will set myself goals; small at first so I see immediate results, but increasingly difficult as those small wins pile up.
4. I will strive to get up no later than 8:30 every day and go to bed no later than 2:00AM.
5. I will schedule three gym visits per week, and plan them for earlier in the day than has been my wont.

Contrary to my old ways, I’m limiting this list to five items for now as I believe this project requires baby steps to get it moving. In order to hold myself accountable, I will post my progress in this blog on a daily basis.

Let the productivity begin!

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful to Carrie and Gina and the rest of the Careful Cents Club for helping me see where my productivity issues lie.
2. I am grateful that my daughter is on the mend, my cats are less stressed and I’m working myself back into a productive routine.
3. I am grateful that my productivity plan is already working, since I limited my meditation/nap time and am posting in my blog tonight.
4. I am grateful that I’m giving myself more opportunities to write and create while still being a responsible adult.
5. I am grateful for abundance: joy, love, productivity, inspiration, motivation, harmony, peace, health, prosperity and philanthropy.

Blessed Be

March 6, 2015 One woman’s lazy is another’s productive

Today felt like a really lazy day

I got up this morning, a bit earlier than normal and felt like I was moving so slowly. I fed the cats, got my yogurt and coffee and sat down to check my blog, email and Facebook page. Pretty much a normal day. And yet… I managed to evade the promise I’d made to myself to go to the gym today.

Meanwhile, back in the kitchen.

Wednesday, I took the four quarts of turkey stock left over from Thanksgiving out of the freezer to defrost. By yesterday morning, they were nearly liquid again so I moved them to the refrigerator. However, as the Queen of Baking is here again, this time to make a Hobbit hole wedding cake (gluten free, of course!), I had to give up a large portion of my refrigerator to her project, thus forcing me to dive into my own whether I was ready or not.

You might recall that I set out to refill my freezer last week as it had begun to like like a barren frozen wasteland. This is a bad thing on two levels. First, the cupboard is bare, but more importantly, it results in my grabbing a bite to eat from Subway or Baja Fresh instead of eating my own healthy, portion controlled meals. Though the realistic side of me knows that no matter how good I am, I will not be fitting into the size 12 black taffeta skirt by April 17th that does not mean I can’t follow healthy habits so I have more energy and simply feel better. So, today was turkey stewp day, and I had to fit it in between Heather’s work on the cake, though at one point, we actually managed to share the kitchen, she to carve and me to chop. Turkey Stewp 3-6-15

At the end of the day, she had created yet another masterpiece and I had turned four quarts of turkey stock, six pounds of turkey and a plethora of vegetables (I just love the word “plethora”. It’s right up there with “cornucopia”!) into about twenty servings of soup.

From frozen wasteland to an exercise in Tetrissing

When added to last Full Freezer 3-6-15week’s batches of chili, stir fry and spaghetti squash, and this week’s spaghetti sauce, I now have the freezer of my dreams…and about a month’s worth of no cooking unless I really want to! I’ve also gone completely through my stock of single serving containers and a good way into the larger ones. I guess I’ll have to stop for a couple of weeks until those stacks go down!

Did the laziness end there?

You might think that several hours of chopping, cooking, storing and cleaning would be enough for one day, but I’m afraid there was more to be done. I needed Heather’s help to put up the white board I bought a couple of weeks ago, and tomorrow, we’ll be heading in different directions. By the time I get home from my critique group, she’ll probably be headed home so she can prepare for another of her insanely busy days on Sunday, so the white board had to go up today or wait until the next time she visits, which is about a month away. That simply would not do!

In all fairness, I was the fetcher and she did most of the work, but the end result is exactly like I envisioned, with the bookshelf below serving as a place to collect the appropriate supplies. (of course, Dylan has already been up there to check things out. Yet the file racks which previously occupied this space, rather messily, I might add, would have been far more interesting with papers and such hanging out. But no human living has ever truly been able to figure out a cat!)

Somewhere in the midst of it all, I had two pieces to critique for tomorrow (thankfully, I submitted one this time so my work load was reduced by a third). Though I received them Wednesday night, I had equal parts procrastination and spending time with my daughter to blame for waiting until what I felt was the last minute. Thankfully, our group leader sent critique forms for this week’s work which made the job a whole lot easier. I was able to just read the pieces, spend some time letting them meander through my brain, then fill in my thoughts in the appropriate places. All in all, I think it will make for a much better forum tomorrow.

With any luck, tomorrow’s post will feature a picture of the amazing Hobbit hole cake (or maybe even two if I can get Heather to send me a couple of different angles!)

For now, I will leave you with a shorter than average post and my gratitudes.
1. I am grateful for a full freezer.
2. I am grateful for some kitchen time with my daughter, reliving some very silly, happy memories.
3. I am grateful for my critique groups which are helping me to be a better writer.
4. I am grateful for how my office is slowly cleaning up and turning into a true writer’s den. (all accounting related accoutrements are safely stashed in drawers and cabinets when not in use, the better to keep me focused on writing related activities.)
5. I am grateful for abundance, love, support, lessons, discoveries, evolution, joy, inspiration, challenges, health, harmony, peace and prosperity. Spread it all around!

Blessed Be!

And now for some shameless self-promotion:
I’d love it if you’d visit my Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/SheriLevensteinConawayAuthor?ref=aymt_homepage_panel. I’ve created this page as a means of positive affirmation and would be very grateful if you’d “like” it or leave a comment! Thank you!

March 4, 2015 Does productivity yield more productivity?

Here’s another chicken and the egg question: Which comes first? Getting lots of things done or being productive?

Today jump started itself with a morning webinar about writing hosted by Holly Lisle, whose “How to Think Sideways” writing course I began a week or so ago. After that the day seemed to just take off like a stone rolling downhill. By the time the webinar ended, I was ready to dive into the project I’d planned for today; making a giant pot of spaghetti sauce to add to my burgeoning collection of meals, ready to eat in my freezer. I cooked up a spaghetti squash last week and froze it in single servings, but needed the sauce to go with it. As I received another spaghetti squash in this week’s Harvest Box, I’ll likely cook it up and add it to my collection as well. After adding the sauce to my freezer and removing the tubs of frozen turkey stock, I find myself wondering just how I’m going to manage to fit everything in, not to mention, I’m running low on single serving size containers. How can that be? I bought a ton of them for my last freezer filling rampage.  I feel a game of freezer Tetris coming on.

In the last week, my freezer has gone from nearly empty to full once again with chili, the aforementioned spaghetti squash and a spicy chicken stir fry as well as today’s saucy delight. Yet to be added, the stewp which will utilize the four containers of turkey broth from Thanksgiving plus a plethora of fresh veggies. Now that Underwood has re-opened its Moorpark stand, hopping over to restock my larder has become easier and quicker.

But wait! That’s only half of the day!

The doubters will say “Surely you jest. That sounds like a full day to me.” But I merely left you with the sauce simmering busily on the stove, comingling all of the lovely ingredients and spices into a cohesive, tummy tingling bouquet of yummyness. The nice thing about throwing together a pot of soup or chili or spaghetti sauce is that I can go about my business while my latest vat of freezer filler finishes making itself, not to mention how it fills the air inside my house with the most delicious aroma!  All that is left for me to do is package it up, label it, move it into the freezer and clean up. What could be easier?

But again, I digress. As I said, this only filled about half of the day, leaving me hours to work some more on my writing class which encourages me to write down any and all random thoughts that skip aimlessly through my brain. I now have six sheets of printer paper taped together with all sorts of random thoughts scattered across it, yet I know I’ll pick it up again over the next few days and randomize all over it some more, adding pages as I run out of room. Sure, there will come a time when I have to make sense of the seeming randomness, but right now, my brain is delighted to have permission to run amok to its heart’s desire.

What could be better than a well-rounded day?

Achieving the ultimate in perfection means having just the right balance, and finishing my day meeting with an accounting client did the job quite nicely. It gave me lessons to work on, creativity to unleash both in my office and my kitchen, a lot of logical brain stuff to chew on and a freezer full of food.

In fact, I’m so filled with the bliss my perfect day evoked that I’m actually at a loss for words. I realize this is a rare occurrence, so please enjoy my version of brevity tonight, and spread the joy I have exuded all over the page as I bliss out on productivity.

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful to be almost free of cooking for the next month.
2. I am grateful that the pudgy roll which resided on my posterior has miraculously disappeared and been replaced by lovely muscle. Those trips to the gym, even though they’re less frequent than I like, are certainly leaving their mark!
3. I am grateful for an extremely productive day and look forward to more as this week draws to a close.
4. I am grateful for another visit from my daughter and the installation of my white board. I already have things I want to attach!
5. I am grateful for so many new things to learn; technique, tools, corralling and coordinating all of my random thoughts and just motivation to write more and more and more.
6. I am grateful for abundance: lessons, meals-ready-to-eat (which aren’t ghastly like those dehydrated nasties), friends, activities, projects, processes, happiness, health, peace, harmony and prosperity.

Blessed Be

And now for some shameless self-promotion:
I’d love it if you’d visit my website at http://www.shericonaway.com which contains a link to this blog and my Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/SheriLevensteinConawayAuthor?ref=aymt_homepage_panel. I’ve created both page and website as a means of positive affirmation and would be very grateful if you’d “like” it or leave a comment! Thank you!

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