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Posts tagged ‘productivity’

Catching up with Technology a Tune at a Time

Technology, a Tune, and the Gym

When I first joined a gym, music was delivered via a portable CD player and corded headphones. It wasn’t optimal as you had to be careful not to jostle the player or the CD would skip.

Over he years, I’ve evolved from the CD player to a variety of MP3 players, and finally to Pandora on my iPhone. Typically a little behind the times, I finally ditched the cord stuffed down my shirt and into the pocket with my phone and graduated to cordless Bluetooth headphones.

The first time I used them I asked myself “what took you so long?”. Not only is it easier to work out without having to worry about where the cord is hanging, but the sound quality and noise cancellation, even from an inexpensive set is light years beyond the standard set that comes with the phone.

Sure, I have to remember to charge the things, but my kleptomania cat, Pyewacket has made that easier. He can’t steal them if they’re plugged in. Granted, I’ve spoiled his fun a little, but he’s yet to run out of things to steal off my desk, dresser, and nightstand. He might have to be a bit more creative these days though.

Music for Focus

Music is and always has been a huge part of my life, though not so much making it as listening or moving to it. I typically have it playing in the background while I work. It doesn’t matter if I’m writing, editing, or doing accounting work. I need the music to keep me focused.

At the gym, it helps keep me focused, but also acts as a deterrent to other people there. With the plugs in my ears, they’re less likely to try and engage me in conversation. I know that sounds bitchy, but I consider my gym time to be much like my daily meditations and walks. It’s me time I don’t care to share with anyone.

What I mean is, I use my gym time to connect with myself. Maybe not in the same way as when I walk or meditate. While working out I have to pay attention to what machine or set of free weights I’m using, how many reps and sets I’ve done, and ensuring I’m using the right muscles. Sure, there are spaces of time between sets and when I switch stations, but often I use them to work on a piece of my writing.

Sometimes it’s a new blog post, others, it’s a tricky part in one of my books that didn’t want to flow properly. The combination of music in my ears and pushing my body to its limits is often a boost to my creative side, though don’t ask me why.

 A Late Bloomer to the Value of Music

Unlike my daughters, I didn’t discover how much music could help me focus until I was an adult. Then again, I didn’t have all the options available today, or even in the last 20 years for taking my music with me. Even the days of the Walkman or portable CD player involved dragging a couple of CD’s or tapes with me unless I wanted to listen to the same thing over and over.

Once I was able to connect to a music site like Pandora or Spotify, it not only simplified how I obtained my music, but gave me variety that wasn’t available with a tape or CD, without having to download music onto my own device.

Ultimately I realized I worked better with music whether in my home office or someone else’s. I was fortunate to have a private office in my last job where I could play music through my computer as long as I kept the volume at a reasonable level.

Music for Productivity

It’s funny though. Now that I am in a home office where there’s no one around to Created with Canvadisturb, I still find keeping the music at a low volume is most conducive to productivity. I’ve learned it isn’t really about the volume, or drowning anything out. It’s about having background noise so I can focus on what I need to do for longer stretches of time before getting twitchy and needing outside stimulus.

By the time my daughters came along with some of the same mental monkeys playing havoc with their concentration, I’d learned background music was the solution, and made sure they had access to it while they studied or worked.

As much as I hate housework, it’s a lot easier to get it done with Blood, Sweat, and Tears or Chicago playing in my ears and drowning out the vacuum! If it makes something I dislike doing tolerable, imagine what it’s doing for the ones I love to do. I know my writing sessions are longer with music playing in the background. I can stay put long enough to set up a month’s worth of Medium posts, bopping along to the Beatles, or another band from the 60’s and 70’s.

The Right Background Music for the Task at Hand

https://www.flickr.com/photos/willfolsom/7094471059/in/photolist-bNV25x-77UPSv-9tPRui-hY52Y-5RfP97-8iBJzZ-ffSKCZ-89DTEp-8MafAw-89DSMe-89H9JG-7fSeqV-dTPXDT-89H8x1-hQZfKq-89H7TY-89DT2i-89Hai7-63Qh4E-pnSKC-89H88L-vRpUr-89DUdH-89DTLt-9oEVmR-2w7XP-7gdck-5SNtVn-gtXnSa-aq8Vdg-5jK3c7-5FXzrT-9cNBdK-7iEieU-oK2nBU-7EKFFz-qz7Go-26Ys1Bk-5oFzFx-6upwHg-5uHBB8-6djGap-9NsAVB-2HW8-ohgAFe-7EKFAc-4BwGJp-29aXGWZ-nM4w1N-4gzvmcYou might think it’s nostalgia that caused me to set up both a “Blood, Sweat and Tears” station and a “Simon and Garfunkel” station on my Pandora account. The truth is, their music continues to inspire and uplift me today. Perhaps it’s the poetry in the lyrics, or the way you can hear each instrument and voice adding it’s piece to the song.

Perhaps it’s words I can relate to. But I don’t try to analyze or explain it beyond saying I like what I like.

What I know for sure is having the tunes playing in my ears is responsible for keeping me going to the gym 3 times a week, for helping me schedule a month’s worth of posts on Medium in advance, and for days when I write 2 blog posts, or several thousand words on one of my books. It clearly works for me, so I’m not about to mess with a good thing.

A Word for the Ones Who Prefer Silence

I’m aware some people work best in complete silence, and I respect that. We are, after all, unique unto ourselves. I can say working in complete silence, except on rare occasions drives me bonkers. In fact, when it is completely silent in my office, I’m usually talking a blue streak to myself or the cats, just to break the silence.

There is one place I’ve found I work best without music, but if I’m honest, there’s music, just not from a mechanical or electronic source. Every morning, I take about a 20-minute walk. I leave my headphones home, and though I carry my phone in case of emergency, it remains in my pocket, a silent weight reminding me I can get help if I need it (though thankfully, it’s unlikely).

Sounds of the Neighborhood are Their Own Music

https://www.flickr.com/photos/mikecogh/8225835927/in/photolist-dwTyrn-a3ks33-9mvXys-6ja1gb-9yrH2G-nDdzvx-XUYUcB-5mVAik-aGc4QM-rcaJkB-te2rAP-a7Uq98-3dzbhp-GAf1t-n7eEii-SdF6ND-NpW4QT-Nn4EE7-Q1PXro-6GmuAj-Nb8fd-aGc4LK-5rvjUB-9G5iLz-dViNns-47qcTR-8gCJx7-53s2we-8Amcx2-651TAL-e3ogb6-3Sf9H3-23Jx66D-4beknX-477UHP-Nb8cA-61cxQD-7htzF3-e3tWNL-58nCxm-e3ogk4-27FNZKJ-9NHU1S-i23hC-8Rg5Yu-5tzpF9-CvzijW-Ck2RtR-28aTBt3-MweagTInstead, I have either the cacophony of my own thoughts keeping me company, or better still, birdsong. There’s also the whoosh and whirr of people in their cars heading for work, school, or errands when I’m walking along one of the main streets, and the barking of the neighbors’ dogs as they announce the presence of someone disturbing their morning nap, or alerting their owner to a possible intruder.

Occasionally, I’ll encounter other people enjoying the quiet time in the morning when most people have already gone off to work or school. The heat of the day hasn’t yet driven them inside but it’s early for kids to be running around in the park, their laughter a cheerful counterpoint to the chirping and barking.

I love listening to the sounds of the day in the few minutes I’m out walking. I’ve even made a game of trying to get out early enough so I’ll be through the park before a train blasts through, wheels clacking on the rails and whistle piercing the air to warn people to keep the intersection clear while it passes. Even this is me time when I’m free to think my thoughts or not, move my body and get it primed for the day ahead, and practice “Being” instead of “Doing”.

Your Turn to Weigh In

What works for you when you’re diving into the day’s tasks? Do you get the chores out of the way first so you can do the things you later? Do you mix them up? Do you work in silence or does music play a major part in your productivity? If so, do you like it loud and raucous? Soft and dreamy? Jazzy? A mix? How do you get your engine primed and operating at peak performance? You are unique, so what works for you should be as well. Please share in the comments.

Gratitude Infiltrates Everything I Do

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m grateful for music (guess that one would be obvious from the post), and how delivery has become simpler over the years.
  2. I’m grateful for me time when I can do or not, but mostly be.
  3. I’m grateful for the technology that gives me choices, variety, and simplification.
  4. I’m grateful for the productivity I enjoy when I have music to motivate me.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance; love, productivity, joy, friendship, dancing, kitty love, a stress-free life, music, incentives, opportunities, health, harmony, peace, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

 

About the Author

Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, ghostwriter, and an advocate for cats and mental health. 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

Time for Change Again

Riding the Winds of Change

created with CanvaI’m feeling somewhat alienated lately. Friends I once hung out with, laughing and carefree now gravitate towards others who share their need to frequently vocalize dissatisfaction with their lives, or conflicts with others. I want no part of it and as a result I find myself once again on the outside looking in.

Overall it’s a good thing. I’d rather steer clear of the whining and complaining. Perhaps things will shift and the negativity will run its course. Meanwhile, I’ll either have to find others to hang with until this cycle peters out, or revert to my normal, isolationist patterns.

Don’t get me wrong. I have no issue with friends needing to vent their spleen, and to find others who share their current mindset. There are times I’ve needed to do so myself, and am grateful people put up with me while I did. Right now, I know if I stayed there too long I’d start absorbing the negative energy and find fault instead of joy with my own life. Though I enjoy having a pack to run with, I’m OK being a lone wolf for awhile too. Perhaps I’m being pushed into being alone so I can spend more time working on my projects and business. I’ve always believed things happen for a reason

To Everything There’s a Time; a Season

A friend recently pointed out I have my own cycles. Sometimes I simply need a https://www.flickr.com/photos/sermoa/7289177616/in/photolist-c77Wy9-r361B6-7UmPsp-XGAjhz-64e9v7-2aA91KA-dgqyUQ-45XqnC-9QJ7eT-9QN5fS-sHuD2X-eYWQtB-fbDKCi-RX57Dd-21GaQYp-ap2UBy-2cqyUd9-4BaZUn-XR9iq1-649VdX-GEVNFE-37rTTS-8GD4Ct-21M2mrm-8PB966-kzYvK4-6Vje9y-4Hq3oP-izzeb3-ouihv3-NiJYj7-bua5Bm-iRQDZe-jpV8mm-gJX2L-R36JFv-23NUNNG-2cw7Nyt-2a4658R-npfQy2-RZFcen-M2YpLg-STMqAt-WKMNmd-29UnKjq-owijzY-f4WJBJ-96ELMg-p9Cein-T8HccTlong stretch of alone time. Nothing is wrong. I need to be alone to do some self care and work on me for a little while without distraction or interruption. It could be I’ve waited too long to indulge my inner hermit.

She must be indulged even if it’s simply a matter of taking a few days to lay low and get things done. Doing multiple loads of bedding has even crept into my dreams. It’s a not-so-subtle reminder I need to wash the sheets and comforters from both beds which usually requires 3-4 loads. I need to get caught up on blog posts again and schedule another month’s worth of posts for Medium. I also have to finish compiling blog posts for my opt-in E-book.

That doesn’t even take into consideration the rewrite I’ve had hanging over my head for a couple of months. Clearly, disenchantment with the energy the people around me are exuding means it’s time I got myself organized, which requires alone time. Either I make it for myself or the Universe makes it for me.

A Time to Build My Network, and a Time to Do the Work

I’ve learned we all have cycles we go through; ups and downs, highs and lows. I know I need time to indulge my social side, and time to be alone with my thoughts, dreams, and hopes. Times to look deep inside myself and decide which of the many paths laid out before me I want to take, and what I’ll have to do to make it happen.

Lately, I’ve given those hopes and dreams short shrift. I’ve done the easy stuff like writing blog posts (easy for me, anyway), and setting up posts for Medium. I’ve shirked the tougher stuff like putting together the E-book or starting to re-write my memoir.

The truth is, I only hurt myself when I take the easy road. Pushing the big dreams into a corner while I essentially play games with myself is cruel and unkind. I deserve better. Perhaps that’s why I’m so sensitive to my friends’ complaints. Except I know I have no one to blame but myself.

Nobody is turning my attention away from what’s important but me. No one is criticizing me, or throwing obstacles in my path. There’s nobody to suck my energy except my old fiend, procrastination.

Re-Focusing My Energy

It doesn’t mean I haven’t been taking care of business. The new web pages went live recently, and are performing well. I made doctor’s appointments I’d been putting off. I’ve made and consumed 2 batches of gazpacho, and have the ingredients for several other batch meals with which to re-fill my freezer.

Again, those are the easy things; the stuff I do without thinking about it. Some of it is actually therapeutic. In fact, I’m getting more exercise these days too! All good things, and I can’t complain. And yet, I know I can do better; accomplish more.

It all starts with a single step in the right direction. Maybe distancing myself from people who need to air their grievances, no matter how valid, is exactly what I need to do right now. Again, it’s no reflection on others, but a reminder I need to keep working on myself, even if that means more alone time than I’ve taken recently.

Turning Sloth into Productivity

https://www.flickr.com/photos/jessicamullen/15936340893/in/photolist-qheUWa-6tvCyC-mfcahW-kF42vg-7aHRKn-dozSYs-upc1JR-5nU36i-6ZX1X8-9soFsZ-b6p5F2-dKgSFh-9soP3r-9GGyf-edzaxy-dKgQLq-4oLacT-9z49UC-aBS6db-kF5mTy-dbhFbp-83VBDF-JGdSxG-dKgR3q-dKbnZX-kF3i5M-kF2WWF-25sqyfg-kF3het-dKgU63-7121pw-dKbnLT-6ZXghB-7aMFFo-6ZXfye-a6G8a6-26PQPAR-ceZ3mw-7aF5cr-7aHRUn-kF3FwP-dKboVp-dKbj4F-3jqo8-dKbmgk-kF5cCu-dKgPvE-edzags-dKbjKc-dKbjtVMore important is to use my alone time wisely. Too many Hallmark movies and evenings spent parked on the couch are starting to turn my brain to mush. Though my cats love the extended cuddle time, it isn’t going to benefit any of us in the long run.

I guess I need to step back and re-set every so often, re-evaluating my priorities, and reminding myself to keep the goals front and center. It doesn’t mean putting in an endless stream of 18-hour days (unless the muse strikes and I become oblivious to the passage of time). Those days and that mentality are behind me.

It does mean putting my butt down in front of the computer, my fingers on the keyboard, and doing the writing and revisions I’ve committed to doingfor no one else but me. It means giving my business the attention and effort it deserves instead of haring off on the next adventure in People-land. There’s a reason I can only handle so much people-ing before I need to disappear into my turtle shell for some R and R.

Once again, I am detaching for my own sake. People and places will still be there when I resurface, and I’ll appreciate them more for my absence, and for the time I take to move closer to my dreams. If some of them have moved on by the time I resurface, I’ll know it was a necessary migration for all concerned. It wouldn’t be the first time I changed my social environment, and it certainly won’t be the last.

Living for the Adventure and Wonder of a New Day

I’ve learned the only certainty in life is change, so I might as well embrace it. Fighting change only exhausts me. Swimming upstream may have been my pattern for awhile, but it doesn’t mean I ever got very far doing it. Give me a canoe floating down a lazy river instead. I’ll enjoy the scenery instead of fighting a losing battle to go back where I came from. If it had anything to offer me in the future, I wouldn’t have moved on in the first place.

Do You Need to Shake Things Up So You Can Bring Your Dreams Closer?

Are you trying to do everything, yet falling farther behind? Are you doing too much of what you hate and not enough of what you love, because you feel pressured? 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!

 

Seeing Each Day’s Wonder Leads to Gratitude

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m grateful for friendships and activities which fueled me, but are no longer the fuel I need to move forward.
  2. I’m grateful I’m ready to follow some of the changes that have been clamoring at my door.
  3. I’m grateful for my ability to be happy in my own company.
  4. I’m grateful I’m learning to put myself first and to accept that I have a right to expect commitment to myself before anyone else.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance; love, friendship, possibilities, opportunities, losses, growth, space, motivation, self-sufficiency, peace, health, harmony, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

 

About the Author

Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, ghostwriter, and an advocate for cats, and mental health. 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

September 13, 2015 Blame it on the Moon

Under the Bottom Unproductivity

The last couple of days have seen me at new lows for productivity. I just can’t seem to get myself to focus on anything for more than about 5 minutes, and that includes eating. I kid you not when I say that it took me two hours to eat a single enchilada.

I don’t lack for tasks or even deadlines. What I lack is energy and motivation. I suspect the first begat the second. Even last night, my dance night and Heather’s birthday party saw me sitting a lot and yawning more. I was more than ready to leave by about 8:00 but stuck it out until 9:30, then stood in the parking lot talking for another 20 minutes or so. Since Mr. Scrappy Doo and I have come to terms with his naughtiness at bedtime, I can’t blame it on lack of sleep. In fact, I had one of the best night’s sleep ever last night.

So where the heck did my energy go? And whoever might have absconded with it, please return it post haste. I really must get things done tomorrow. I can only get by for so long accomplishing little more than making the bed in the morning and cleaning up the kitchen at the end of the day. Those blog posts and novel edits aren’t going to write themselves!

If the moon and last night’s solar eclipse are, indeed the culprits, they’re sending me some interesting dreams in the bargain. Marriages to Danish princes, battles in cages where the loser is dumped into a vat of milk, murder plots and neglected trombones are only the beginning. I’m definitely going to have to sit up and start writing in the journal I keep next to my bed as so much is lost when I go back to sleep and wake a few hours later. I really hate losing so much good material!

Tonight, I’ll retire early despite the 2-hour nap I took this afternoon in hopes that my energy, or at least my motivation will return full-force tomorrow. At the very least, I need to stop mooning around.

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for the nights I get to sleep without locking Scrappy Doo up.
2. I am grateful that exhausting and lack of motivation are only rare occurrences.
3. I am grateful for an enjoyable weekend with my daughter and son-in-law.
4. I am grateful for the progress I’ve made on my novel and the lessons I’m learning along the way.
5. I am grateful for abundance: energy, motivation, inspiration, productivity, love, friendship, joy, dancing, health, harmony, peace, philanthropy and prosperity.

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!

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