Monday, December 17

14 tricks to keep you motivated and productive

 My list of simple ideas for things to add to your morning routine and incorporate throughout your 
day to keep you feeling productive and motivated until your head hits the pillow at night.

WEARING:  Sweatshirt  ||  Jeans  ||  Alice’s Onesie

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Thank you for being here!
      Something that I’ve always struggled with in the past was finding the drive within to keep myself motivated. These days I certainly still have times when I can feel the heavy weight of issues or stress and I just have to let go of my expectations of getting anything done(which is totally okay and healthy sometimes), I do wonder myself how I get so much done in a day with all the obstacles I work around.haha 
      One of the most asked questions I see on my blog and social media are variations of “How do you do it all!?” oftentimes paired with: “and with 6 kids and your grief journey and owning your own business?!” Now while this is extremely flattering and generous, I also am always left feeling both partially sad and excited to hear and read these questions. 

      I feel sad immediately because I know this person asking me is comparing a few clean photos of my family life to her every-day struggle and hustle and wondering what she’s doing wrong. She’s thinking that I actually DO have it all together (which hasn’t really been accurate since right before my late husband was diagnosed with Cancer), and that so many other moms/women do too while she struggles. She’s wondering if she’ll ever feel like she has control of her life any more and if any of it is worth it. She’s disappointed that she can’t seem to accomplish anything beyond keeping her kids alive every day and wondering if that’s okay. 

      Those are reasons I feel sad, but then as I said I also feel excitement, and also gratitude when I read these different women's words, because I have the opportunity to set the record straight for them...for her. I’m picturing someone in particular right now:) I get to take that moment of her frustration and self-doubt and build her up a bit, and it makes me so happy. I get to tell her that we are so much more alike than she may realize. ALL OF US. That we both undoubtedly have large heaps of laundry piled in our rooms and dishes spilling out of the sink onto the counter, etc. I get to tell her that she is so loved and so powerful and beautiful and good. I get tell her that nobody has it all together, and then I usually end up sharing a few things that I’ve picked up over the years through trial and error that really do make a massive difference. They help me keep energized and productive and they keep me feeling motivated throughout the day, and I’m so excited to be sharing my favorites with you today!!

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Disclaimer: all of these tricks are things that I’ve learned through trial and error over the last 15 years or so, and they have worked massively 
well for me, that being said they are by no means meant to be a one-size-fits-all solution to productivity. Just keep in mind that while I believe these 
are general and can apply to most situations to those reading, everyone is different and will have differing preferences. Etc. Thank you!
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14 Tricks to Help Keep You Motivated and Productive

Number 1: 
Focus on today, and only today.
Living with intention is something that I’ve worked hard at over the last year especially, and to me it is mainly about living on purpose. Focusing on the present moment, being aware of what is around us, of the season of life that we are in, and taking responsibility for our life and our choices. A big part of that as well is living in the moment, being aware of the moment that we are in. If our minds are in the past or the future, we are not truly able to live and achieve and succeed in the present. Does that make sense? If your main goal is to plow through your checklist efficiently and have the energy and clarity of mind to do it, the first thing you have to do is to create tunnel vision for today, so to speak:) Try to put any past worries or issues out of your mind, and don’t let yourself get distracted by trying to plan or purchase or schedule for the future. Today is all we have! Make friends with the day and enjoy it as much as you can.

Number 2: 
When you’re waking up, don’t hit the snooze button.
Don’t do it. As I tried to cover in my disclaimer, everyone is different for sure, but, I’ve talked to SO many people who have had the same experience that I have had where my one or two snooze allowances that I set for myself always turn into 4-5, and then I’m running late! Running late sets a tone for the rest of your day, and you’ll be so much less effective if you’re stressed and anxious and trying to play catch-up. Not to mention how poorly it can affect your mood, how you interact with other people, how you speak to yourself, and so on. Just simply set your alarm to a little before you need to sit up and get going so you have a minute to wake up your senses. Before you go to sleep you should make your peace with how much or how little sleep you’re going to get that night (for whatever reason) and let yourself sleep till you need/want to get up.

Number 3: 
List your goals and be your own cheerleader (aka manifestation and affirmations)
I’ve learned from experience that if I want to have the most productive day possible, then I need to take a minute to plan my day realistically and list my most important goals. I like making a cup of herbal tea or hot chocolate and sitting down once the older kids are off at school and the house is quieter, and I pull out my journal. Not only do I write out a checklist of to-dos, but I also use this opportunity to write down some things that I’m proud of and list some affirmations for myself. Little bits of encouragement can go such a long way, and those things may serve as your inner voice all day long instead of worries about failure to achieve.

Number 4: 
Give your body and mind some extra love and support 
Ever since training for my fitness competition (I competed in NPC after Lydia was born, about 5 years ago) and getting used to taking vitamins on a regular basis, I feel SUCH a difference in the way my brain and body function when I forget to take them. I don’t take quite as many now as I used to, but a few that I never leave out of my daily routine are some favorites from Nature’s Way. My best friend is the Ginkgold Max for mental sharpness, which helps me SO much with concentration and focus and with staying on task.* It also protects against free radicals and helps support memory and healthy blood circulation.* 
I also really love the results I get from taking  Ashwagandha, also from Nature’s Way. It’s really an incredibly beneficial herb that has all sorts of benefits for overall wellness, but primarily it’s classified as an “adaptogen” meaning that it can help reduce and manage stress, and it’s made such a big difference for me in a lot of ways! I recommend it to everyone.
Number 5: 
Drink drink drink...water:)
I’m gonna take a little guess that you reading this right now don’t always drink your minimum 8 glasses of water every day...because I know I don’t most of the time! I believe most of us live daily in early to mid stages of dehydration without really knowing it. There are so many symptoms of dehydration that we deal with so frequently that we think of as just a normal part of adult life, symptoms like fatigue and headaches, dry skin and mouth, dizziness and lightheadedness, being overly tired or sleepy, low blood pressure, lethargy, lack of motivation, nausea, etc.  and we don’t go to water as a solution immediately. During my bikini competition (granted it was when I was exercising 5-6 days a week), I drank about one ounce per pound that I weighed. So weighing roughly between 130-145lbs I was shooting for about a gallon of water a day, and I have never felt more clear headed and naturally energized in my whole life! I LOVE the way my body and mind feel when I’m drinking seemingly excessive amounts of water.haha There is such a stronger clarity to everything I see and hear, and, so start drinking more water right now because you deserve it:)

Number 6: 
Ground and center yourself. 
This is another part of my morning routine that is a game changer for me emotionally and mentally, but I never ever just jump out of bed if I can help it. I take a minute to take some deep breaths as I move to the side of my bed and sit up tall and straight before standing up. At that moment I stop and close my eyes, taking 3-5 long deep breaths as I spread my toes and flatten my feet on the floor. This is my way of grounding’ my body and my spirit, which is telling myself that I am safe and secure and that I can thrive today.  

Number 7: 
Stretch throughout the day.
My nightly and morning yoga routines are basically just stretching flows, following where it hurts so good to stretch my muscles and test my balance.haha And while you don’t have to have a nightly and morning routine (although I can’t recommend it enough!) You’d benefit from even a minimum of five quiet minutes of stretching. It feels good because it’s loosening your muscles and relieving muscle fatigue and stiffness that may have come from work or chores where you’ve been sitting long hours(editing photos and videos) or hunching over (dishes and laundry). Stretching for at least five minutes has also been proven to quickly relieve stress and anxiety, to improve your overall posture, to improve flexibility and agility while preventing injury, and it contributes to you feeling happier and more positive overall! Can’t beat that:)

Number 8: 
Listen to something inspirational.
Over the last few years, I’ve had to avoid music somewhat as a motivation tool since music has had a funny way of pulling me into certain pools of thought and in turn slowing me down with distractions. My solution was to listen to lighthearted shows while I worked like ‘The Office’ and ‘Parks and Rec’ while I worked, which helped my brain focus on only a few things instead of running wild. I also got into podcasts and audiobooks soon after, and there are so many awesome choices if you just google a bit! Some of my favorite inspirational authors right now are Brene Brown, Rachel Hollis, Anthony Robbins, Oprah Winfrey, Eckhart Tolle, Glennon Doyle Melton, and Marie Kondo. A few favorite motivational podcasts are by Jenna Kutcher, Oprah Super Soul conversations, the Rise Podcast, Marvelous Moms, Women with Fire, and Rich Roll.

Number 9: 
Don’t keep your phone on your person.
This came about by accident (I started wearing yoga pants all the time and mine don’t have pockets :/ ), and then by my own butterfingers (accidentally dropping my phone or having it fall out of my stupidly shallow girl pockets), but I started just leaving my phone on the counter or table where it could charge and then I found myself wandering around the house doing chores and I’d most-often forget about it! I started to see such a steep incline in my general productivity when I didn’t have my phone in my pocket constantly buzzing with notifications and calls, etc, and my focus was broken SO much less from my current task.

Number 10: 
Make an over-the-top-detailed To-Do list... on paper.
Some people are list people and some just aren’t, so don’t feel badly if this doesn’t make sense to you, but for me and others like me, there is nothing so satisfying and motivating as when we get to scratch a line through or put a checkmark beside an actual task on an actual list, it’s the best isn’t it? I love lists and I love accomplishing things so I can cross them off those lists, but I could go hours doing things and still not get to scratch out one item. Here’s what I started doing that helped me SO much. I would check in with my list every hour or so (on a busy day) and even if I hadn’t gotten anything that I’d hoped I could get done, I would fill in things that took up my time anyways, and then cross them right off! No joke, I would come back to my list in the afternoon and had gotten maybe two things done that were written on it, so I started writing out the necessary things that had taken up my time, and all my discouragement just flew out the window. Sure, I hadn’t gotten that post finished or that call made, but I’d fed the baby and done 12 loads of laundry and talked to my mother, etc, which were all important for different reasons. Give it a try and see how you feel:)

Number 11: 
Take an exercise break.
This doesn’t have to be two hours hitting the weights with the meatheads at the gym, but any sort of physical activity that’ll bring up your heart rate for at even 20 minutes will help you reset and recharge you like you wouldn’t believe. Although I can’t deny the big differences I feel from a good hour and a half with weights or on the climbing wall, most of the time lately it’s just a walk in the neighborhood with the little girls and Diesel on a leash or a little jog in the garage on the treadmill. I don’t need to go into detail about the overall benefits of exercise breaks in general, but even if just for the happy endorphins alone, this is one of the best tricks!

Number 12: 
Flip on a motivational playlist.
You know the music I’m talking about. Not the stuff that makes you all lovesick or mopey, not the stuff that is screaming so loud that you ear-drums are pounding through your head and shaking up your brains, but any and every song that when it comes on makes you think things like ‘I can totally do this!’ ‘you’re so lucky to have what you have’ Today is going to be a great day.’ or how about ‘I am a champion, and you’re gonna hear me roar!’ that’s a good one.haha You know, those songs that make you dance around a little and break out the embarrassing moves you only do at home. Those kinds of songs can shoot right through our souls and effect our minds in a really intense way. Choose wisely!

Number 13: 
Eat something healthy (aka fruits and vegetables, whole foods, etc)
This one really doesn’t need an explanation I’m sure, but I will say that most everyone reading this will probably agree that when you eat garbage, you feel like garbage, right? haha So if you’re on a mission to feel as energized and productive as possible, eating something loaded with nutrients and minerals, vitamins, etc, is going to help you do that while downing a 2 liter of dr pepper with a pint of ice cream and the rest of that pack of Oreos is going to halt you in your tracks. Moderation is all things, and in the end you know your body, but bottom line- go for some greens:)

Number 14: 
Breath, Trust, Relax, and Smile.
This list really hasn’t been in any order of importance or effectiveness necessarily, but I DO know this one needed to be at the end. Because yes, some days I feel like a powerhouse superwoman that can take on the world, but those days aren’t the majority even now, and it’s taken so much work and effort and tears and crazy determination to get to the point where I have any of those days at all. I’ve spent weeks and months at a time where I felt like a failure every single day, and I guess my point is that at the end of the day, please don’t beat yourself up for what you didn’t do, and look at what you DID do. Remember that failure is proof you’re trying, and that anyone who is successful at anything started out right where you are. They learned what didn’t work before learning what DID, so let your failures motivate you towards your goal by remembering that you’re simply eliminating paths that don’t work for you. Allow yourself time to take a break and de-stress when you feel overwhelmed or need to recharge. Even just a change of scenery and taking a little time for some deep breaths can help bring a fresh new perspective and valuable enlightenment. 

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     Well I have lots more I want to share on this topic, but I’d better wrap this up for today! If you want to have a ‘Part 2’ at some point just let me know:) All in all I really don’t have it all figured out, I don’t ‘have it all together’either, but I do feel that I’ve learned a heck of a lot in my life, and I love passing it on! So I hope that you feel encouraged a little bit and excited to take some or all of these tricks and REALLY use them to help motivate yourself, because I promise that you will see such a difference in what you’re able to accomplish! 
     So, never underestimate the impact that a few words of encouragement could mean to someone(and to yourself) and share a few of these tips (or the whole post!) as ways that they can start right now to get a little more out of their day! I hope you know how much I appreciate you being here and how much support it brings, and I hope you feel a bit more empowered to take on the day without fear or stress about all your to-do’s. Now I would truly would love to hear your thoughts on which word or two makes SUCH a difference to hear others say to you right now? 

        What is your favorite trick in here that you’re either just considering or already use in your daily life? Comment below!


*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. 


  1. I loved reading such a detailed and motivational post. I recently moved back to my home time after 5 years in the 'bit city' in London and the transition back to something so quiet has been really demotivational and I've not quite felt like myself. I've jotted your tips down and am going to make a list of my important goals for 2019 and affirmations to turn to when I feel demotivated.

    Thanks for such a great read!

    Abigail Alice x

  2. Every single one is so important! I've incorporated so many of these the last half of 2018 and they have made a difference. I listen to all those same inspirational people and podcasts for great little tips and tricks to get what I can done during the day! Thanks for sharing Emily!

    Amanda @ Cupcake N Dreams

  3. Be careful with the vitamin on the floor....

  4. I love that you said take an exercise "break." I feel like that can really help someone turn their mindset on exercise from a chore to a positive thing... ya know?

  5. Love these. I'm trying so hard to become productive and I'll definitely add a few of these to my routine!

    K A T E L A T E L Y || fashion & lifestyle blog

  6. These are all such great tips to keep you motivated! I know that I personally struggle so much with hitting snooze in the mornings. That is probably my worst habit! I will have to try to quit hitting snooze. Maybe I should put my alarm somewhere else so that I physically have to get up and out of bed to turn it off!

  7. Wonderful tips, thanks! I find usually the simplest and common sense ones are the best. :)

  8. Wonderful tips, thanks! I find that often the simplest and most common sense ones are the best. :)