Category Archives: Journal Entries

Drafts, Drafts Everywhere?

And Not a Single Published Post

blogging writingI have 36 draft posts saved in my blog right now. (Plus a handful of local MS Word files with random names like “stuff they put in our food” and “the virtual assistant ‘to do’ list”.) Some drafts contain only a few words while others contain paragraph after paragraph of good information that I have picked up over the past year and yet never got around to editing or just pressing that increasingly elusive “publish” button.

Why would any blogger have so many unpublished posts!? I have a lot of reasons. The first is this: I am not actually a blogger. I am a writer who poses as a blogger. It’s almost been a year since I’ve posted to my blog, but I write everyday. I write for all kinds of reasons: business, a little fiction for fun, and sometimes it’s just non-sense in a journal. No matter what ends up on the page, it’s the act of writing that love.

Bloggers vs. Writers

Bloggers write about their passion, while a writer’s passion is simply to write. One can be a great blogger without being a great writer (and vice versa), but writers can learn a lot from bloggers.

The Writer’s Excuse The Blogger’s M. O.
“I just couldn’t find the time.” “I am not writing a novel here. I do have time to write one solid paragraph to keep my blog ‘content fresh’.”
“I have writer’s block.” Just one paragraph about the relevant stuff I am doing / learning / or hearing from other people. . .
It’s amazing the angles that some bloggers are able to come at a topic while keeping their content relevant!
“I’m too tired.” “Procrastination and the heavy cloud of unfinished business are more exhausting than just doing it.”
“I don’t know if it’s worth it.” “I never waste my subscriber’s time; I make sure it’s worth it.”
“I don’t even know if it would matter if I skipped this time.” “People notice when I skip, in fact they ask me about it. That’s just another reason to keep on!”

Why do I love writing?
As work, life experiences, and other people provide a constant stream of “input”; I feel like if I can just describe them with the right combination of words, then I can understand them better.

It really has been nearly a year now since I have posted on my blog. As I was typing out this “hello again” post, I was fully intent upon being quite critical about my poor blogging performance and apologizing for being gone etc.

While I am sorry about the extended hiatus, I think it’s better if I skip the self-critical part. I work better focusing on encouragement. :)

Why do I choose to pick up blogging again?
As my Facebook statuses and emails to everyone have been getting longer and longer lately. I have no choice but to get back to blogging again. It is a small but important outlet for one of my greatest passions: writing.

~ Till next week.

A Span of 7 Years

Every seven years we become a completely different person.” – A coworker told me this once. Do you think she was right? Of course, she didn’t mean that we change instantly.

The first thing I thought when I hear that was: “Couldn’t the same can be said about five, four… or even three years?” The answer to that is: “Probably.”

Today, for one reason or another, I got to thinking about who I was seven years ago vs. who I am today and I must admit it was a little disconcerting. When we hear/read that statement, we can’t help but to think back on how our lives looked seven years ago. And of course, we instantly begin to compare a large number of life’s differences between now and then.

So why seven years? Does this give any merit to the “seven year itch” myth? – I’ll say no to that, but concede to the fact that seven years is a long time considering how short life really is.

It’s time to consider the past seven years and answer the following 5 questions for yourself.

1. Where were you 7 years ago?

Remember the Autumn of 2004. Do you remember the details? Where were you living? Where did you work? What cell phone were you using? Can you even remember your phone number? What email address where you checking every day? Did you have a pet? Did you know your closest friend? Where you on speaking terms with your parents/kids? Were you financially secure?

The older I get the more I realize how little I know. – original author unknown

2. What’s different?

Seven years ago, I would have been 21, still very naive, probably more shallow, and I remember being a lot more fearless. I always thought I would do something big and make some huge difference in the world. But here and now, I am completely content with my currently small place on our tiny little planet Earth. I think I would like to have the courage back, but then again it’s the fearless people who have a lot less to lose. So… that’s probably not true.

3. What remains the same?

The thing that remains the same for me is that I am still a total geek. I love being a geek, hope I always gravitate toward new technology and have something to learn and challenge me.

4. Would you go back and do it all over again?

There are some people who live in the past as if it where the present. Some people would pay big money to go back and relive certain spans of their lives like high school and college years, when others are more like me and wouldn’t want to go back. Frankly, you couldn’t pay me enough to relive those years.

Well, maybe that’s an overstatement. :)

5. Would you change anything?

What I mean is, I wouldn’t want to experience it all again because I know that I would not be able to change a single thing. I prefer living with the good memories and dodge the thought of accidentally making a single change that might change who and where I am right now.

Here’s the important question: Who will you be seven years from now?

Goals for Me: to Make, Break, or Reconsider

I’m sitting alone (well at least I have no children sitting around me) in a random Starbucks contemplating all of the things that I am going to get accomplished this year.

Yep, it’s that time of year again. The kiddies are back to school, everyone’s back to a different schedule, and I am back to the same place I was a year ago (metaphorically speaking) when I wrote Change is Inevitable, Progress is Work.

It’s been a while since I wrote a post, so be prepared for all the info I’ve stored up! I am changing my schedule now, so I will be writing to you on Tuesdays from now on.

I have no idea why (perhaps it’s the very caffeinated iced coffee I am drinking despite the fact that I really don’t like coffee) but I have the strangest urge to type out all of my goals for myself, my family, and my work for the year. Like so many of you other virtual assistants, my life requires balance in three very distinct areas. Today I am going to write about how I have incorporated new habits to keep myself healthy and in top “working condition”.

1. Finding Balance for Myself

I must be healthy. This means:
to eat right
I wrote a post a few weeks ago about a documentary I watched called Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead. I had to write a post about this film because it has so many great points about how we jeopardize out healthy every time we don’t choose the foods we consume wisely.

We eat so much over-processed and vitamin/mineral depleted foods that our bodies are fighting a losing battle to stay healthy. Check out that movie to watch real people reverse the damage that years of poor eating habits caused.

to get enough sleep

“I found this great new medicine… It’s called sleep!” – I told this to my doctor during a checkup and she laughed and wrote it down and told me she had to use that.

Even though I said it with humor, I meant it earnestly.

Last September, I did a sort of health experiment with my sleep and actually made myself sleep 8 hours every night for a full month. Beating insomnia was well worth the effort.

After a few months of sleeping eight hours every single night, I felt amazing. Of course I have slacked off since then, but I am not nearly as bad as I was. :)

Sleep is the time of the day when the body rebuilds, repairs and re energizes for the next day. The skin is the largest organ of the body and without the proper levels of sleep, it will also be the largest age-showing part of your life. At the surface of the skin are millions of cells that die off each day due to environmental influences, dry skin and sun damage. While lotions and cream may ease the effects of these factors, sleep is the only regenerative cycle that can truly undo the effects of the day. Without enough sleep, the skin will be unable to rebuild those dead and dying cells and this is when aging occurs.

- Sleep and Anti Aging excerpt from the Top Anti Aging Website

and to exercise often enough.

In a post called Exercise? Blah, It Just Sounds Like More Work I wrote last November I wrote about exercise videos, and then last April I wrote about more spontaneous styles of exercise in Time for Recess.

I think the trick for exercise is simply keep changing it up so we don’t get bored. I love to run, so I’ve been running at least three times a week all summer.

What about you?
What do you have to do to keep yourself in top working condition?

Good Navigation

We are in Michigan today and we’ve had an awesome weekend of skiing over this long holiday weekend. I’ve really come to love this ski resort called Boyne Highlands.

However, while I was going down one of the runs earlier, I got confused about which direction I should go.

There are different “levels” of ski runs that u can go down depending on your experience level…

* There’s the bunny hill which I definitely prefer to be avoid.

* Green runs are easy, they are the kind of runs the are enjoyable for the first couple of runs that I go on… you know, to get familiar with the conditions, make sure my boots aren’t on too tight or too loose.

* Blue runs are ranked “difficult” and “more difficult”. These are my favorite runs. I usually stay on these for the better part of the day.

* Black diamonds are the most difficult and you won’t see me on one of these runs until the end of the day.

* Double black diamonds are for experts only. You probably won’t ever catch me on one of these. Unless I’ve gotten lost… which is almost what happened.

Anyways, on my way down our first hill, I was inspired to write a post about signs and navigation. Here is why:

image

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Notice how the two pictures are showing you how to get to Mac Gully… an easy run, then a little further down the hill you see a sign to continue on Mac Gully but supposedly turns into a double black diamond!

Actually this sign was letting you know that Mac Gully was to your right as well as an entrance to another run that actually was a double black.

Why in the world would anyone running a ski resort want their visitors to get confused, lost, or have to stop in the middle of a run to try and find a way to go?

Then I got to thinking about website navigation. This week I am planning on doing some serious research on best practices for site navigation and where to place certain buttons,nav bars, search forms, etc. to make everything on your site to be as easy to find as possible.

Beating Insomnia Plan: Successful Since September

Ok, so I found this great medicine… it’s called SLEEP!

It took me about 2 weeks to realize how much better I feel when I am well rested. I really felt as if I was aging very quickly, and my eyes often looked dull, and I was extra grouchy sometimes.

Well, since the middle of September, I have been REALLY trying to get 8 hours of sleep every night. And I tell you what, I highly recommend it.

Of course, if you are like me and “used to” 5 hours maybe less sometimes, it’s difficult to get to sleep sometimes… The only advice I can give you for that is: “Keep trying.” It’s worth the energy you get when you finally get caught up.

Night 5

Bedtime: 11:45pm

Day 5

Woke up: 9:45am

Night 6

Bedtime: 11:30pm

Day 6

Woke Up: 9:00am

Night 7

Bedtime: 11:30pm

Day 7

Woke Up: 7:30am

Night 8

11:30pm

Day 8

7:30am

Night 9

11:00pm

Day 9

7:15am
and so on….

Beating Insomnia Plan – Day 4

Night 4:

Bedtime: 11:45pm (- little late, I know)
(Morning After)

Day 4:

Woke up: 8:45am
9 hours later
How I feel:
I didn’t want to sleep in, but I suppose I needed it. Yesterday I was a bit tired. I still feel kind of yucky this morning. It’s a good thing I have been getting extra … scratch that… enough sleep this week. Who knows? I might actually be sick!?!?

I am usually sick about once or twice a year, maybe I can just get mildly sick this time and learn my lesson to get enough rest. Maybe I’ll never get sick. :)
Toward the end of the day yesterday, I realized why I was so sleepy in the morning. In fact, the way I felt today definitely verified my suspicion. Both kids have been bouncing around with yucky colds and sore throats, and I found myself with a sore throat this morning as well.

Did you know that getting better sleep helps your immune system?
Quotes from WebMD article: Can Better Sleep Mean Catching Fewer Colds?

Info from: Diwakar Balachandran, MD, director of the Sleep Center at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston

“The more all-nighters you pull, the more likely you are to decrease your body’s ability to respond to colds or bacterial infections.”

“A lot of studies show our T-cells go down if we are sleep deprived. And inflammatory cytokines go up. … This could potentially lead to the greater risk of developing a cold or flu.”

“One of the things that happens when we sleep is that we can get a better fever response. This is why fevers tend to rise at night. But if we are not sleeping, our fever reaction is not primed, so we may not be waging war on infection as best we can.”

“Studies have shown that people who are sleep deprived also get less protection from flu vaccines than those who are getting adequate sleep.”