cat_restfulI FEEL TREMENDOUSLY grateful that I get to work from home as a freelance writer. I do what I love and am able to manage my day with some flexibility. My cats are constantly with me while I work. They lie on my lap, on my desk and at my feet. I even placed a basket on the corner of my desk so they could have their own special spot.

I believe I do a pretty great job managing my time and staying organized, but there are always ways I can improve my methods and the way I handle work-related situations. I recently realized just how much my cats help me in this area — especially with staying relaxed and focused.

As I write this, I have several article deadlines, am getting ready to leave town to shoot a comedy web series I co-wrote, and my first book will be released on September 3. Oh, and there’s a companion website in development to go along with the book. You may look at what’s happening in my life and think, “Wow — that’s fantastic!” And it totally is. I feel more than grateful for all the good that flows through my life. I do, however, frequently feel slightly stressed out and overwhelmed about all of it.

My mind monkeys say, “How are you going to manage all of that? You get easily anxious when you have so much going on at once.” Then one of my cats jumps in my lap and starts purring, reminding me that it’s good to rest and take breaks, even in the middle of really busy times. Especially in the middle of really busy times.

Sometimes I’ll receive an e-mail or a phone call from someone who needs something. Now. Of course, I didn’t expect the request and my day was already packed with a thousand to-dos. I initially sit and fret about how I’ll get everything finished. Then one of my cats snags a pen from my desk and takes off with it dangling from her mouth. I can’t help but laugh and am reminded that humor is particularly essential during stressful times. And the funny thing is, I write mostly humor! I know this is true! I guess I just need a reminder now and again.

Writer’s block plagues me when my mind feels foggy or distracted. This is not helpful to someone who needs to write every day, no matter how she’s feeling. I’ve discovered one of the best cures for writer’s block: my cats. I usually have a cat on my lap when I write, and when my mind feels stuck, I simply look down at her, scratch her head and am suddenly in a feline-induced meditative state! I’m not even kidding. Petting my cat and looking into her loving eyes relaxes me like nearly nothing else. After a few minutes, I undoubtedly have a clear vision and sometimes more than one idea!

I adore my cats and have always relied on them for comfort and friendship. I guess I hadn’t realized just how much they keep me focused and on track while I’m working. They constantly surprise and delight me with the ways they positively impact my life. And for that, I am eternally grateful.

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