Category Archives: ponderings

What I’m up to… trying to focus

findingfocusThomas Frank on YouTube “How to Focus Your Priorities and Narrow Down Your Interests – College Info Geek” really struck a chord in me. I look up tips and tricks for focus and productivity, but this video really helped me understand what I was doing wrong.

He talks about a story about Warren Buffet’s advice on prioritizing success. Basically, you make a list of the top 25 things you want to do. Now make another list of the top 5, from that list, you want to do most.

One might assume you focus on the top 5, putting aside the rest for later, but the advice is that you don’t- you avoid the rest at all cost. It distracts you from those top 5 things.

taskThis was serendipitous for me since I’ve had issues focusing and having too much to do, then not doing anything. I’ve been cutting back on meetings, events, and things that don’t serve me in the long run.

Give yourself fewer choices. Too many choices tends to cause indecision for people, according to the Paradox of Choice. (see his video here).

I’ll be posting more in the way of current events, but in the meantime, this is what I’ve done lately;

  • Compiled and published a Writer’s Planner, which is for sale for $2.99. This is for printing, cutting out, and adding to any composition notebook to create a planner.
  • Updated my web site by switching from a paid hosting to Weebly (free). Streamlined the pages and what I’ve added.
  • Played a lot of Dragon Age Inquisition on Xbox 360.
  • Skipped Halloween/Samhain this year after being sick for so long. It worked out because we didn’t get the crowds of trick-or-treaters we did in past years.
  • Had a falling out with a friend/client over a misunderstanding. I doubt it will work out. You live and learn.
  • Put off publishing the Writer’s Group anthology until later this month. I’ll post more about this later.
  • WP_20150829_14_12_13_Pro 1Made myself a planner from a composition book. Looks good and functions great. This includes a calendar, charts to track writing, blogging, exercise, and business. It is designed for only a month, though.

Season of changes, and changes of phone

photoI’ve been reading (and watching) reviews of various phones. Currently, I have an iPhone 4S, but I’m so disgusted with how Apple slows the phone down, and how this new OS will take up HALF my hard drive of my current phone, lends me to consider switching to something else.

“Why not upgrade to iPhone 6?” Because I don’t want to be forced to upgrade in two years. This is exactly why the older models are struggling- Apple is trying to force us to upgrade.

Well, fuck you, Apple. I’m considering switching to Windows phone, maybe a Lumia 1020. My contract is up this month, being close to my birthday, and I like what I read about this model.

But how to decide?

Well, for starters, one must ask oneself ‘what do you want your phone to do?’.

  • Must make calls, obviously, but also store contact information and sync with contacts online. Any smart phone does this.
  • Must include the apps I use, such as Facebook, Google, a browser, note taking app, text messaging, youtube, and other apps.
  • Must have a decent camera. I do add photos to blogs, but also take pics for scrapbooking as well. I like photography as a hobby. Smart phones have this feature. The newer models have better features.
  • Listen to music, have playlists, and sync with my car (via Bluetooth). Most smart phones have this,
  • A voice assistant- so while driving I can add notes, call someone, etc. Windows Phone has Cortana. iPhone has Siri, and you can find assistants with Android.
  • Directions. Most smart phones have this, depending on the apps you use. I prefer Google Maps app.

So these are the basics. What I don’t want in a smart phone is a company that screws me over every two years to upgrade to a phone too big for my pocket.

So what do you think? Upgrade to Apple 6, Windows phone, or Android? Comment below.

Coming Autumn, and Thoughts of my blog


While speaking to my writer’s group about web sites and branding, it occurred to me that I don’t practice what I preach with  my personal site at all. Oh sure, it includes the modge podge of things I do, such as writing and photography, but I’m also doing things with work, crafting, projects, and other stuff.

I don’t have much in the way of subscribers, even less with commenters, and while I look over the mess of topics I post, I can’t blame anyone but myself. What is my site about anyway?

I would say it’s a personal site, but I go by Frootbat31 instead of Sharon Poffinberger. There’s brand with Frootbat31. And going by my tag name, well, its isn’t personal.

So I’m considering some changes to this blog;

Change the blog name to Sharon Poffinberger, or perhaps go by The Playful Pagan. I’m still considering ideas, on what to use as a title to sum up all that I do, and how I want it to reflect ‘me’ online.

Change how I blog. I want to include tutorials such as crafting, but also handy tips in regards to computers, and about writing. I’d organize the topics by these categories.

Include my posts from other blogs. Why am I not showing off my other blog posts? I write several blogs- A Writer’s Journey, Moon and Shadow, Learnthepc, and working on a site entitled The Playful Pagan (celebrating the fun side of paganism).

Marketing better on what I do. I blame my shyness, I suppose, but when I objectify myself, pretend I’m my own best friend, I advise that I should be sharing what I do with others.

Any thoughts and comments would be appreciated. Would you, as a reader, be interested in the changes? Would you subscribe? Do you have other things about this blog you’d like changed?

Post in comments.

Too many eggs in my basket

recite-9166-1188685475-1vf1w5iWhile organizing my schedule for the week, the thought occurred to me that I put on too much in the way of projects and ideas I want to accomplish. I ask myself “Will this move me forward?”. I ask myself this because I tend to be more hamster-like, where I run on a wheel without going anywhere.

I really want to go somewhere. I want success in my endeavors, and I want to accomplish what I set out to do.

If I take on too much, then its very much like throwing more than one ball to a dog, who can’t catch any of them.

This lends to the idea of needing to make decisions, which I’m not exactly good at; I’m a Libra after all, and we’re terrible at making decisions. Or, at least, that’s my excuse.

I try to see both sides of the fence, weigh the consequences, and try to make the ‘right choice’, but end up getting my panties in a bind because I don’t want to make a ‘wrong decision’. Then I freeze and do nothing at all. It is like getting stuck in a decision loop.

Sometimes ‘freewriting’ helps. I set a timer for ten minutes and start writing about the problem, with the focus on finding solutions. Sometimes this works, or at least gets me started on decision making.

I prioritize my list. If you follow the ‘eat the frog’ tip, the rest of day becomes easier to deal with.

    If the first thing you do each morning is to eat a live frog, you can go through the day with the satisfaction of knowing that that is probably the worst thing that is going to happen to you all day long!

Even with that in mind, I’m torn between what I want to do and what I ought to do. Sometimes its tough to discern even that because the kid in me rationalizes all the time.  For example: “But playing video games help inspire my writing, so of course I should play the Xbox!”

Distractions often lead to more decision making. The quandary of ‘want vs need’, where I want to do something because I feel inspired and motivated, but then my ‘to do’ list seems so dull but necessary in comparison.

By the end of the day, after crossing out my list, after adding the additional unplanned things I’ve done, I’m happy to say I get lots done. I’m just not 100% sure any of it gets me anywhere in Life.

Coping versus wallowing

SHAR9Just look at that face. It doesn’t look like someone who had such severe depressions she nearly killed herself in her twenties, does it?
Last year, I ended my two year relationship with my therapist for depression. I felt good about it, despite being ‘cast adrift…on my own’, and I miss my therapist because she was such a positive element in my life. But I was better. It was time to move on-
I felt I’d share a few of the realizations that helped me get there, but you must also understand the reasons behind my depression;
I accept that my depression was not a ‘chemical imbalance’ but the fear, doubt, and low self worth I carried with me all the time. I accepted that I will never be 100% free of depression. It’s because I’m human, and part of being human is feeing bad such as anger, fear, and sadness.
I still deal with low self-worth from time to time, but I remind myself that I do accomplish things, am loved, and work towards a better tomorrow.
I learned the words spoken to me by my parents (and other people important in my life) became my inner voice, and that often said I couldn’t do that (for whatever reason), and I wasn’t good enough.
This was a huge revelation, because I realized that my negative thinking was trained into me. But I also found, I can change that voice, switch to something more positive.
I realized I wallowed instead of taking action. I let myself go into deeper depression, gave into ‘circular thinking’ rather than focusing on solving the problem.
With story writing we learn that its not the SOLUTION to the conflict that ends a book, but the RESOLUTION. Sometimes the character succeeds, but sometimes find a way to accept things they cannot change, or they find another solution altogether.
I would get paralyzed to doing action because if I screwed up, I had so many people pointing that out to me.
Since embracing the fact that I am a klutz, not too coordinated, and have issues with ‘attention to detail’, I find mistakes not so much daunting or defining on me as a person. I recognize that I need to make mistakes more because I’m still in the process of undoing all that doubt. I need to screw up, so I can be comfortable, even confident in trying new things.

And here are some things that helped me:
I accept I will fall apart now and then, that’s okay. I am allowed a bad day or week. Its when it lengthened into months or even years you should seek help. But being sad now and then is part of what makes us human.
I’m allowed to make mistakes. That mistakes are essential to reaching goals, because it shows you if you’re doing it wrong, and to change the course of action. I seem to make than the average, but if that’s my learning process, so be it.
I focus on the positive rather the negative. You might think “oh that’s so Pollyanna’, but it really does work. You still gain benefits from synthesized happiness. And if you think happy thoughts are not ‘in reality’, what makes you think your negative thoughts are reality?
I remove stresses and triggers that might put me into a depression. I recently stepped down as organizer of a business meetup group because I realized I have a full plate of responsibilities and taking that on would only stress me out.
I also keep people who love drama, or wallow, or stress me out at a distance. Some, I cut out of my life. I cannot express how much better my life is for doing that.
I surround myself with positive people. I have two wonderful groups of people I organize that have people who share positive thinking. The writers group offers feedback and encouragement, while the Wiccan group offers a spiritual side to grow and learn.
You may not have a group of people, but I think its important to have people in your life that will hold you up, not bring you down. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of broken people who work from such weaknesses as jealousy, anger, fear, doubt, etc, and they tend to drain rather than inspire, but you must also understand to also offer the best parts of yourself in relationships.
This is why I try my best to not share negative stuff to friends or even family any more. I don’t want to wallow, or drag them down, but to inspire, make them laugh, and feel good about themselves. I might mention something now and then, but I find my overall outlook on life is for the better by not giving energy to the negative stuff.
Being a gamer, I think, also helps. Consider problems as a quest or mission, and you have to figure out how to solve it to level up. Winking smile

Snow and homeschool update

Snow! We finally got some significant snow. Unfortunately, we’ll also get ice, and my poor husband has to drive to work in the morning.
Being a fireman, he doesn’t get to call in. But he’s a good driver. It doesn’t stop me from worrying but I try to tell myself that like it’s a mantra.
We’ve been hard at work with homeschooling, since this year we’ve already had a review (in November). I was not happy about it either. Last year in May, the reviewer noted he seemed behind, so she scheduled an early review in November. Although she admitted to seeing progress, she nevertheless, scheduled another review later this month. Again- I am not happy.
I feel the Common Core Standard is somehow impacting the review, where the reviewer is comparing our education to that of the new standards, which I only just found out. Bear in mind, we get nothing in the way of curriculum from them. And he is learning, and progressing, as the reviewer said she’s looking for, but she keeps saying “He’s not doing enough.”
My son takes forever to write anything. I have him take notes on everything he reads now, and we do more worksheets because the reviewer wants to see ‘more work’. I also keep track of our time, so given all that, he should pass this next review. If we don’t, I’d be convinced the Board of Ed. wants him back in school.

I moved this old heater from the attic to my office. Now its toasty warm and I don’t have to snuggle under a lap electric blanket. As you can see here, my dog also enjoys the heat.

Mastering the Zen of cleaning

I am not a neat freak by any stretch of the imagination. I will even admit to being a complete and total slob in my younger days. When I got my first apartment, I was so thrilled with NOT having to do chores, I’d let dishes sit for days. I would end up using boiling water to kill whatever was growing on them.  
But I won’t gross you out with what a slob I was- suffice to say, I’m not like that any more.
My point is that lately I’ve grown obsessed with organizational and cleaning videos through Youtube. I suppose its more productive that cat and cute baby videos, but I’m still spending oodles of time doing it.
So I decided to share as if this validates all the time spend watching them because you’ll enjoy them too. Winking smile

YouTube Videos/Channels for cleaning/declutter-
DoItOnADime channel offers lots of tips and tricks to organize, decorate, and clean your house.
Malitose79 has a channel to cleaning, organizing, and home management, all with a very cheerful, friendly attitude.
CleanMySpace is another cleaning/organizing channel with lots of tips and hacks to get the job done.
Oprah’s organizing guru… video has some very good ideas on decluttering. I like his tip on turning all your clothes hanging in the closet and if you don’t use them in 6 months, get rid of them.
And to help curb my Youtube obsessiveness…
stayfocusedThank you Stayfocused (a Google Chrome extension). This will turn off sites like Pinterst and Youtube during the house I’ve set for my writing time.