Make Motivation Your Superpower

Make Motivation Your Superpower

“Heavy Hands”, 2016, Model Jen Brook.

Read to the end for today’s free giveaway
+ to read my practical tips for an art business!
This is a long one but it sure is juicy!

Folks, I need to admit something to you. I’m not terribly organized.

However, after I started sharing about my work days (on Instagram Stories) and how much I get done, I started getting messages (like, a lot of them) about how I stay organized enough to get all of those tasks crossed off my list. It became too overwhelming to write to each DM I got, so I told everyone I’d make a blog post about it. Here we go!

I say that I’m not organized because in many ways, I’m not. I’m sort of like a confused type A personality. I like things in a specific way, I like to know that my life is in order, but ask me to keep my life in order, and well…I just can’t. Or, rather, I haven’t learned how…YET.

I will be the first to admit that I spend about 20 unnecessary minutes everyday doing something that I should have had organized long ago.

And I work on this, slowly, and not fast enough to make my family believe I’m working on it. I am also highly productive. I always have been and don’t have ambitions to slow down in my productivity. Shifting focus, yes, but not becoming complacent.

All of that to say, the two words – organization and motivation – are not the same thing. They come from different universes and sometimes they commingle. Let’s take a look at some simple practices we can all apply to become more proficient in the art of getting stuff done.

    1. PRIORITIES. My decisive nature and enormous passion collide to make it easy for me to choose priorities and let them shine. Be honest with yourself about what you want, how you will get it, and then learn to follow through (yes, I realize that is the whole point of this post – FOLLOW THROUGH – so read on, comrades!). More on this topic in an earlier post.

    2. Write your to-do list THE DAY BEFORE. This changed the game for me. Productivity increased, I was more goal-focused, and I felt better every time I crossed something off my list.


    1. The 30-MINUTE swap. Take a moment to look at your normal day schedule. Can you find 30 minutes of time that you spend doing something that doesn’t serve your goals? It could be TV, Internet, meals that could be prepared more efficiently, naps, etc. Once you’ve located those 30 minutes, swap them out for extreme productivity time. Spend 30 minutes daily that you have actively traded to hunker down on your goals and GIT THEM DONE.My personal kryptonite is the Internet (whose isn’t though, really). In order to combat the time I spend, I put a website blocker on my browser so that I can only spend 15 minutes a day on Facebook. That means I speed up the time I spend working on social media, and when I do open Facebook, it isn’t to chat with friends. I go straight to my business page, I post, I reply to comments, and I get the heck out of there.I use the browser add-on StayFocused.
    2. Figure out YOUR productivity hours. My husband is a night owl. Like, up until 5am coding his heart out. My best hours are from 6am-11am. I know this about myself, so I utilize those hours. Of course, your schedule might require you to be flexible with this, but first, identify YOUR hours. When do you most easily enter a state of flow? When do you feel your best? When are you more productive? And then the opposite – at what hours are you good for nothing (well, that’s a bit harsh – when is your energy low)?Once you know those hours, intend to get your to-do list mostly finished inside of those hours each day. If I didn’t prioritize my goals/time in this way, I wouldn’t be able to get half of the things finished that I do each day.

      My schedule is this:

      05:45 Wake up
      06:00 Emails
      06:30 Social Media
      07:30 Misc Business/Computer tasks
      09:00 Breakfast/Reading
      09:30 Creative Work
      11:00 Reading Break
      11:30 Yoga
      12:00 Lunch/Reading
      12:30 Writing
      03:30 Hiking
      05:30 Dinner
      06:30 Family timeIt may surprise you to see that my work day is generally only 8 hours. When I travel, this schedule and my work hours are out the window. But when I’m home, I’ve got an awesome routine.I work fast, efficiently, with a clear mind and I really get things done. Find your opening and try to take advantage of it!


    1. Surround yourself with what UPLIFTS you. Sometimes changing our surroundings takes time. Let me share some of my choices with you for context. I grew up in Pennsylvania, went to college in Philly, moved to Los Angeles…all knowing that I hate cities. I thought there would be opportunity there, that it was necessary…some of this is practical, and some of it is sheep-talk (in other words, listening to what other people said because it seemed easier than forging my own path). I made the choice the move away to a tiny town in the mountains and I’ve never looked back. I left behind what I knew for a place where we knew no one and I LOVE IT. Why did I do it?

      – I know I hate cities, so why stay in one?
      – I wanted to be in a place where no one knew me at all so that there was no expectation.
      – I wanted sunshine. A lot of sunshine. I moved to a very sunny place.
      – I wanted nature all around me. I’ve got mountains, creeks, forests, desert. Everything.
      – I wanted a health conscious place where I could find yummy vegan treats. Check!
      – Mostly, though, I wanted a place that I felt joyous to wake up to every day. And I do. So much.

      I know what at least half of you are thinking. But, I can’t do that, because I have ________ (insert family, job, responsibility, etc.). I get it, I truly do. And some would say I made the selfish choice, moving away from everyone I know and love. But you know what? Selfish choices aren’t always as selfish as they seem.We punish people so harshly for desiring a better life. For creating a better life. It is, I believe, those people who create the life they want to live that set an example for others who believe they could do the same (and especially for those who never considered it). Let the life you create be an example to your family, to your children, to your friends that you can choose the life you want to live.That puts practicality aside, of course. This might not be an option for you right now, or not even in a couple of years, but you can work toward it.And if that isn’t an option right now, let’s talk about smaller pieces of joy you can put into your life. Surround yourself with plants, or art on your walls that you love, or frequent outings to your favorite places.The more joy I feel when I wake up, the more productive I am. Simple as that.


    1. TREATS! What kind of productivity list would this be without mentioning treats? I am obsessive about rewarding myself. I seek a pat on the back any chance I get. In fact, my husband likes to say that I pat myself on the back because I don’t count on anyone else to do it for me. Fist bump! How do I reward myself? In three simple ways:

      – The SMALL reward: I cross something off of my to-do list. I equate that to-do list with my worth for the day. That sounds massively wrong, I know. And I don’t mean it in a major way, but listen…I work for myself. I have no boss, no one telling me if I’m doing this right, if I’m doing a good job, etc. So, when I finish a task (whether it was done right or not), that gets tallied into my worth for the day. I wish I could find a better word, but it’s not coming. Suggestions below, please!

      – The MEDIUM reward: FOOD. Let’s face it, I love food. I love it SO, so much. My rewards are usually health based because I try not to eat added sugars or processed foods. But they are still so good! Here are my big food rewards: Avocado toast on THIS BREAD (I make a batch every 2 weeks or so), chocolate nice cream (or a chocolate smoothie – same recipe, more cashew milk), or applesauce.

      – The LARGE reward: TV. Some days I’m just over it. Over productivity, over my routine. So, I plop down on the couch and I watch Merlin or Doctor Who, or some other silly sci-fi show, or even a travel show.


    1. NOTHING is better put off until later. In our deepest of hearts, we know this to be true. That is why I don’t procrastinate. That was a lie. I do procrastinate sometimes, but rarely, and I never enjoy myself when I do. I’ve become much better at doing things right when I see they need to be done. From emails every morning to categorizing receipts for taxes, dishes when I finish eating (sidenote: I hate dishwashers) and cleaning when I finish a shoot.

      Make your life a LIFE OF NOW. When you see something amiss, do something about it. I feel good when I do this because I feel proud and productive, and it keeps me physically organized as well as mentally organized. If I know that my possessions and tasks are taken care of, I have more space for creativity.


    1. Depression, Anxiety, and downright sadness. This is not a funny point or one that I enjoy pointing out, but I must. I wake up some days and I am not okay. I wake up some days and I feel like my life is a mess, like it’s not worth working for, like everything I do is crap, like no one cares, etc. I’m willing to bet that everyone reading this has had some semblance of those feelings. It is serious and I do not suggest you SOLDIER THROUGH IT. I do NOT suggest that. There are times and places where you must – I just taught a 2-day workshop immediately after getting off a plane from Greece with the flu. Trust me, a large part of me wanted to call it and stay in bed all day, but that was not the time for self-care.
      (It turned out to be a time for losing my voice while piling into a bed with 40 people. And it was awesome…No explanation necessary. If you were there in Maine, you know.)

      Instead, consider some softness toward yourself. When I wake up in those moods, I sometimes try to push through it and get things done. And you know what? I don’t do good work. I just don’t. Listen to your heart, mind and body. When it is upset, tend to it. A day spent caring for yourself is preparation for a much better week ahead.


    1. Try the BUDDY SYSTEM. It is much easier, in my opinion, to stay productive when you are held accountable. If you are not a naturally self-starting individual, set up a little team. If you don’t know anyone who fits the role, COMMENT BELOW AND MAKE FRIENDS! Do you have any idea how amazing this community is?! Gosh golly. It seriously is.What I suggest is this: Set a time to meet twice a month on video chat. Talk about these 4 points:

      1. What did you accomplish?
      2. What are you proud of?
      3. What do you think you could have done better?
      4. What are your new goals for the next 2 weeks?I suggest making your group anywhere from 2-5 people so that the calls don’t last too long.


    1. Figure out what motivates YOU. I said in the first topic that we would talk about FOLLOW THROUGH. All I can do is tell you what motivates me, what keeps me moving forward. I can also tell you what stops me from moving forward: Fear of wasting money, fear of wasting time, fear of something being difficult. Let me tell you something that on bad days I have a hard time believe, but I know to be true: Time spent getting closer to your dreams and goals is never wasted. Live within your means, yes, but mean to live beyond that. Work for it.I told you about my motivations – finishing a to do list, food, hiking…but those are superficial. What truly motivates me is knowing that I am paving myself a glorious road to my dreams.It boils down to growing your confidence. Anyone, ANYONE..can you hear me…ANYONE can do this. Anyone can decide, at any time in their life, that they are worthy of pursuing goals to get to dreams. ANYONE can change the course of humanity, can make a dent in society, can weave together a better life. Let that ANYONE be YOU. Let yourself sink into your dreams.


The Giveaway!

Well my friends, here we are – the ending. And I want to host another giveaway. This time I’ll be giving away 5 spaces for a group chat. THE BUDDY SYSTEM, hey! Comment below your thoughts on this topic and tell me if you’re interested in being chosen to participate in a Motivation/Accountability Call.

The call will be: 1 hour, 5 participants + me, and we’ll continue the discussion about productivity, business, creativity, and I’ll be there to help each of you move forward with your big goals. 

What motivates you?
What percentage of the time do you feel productive?
When are your most productive hours?

P.S. This is my new desk setup. I had two desks from when I had an assistant and it never really got used. It just sat there gathering dust. So, I made a step toward my dreams and I moved the desk into my bedroom, which is too big and empty, so that I have a designated writing space. It feels so good to make this change, not only symbolically of my continued commitment to my writing craft, but physically.

P.P.S. Here is a list of ways that I organize my business. I hope this is helpful to any other artists out there!

  1. I use an Excel spreadsheet in Google Drive to keep track of prints that I create. I add it to the list no matter if I’m keeping it at my house, sending to a gallery, a charity event, or sending to a client. I keep the following information in that spreadsheet: title, size, edition number, paper type, sold or unsold, who has it, and any additional notes I may want to take.
  2. I do the same thing for licensed images! Except for licensing, I write the following information: title, type of project (book, album, etc.), who licensed it, exclusivity, price they paid (this varies based on many variables unlike print sales), date/contract length.
  3. Yet another Excel spreadsheet! I do my taxes on a monthly basis, exporting my PayPal, credit card and debit card statements. I then record the following on each line: receipt type (physical vs online), type of cost (based on US tax categories), and what specifically that cost was for (photo shoot, print sale, etc.).
  4. I keep a filing cabinet for all of my paper statements and contracts.
  5. I keep a folder on my computer called “Stock” where I have every type of stock image separated into their own folders, like “birds”, “water”, “textures”, “smoke”, etc.
  6. I have contract templates for licensed image contracts, gallery contracts, model contracts, certificates of authenticity, invoices, and more. This means I can always use a pre-written document so I’m not starting from scratch.
  7. I use information packets to send to anyone inquiring about prints, events, etc. They are 1-2 page PDF documents that explain my rates, my topics – anything relevant that they might want to know presented in a beautiful way that they can easily reference anytime.
  8. Email templates! I get asked a lot of the same questions, and while it pains me not to answer every email with a long heartfelt reply, there are some emails that I can shorthand. A good example is that I get asked for interviews by students a couple of times daily and I couldn’t possibly do them all, so I have a template that I can send that gives them links to previous interviews I’ve done publicly.
  9. This one is obvious by now, but I structure my day very carefully! My magical to do lists! I use the “Tasks” feature in Google Mail to make to do lists in my email browser, but I tend to prefer physical lists. I make them as I finish my work day for the follow day. Like I said, GAME CHANGER.
  10. I photograph things that are of importance to me. For example, if I’m fortunate enough to be featured in a magazine, I photograph it. Chances are I don’t have space to keep all that content physically, so I keep digital records.
  11. I color code my costumes. Sounds silly? Let me convince you. I have about 50 costumes hanging in my garage. We built a rack just for them! I ABHOR hanging them up. I think I might be allergic. However, when I see my dresses hanging in a rainbow looking so fluffy, it makes me feel a little more accomplished. (I color-code my personal wardrobe as well).
  12. I charge my camera batteries immediately when I finish a photo shoot so I’m never low on battery power.
  13. I use a password scheme. I use the same root word for all of the websites I access for my business and just change the last few letters or numbers based on the website itself. Here is an example (that doesn’t follow my scheme at all, so let’s not try that…): Root word – Waterm3l0n  | Ending – Fac  This would be a great one for Facebook, as the password would be your root word, Waterm3l0n + your ending Fac (the first 3 letters of the website you’re on) = Waterm3l0nFac. Keep your root word, change the last 3 letters per website when you sign up. You can make up your own scheme! You’ll never forget a password again. You’re welcome.

I hope these quick tips help your business!

52 thoughts on “Make Motivation Your Superpower

  1. Great post Brooke! I really resonate with this. This Thursday I had an epiphany…I was cleaning my room and instead of my usual mental process of contaminating my time (I don’t have time for this, I should be doing something else, etc.) I saw it as this beautiful meditative process that is integral to producing art. Like we have to take care of our artist and get the obstacles (distractions) out of the way to free our minds and hearts to create our best work.

    I have been in a motivation/inspiration slump lately, so I really appreciate reading this. I have a new business idea/website that is really exciting, but I’m feeling stuck. And then I get bummed about that and it becomes a slippery slope. I need an accountability group SO badly. Pick me, pick me, pick me!

    1. Hi Bekkah! I LOVE hearing about your breakthrough! I feel the same. This past weekend I cleaned out my office and garage, filled my car with Goodwill donations, and reset. It was awesome. I’ll definitely let you know if you’re chosen (I sure would love to chat with you!). It’ll be a random selection 🙂

  2. I am looking for tools like you just outlined here. I realize that I need to prioritize and also become a better business woman to do professional photography. Since I am still working my day job, time is precious. I don’t care about t.v so that is a plus.
    I am getting more confident and feeling like I need to participate in a motivational session to give me a big boost. Perhaps you would like to give me a session to experience this?

    1. That’s great Diane! I wish I didn’t care about TV sometimes, but then I remind myself that it’s a good way to unwind. I’ll let you know if you’re a winner – it’ll be a random drawing 🙂

  3. Hi! Happy morning! So I totally relate to this post. Organization is definitely something I struggle with daily. Motivation though, well I motivated by being inspired, by deadlines and by being excited about a project, also by wanting to show my son that dreams and life passions are achievable (sometimes I need to remind myself too). Some days I’m definitely more productive then others, somedays im productive for 10-12 hours especially when working on something that excites me other days I have a 5-6 hr window. I think I should start waking up earlier and getting to it earlier, because I tend to be more productive from 10am-8pm it changes tho. Somedays I get so overwhelmed by what I need to do I start spinning and that’s completely the most unproductive thing I can do.

    1. Oh my goodness Crystal, when you said you’re motivated to show your son passion – my heart exploded! More of this!

  4. Good Morning!

    Now that was a great post! (another one albeit) — but so packed with inspiration on concrete example of how to organize one’s time.

    I am starting a new business (the “art” photography has to go on hold for the short term) with drone photo/videography here in France.

    Some days I am so organized and get a lot accomplished, and others, I allow little “non work” stuff to get in my way.

    I definitely tell myself to stop cleaning the house during “office hours” because I need to treat myself as a business.

    Thanks again for always being there.

    You’re a great inspiration.

  5. Hi Cookie!

    Thanks for writing another wonderful blog post. I don’t normally comment, I’m sorry, but I do read almost every single one of them!

    Right now is a huge time in my life, LOTS of changes are happening fast. School is almost done, I plan on moving away from everyone and going to LA, and continuing my dream of online teaching…but also hopefully something else… I’m definitely confused.

    There are so many things happening that keep pushing me away from photography. It’s like photography is a car driving away and I’m hanging on by the bumper, I really don’t want to let go!

    Very similar to you, I am motivated by living my dream life. I feel like I am definitely headed in the right direction right now, even though things are crazy. I have been wanting to move out of this state for years, and it is finally almost happening. It’s been amazing being a teacher throughout college, which I realize is definitely unusual for my age. I am not just a student.

    Productivity is hard for me. I either have days that are like 10% productive, or I dedicate an entire day and am extremely productive that day. I struggle with routine. I feel like I generally do the same things, but not necessarily in order.

    I think my most productive hours are between 11-3 PM. I like to wake up a little, listen to some music first and get my head in the right space before I begin doing something.

    I hope to be chosen for the buddy system, I definitely can say I really need it.


    1. I need a nickname for you, like…sprouts. I don’t know. Hmm.

      You do have a lot of change going on and you know I’m always here for you! Big hug!!

  6. I don’t know how you always manage this, but I really needed to hear this today (especially the part about how anyone can change their lives). This is something I TRULY believe, and most days have no problem accepting and believing in my biggest dreams as my future reality, but today that annoying little voice of self doubt popped up to contradict. I am SO grateful to you. I hope you know how much you have helped and inspired me (and I’m sure many many others) to continue pursuing our dreams.

    I am super organized (feeling pretty proud that I actually do all the same things as your PPS list – though I’m still trying to figure out the difference between a bill of sale and an invoice :p) but I do struggle with the follow through on occasion, mostly when it comes to stuff I find boring like making contract templates and figuring out how taxes work. I would love to chat, as I think you are pretty awesome and could definitely use some accountability in my life. 😀

  7. I have an enormous passion for creating mental health awareness through art/photography. I am passionate about sharing my journey with others through my art, it makes me alive, it brings me joy and it helps me to dream big dreams. I’m motivated and inspired by successful people such as yourself….I’m inspired by your art and by your business sense, it helps me to see that my dreams can come true and it keeps me on track. I’m also motivated by my 4 kids. I’m working hard to teach them to dream big dreams through example!
    Not a huge percentage of my day is productive. I feel like I have spurts of productive times of the day, usually between 9-11 in the morning and again at around 1-2pm….sometimes after dinner, but I prefer to hold that time for family time.
    Thank you for these incredible blog posts, you really help to keep me going!!!!

  8. Thank you so much for sharing and encouraging me to think a new way. I am a hobbyist or however you call it and I know photography is what excites my soul. Your work is so inspirational and thank you for helping me find my way to this new art form. I would love to be accountable but I can’t “run with the big dogs”. I need a group of true beginners if there is such a thing.
    I am in awe and gratitude of/for you! Always.

  9. I can totally relate and am inspired by your approach to organized chaos. I suffer from being too quick out of the gate and very easily get thrown off into other directions before an idea or project really gets the legs to see itself to completion. I’m either living in the moment or dreaming about a big/broad future. I’m not good with structure and anytime I try to keep a routine, it never seems to stick. I rarely know what I am going to do or create when I wake up in the morning. I wonder if I am even working towards my bigger creative goals when I do a smaller project. I am one of the lucky few who has no real obligations. I’m trying to start my creative photography business and have very few other responsibilities. Looking to up my motivation and output to make the most of the time I have

  10. Brooke,

    I just finished reading this post, as I enjoyed my lunch on my break. This is “me” time, and I decided to spend it on your wonderful post.

    Thank you for sharing your tips and thoughts with us, I loved your perspective, and I find that I can apply many of your suggestions in my day to day tasks.

    I loved it all, but this… This almost made me tear up: “Let the life you create be an example to your family, to your children, to your friends that you can choose the life you want to live” That is my dream.

    Many blessings to you, and I hope you get to achieve all of your dreams.

  11. Brooke, great post. On my side, I’m very organized, or at least I think so. I’m have a scientific background. I did many commercial photo projects like weddings in the past. Last year I was on the verge of a depression, and it is very very rare that a professional photographer talk about these things and about anxieties. So at the end of last year I decide to do what I like and do photo projects for me. I’m planning/organizing projects as we speaks with models. I follow your work for about 2yo now and I saw your process and I will imitate some of your technics. The buddy concept is always great, the problem is, like to write, to find the right person or group. I was a leader of one those groups, but very soon the group when dead. To get a mentor where I am to push myself is also difficult to find. If you wish to talk about photography contact me, I’m open. I also speak French.

  12. Hi Brooke I would greatly adore and allow that call to impact my life

    What motivates me is storytelling. Allowing others to tap into feelings and emotions that have been suppressed for weeks, years, decades. That the precise pairing of visuals and my music, and there is a huge release whether burst out laughing or scream-crying. RELEASE TO LET GO. what motivates me is helping others heal. I have been given a unique set of skills and my own majik to help especially women. My original dream when I left college with a degree in International Business and Entrepreneurship was to help women overseas create their own businesses and empower them. From there I got pregnant and decided to stay state side. I got into refugee resettlement and especially helped the women and children, and men to restart their lives. From there’s became a energy healer and Reiki master worker and teacher, and now work heavily in film as an actress, musician and makeup artist for film. Truthfully all those things are in my bag of tricks but I feel I must choose a direction to push forward strongly.

    I feel productive 50 percent of the time, 30 percent truly productive. Because my energy is dispersed and chaotic across these fields. It feels like I can never get as far as if I selected my dream, and allowed everything else to fall into that, or fall away. And I get de motivated without strong goals and clarity. This year I need clarity. I see the power and magic I have to influence others, allow them to not feel alone. I want to tap into that. I want 70 percent of my time to be clear and focused and, be willing to take the step necessary to live a life I love.

    My most productive hours are either 7-9 am if I can focus and not taking daughter to school, or 6-10 pm. I used to be a morning person but things have sure changed being a momma to two goddesses, and life balance. I find I wax and wane between huge inspiration and can’t do things fast enough (anxiety), and feeling depressed and pushed back.


  13. Good morning Brooke! This post is amazing. I have been stuck in a slump, questioning myself about what I’m trying to do, if it makes sense, if I can make my dreams come true. My website is under construction, as in I’m rebuilding it from the ground up. But there are so many things that pop up in my daily life that I feel water logged. So over the weekend, I soul searched and today I was feeling a little lost. I decided to look at Instagram, and there was your image, leading me here, and in perfect timing. I thank you, for sharing, for being so so inspiring, for being you.

    Love and light to you!

  14. Dear Brooke thanks for this article. I’m honestly shocks how productive you are in the early morning. My problem’s always been that I love to sleep late into the morning. The time you did 5 tasks already I’m waking up! I learned from that to be quick in what I do, when I start I’m very productive but I still think I miss something not being able to get out of the bed earlier. I’d love to know more about how you manage to stay so focus and motivated so I hope I can be part of the coaching group. Big hugs Federica

  15. If ever I needed a boost, it’s now. I’m three years into my business, which has been my primary art, and I am a mix of scattered creativity, passion for new challenges and overall angst over what I’m in fact doing. I’m also a teacher, so motivating other and being motivated myself are constant challenges as the two sometimes conflict. My energies are sometimes in opposite directions. Add to that the realities of family life, bills, and a full life, I welcome every word you write here. Thank you! Probably the most difficult challenges for me are sticking to the tasks ina disciplined way, since my priorities demand attention when they need them. This, carving out time to explore, create, guide, mentor, manage and function all seem to be in a whirl. I’d love to share my experience and be a part of a buddy system to help guide me. I love everything about my life right now, but I don’t feel like I can maximize everything I am blessed with. Thanks always for your honest self-appraisals and reflections, Brooke. They mean a lot to virtually share in them with you.

  16. Shucks! I forgot! I am motivated by the deep desire to create. Create photos and moving into composites, create a better life for myself, my children and grandchildren, create more time in my life for things I love (especially hiking, photography, and family time). I am most creative/ productive at night and my prime hours are between 10pm and 4am.

    Love and light to you.

  17. I’ve always been terrible at routine, but lately I’ve been trying my best. It’s hard being a freelancer, you never know where they day is going to lead you, but I always have my morning routine to make me feel like I’m productive.
    I make my bed first thing, straighten up my area, then get my coffee and take care of my animals and my plants. After that, I check my emails, then the day can go anywhere depending on what I have to do.
    I am such a night owl, but you’ve been inspiring me to wake up earlier. Once I woke up at 5 am by accident, so I got out of bed and was amazed at how much I got done before 10 am. I felt so happy, so I’m gonna work my way up to an early wake up.
    I use the wunderlist app on my computer to organize my task lists, and I love it! I’d love the opportunity to chat with you and other creators, so please add me to the drawing. 🙂

  18. So funny that you write about this. I am reading “When” by Daniel Pink right now and he talks about “when” are your most productive hours, how timing can either make or break something, etc.
    I, too, moved away from a big over-crowded city. I wanted to see more nature and our new home has mountain views! Something I never thought possible. There are also so many parks and natury things to do near by. I just love it!

    Okay so regarding your questions

    WHAT MOTIVATES YOU? I am motivated by proving to myself that I can dream as big as the sky and accomplish those dreams. I am on a mission to follow my heart, whole-heartedly, and see where it takes me. We so often choose to ignore that voice and follow “reason” instead (you know how you were talking about self-care?)
    WHAT PERCENTAGE OF THE TIME DO YOU FEEL PRODUCTIVE? Depends. In my current job about 60-70%. I am about to embark on persuing an Artist career full-time so we shall see. Looking back at when I had my wedding photography business I would say 30-50%. This time, I am soaking in as much information as possible and working on designing my schedule to be more productive and trying to hold myself accountable.
    Morning for sure! 7am-11am although I get up at 4:30am to try to write my book for 30 minutes before my “self-care” hour before breakfast and work.

    I would love to be considered for this giveaway and it is very awesome of you to do this for people <3

  19. Talk about timing and relevancy! Thank you so much for this post! I have been struggling with motivation too. I love shooting and the creative process. The struggle is with creating something authentic…something that goes beyond the superficial. Hence…I ride the motivation struggle bus far too often!

    Your comment about intention resonated with me though. I am realizing that I have to CHOOSE how I spent my time. I started forcing myself to be intentional in how I spend my time and in my choices. I’ve been pushing myself to start creating again but I don’t have a circle of other creatives to engage. My friends and family zone out when I start talking about things that I am working on. Pick me! Pick me! I need an accountability group!

    1. What motivates me? I too am a list maker so checking things off my to-do-list is HUGE. Oh…seeing one of my images matted and framed always gets me going!

    2. % of time most productive: Ugh…not as much as I want. I spend way too much time surfing IG and FB. I need to get that blocker you mentioned.

    3. Most productive hours? Depends. I need long, blocks of uninterrupted time to create. Most times, it is Sat/Sun early morning / afternoon.

  20. Hi Brooke! This is the first time I’ve commented. I love your work. I’m obsessively watching all your CreativeLive classes in the evening. When I’m not watching your classes, I’m watching Photoshop classes. I relate to this post! I’ve struggled since my divorce a few years ago. So many mornings I wonder if I’ll even make it. I raised 3 kids (which was awesome and is still rewarding). But, I put my husband and kids first for years. I worked at home as a part-time medical transcriptionist and hated it. Now I’m learning to support myself with my photography. I was a visual arts and communication major in college. I thought I would have time to build a business and work on my art after the divorce. Unfortunately, the ex didn’t hold up his end of the legal agreement. Now I’m scrambling to make ends meet. My art photography is my passion and love. I’m using event and real estate photography to help pay the bills (which I do not love, but it’s better than working for the man!) I’m also writing for a website content company in the mornings as well. I relate to you so much because I love my photography, and I love to write almost as much! I have a website that is an art-selling platform, and I keep a blog there as well. But, it’s a total mess as far as continuity. Just trying to find myself and figure it all out. Trying not to feel completely lost in the meantime. I hope you know what an inspiration you are! And a personal conversation would be amazing! I am MOTIVATED

    1. Arrgh!! Sorry for the super long comment and the fact that I accidentally hit submit before I was ready.

      I’m MOTIVATED to succeed personally.
      I feel PRODUCTIVE about 70% of the time.
      My MOST productive hours are in the morning – from about 6 am to 1 pm

  21. Wow! That was a long post with a ton of information!
    I have to get more organized, I waist way too much time, and it makes me mad but I just keep doing it! So I am going to follow this to a T.
    My best time for writing is from 10:30 pm on, I am normally the only one up and it just clicks. But I want to change this, I hate getting up late, especially in the summer. In the winter it’s cold, it’s dark, who cares! LOL
    I would love to throw my hat into the ring for a live support group chat thing.

    For anyone out there that doesn’t have anyone for a suporte budy, there is a Facebook group that some friends and I started call “The Light Space – A challenge group”. We named it in honor of you Brooke, because we all meet through your FB Challenge classes, and we became really great friends! The group now has 104 members, so I know we could set up “Buddies” organizer for anyone. There are members from all over the world, so time zones aren’t a problem. 🙂

    Thanks for the recipes! I love frozen banana drinks, you can also add a little coffee. 😉 And that bread looks great! 😀

  22. Thank you so much for writing this!! I so get what you mean about “worth” being based on productivity and I think a lot of freelancers can relate. It’s an easy thing to get caught up in, but by focusing on the path right in front of you it can go a long way. Thank you so much for including all you did at the end of this blog post about keeping the business side organized, it can get so overwhelming without a system.

    I moved to the US from Canada to be with my husband and have been yearning for a creative buddy system- I love this idea so much!

  23. Hi Brooke, Thanks so much (again!) for the inspiration and practical advice. I always love to see your name in my inbox.

    I am motivated by my morning meditation time, song lyrics and by other photographer’s/painter’s beautiful work. I have a variety of notebooks that I keep on my desk, in my purse, next to my couch, etc. for writing down lyrics that inspire me. Often I’ll be listening to music and I can see the image that I want to create in mind’s eye. So I write the lyric and quickly sketch the idea. I have a selection of fine art photographers that I follow on Instagram. Whenever I’ve got down time (usually waiting for an appointment or stuck in some line or another) I pull out my phone and look through the latest images. Never fails to spark my imagination 🙂

    I feel productive about 60% of the time. When I’m not directly working on my to do list, I’m actively open to inspiration from my current environment– whether it’s the changing seasons off my home deck, driving in my car, or from a new city that I’m visiting. I have been working on cutting out “wasted” time on the internet and I love the browser timer. I didn’t know about that.

    I’ve realized that I have two productive times in the day. From 8:00 am- 1:00 pm and from 8:00 p.m – 11:00 pm. Other times I cook, eat, exercise, shop, chat & play with friends, daughters & grand kids, and enjoy time with my husband–who also counts in that 8:00-11:00 time as we shift from home offices to couch/laptops–listen to music and occasionally share what we’re working (or wasting time) on.

    Unless I have a looming deadline– weekends are for lazing, reading, hiking, photographing, and spending time with loved ones– in, on or near water (my sacred, happy place.)

  24. Holy crap Brooke this post is amazing and I feel like I need to print it out, it’s so full of helpful information.
    To answer your questions:
    Healing motivates me. Healing for myself and healing for others. It doesn’t have to be momentous. Even a small moment of feeling seen for someone can be the beginning to a lifetime of healing. My creativity, and when I teach with a local non profit, are all about finding and sharing the tools in that process. So for me it means that maybe not all of my creativity comes in the form of a work of art. But if the output helps someone else towards a greater feeling of wholeness, then I feel fulfilled!
    Coming from a background in finance and marketing, I know how to make myself productive all day. But that’s not healthy and leads to burnout. I’m most productive either in the morning or at night. Mid day needs to be about walks, and learning and resting the brain a little bit! <3

  25. I love the organizational take aways that you listed here. Lots of wonderful advice! It tickles me pink that you color coordinate your wardrobe. I do that as well and get lovingly teased by one of my best friends for it!
    And I’d love to be considered for The Buddy System! ❤️

  26. Great and helpful post!
    I am the most productive when I mindfully make it a goal. When I make a list and go to bed and wake up early, I am usually an unstoppable force. My motivation is real connection. The kind without ego or agenda. That makes me feel alive. That feeling I had the entire time at PPC17. It motivates me to want show people that connection also.
    I would love to be considered for the motivation/accountability call. For me, sometimes I get in my own head and it holds me back from progressing. But now that I am starting to believe in myself more, maybe it’s time to give it a try. Why not jump against the current and see where the water takes me?

  27. I consider myself to be a rather productive person. But I keep doing things at my work and house and only then I go to the computer and start working on my pictures. So I spread the time for photography according to the time left when tons of things have already been done. Except for photography. I guess it happens because photography is not my job. And i feel guilty doing it when not all the work is done, dinner cooked and so on. So I have to really work on the first thing you’ve mentioned Brook. It is setting priorities. I would love to be a part of motivational call.

  28. i do really well having accountability to someone else … but struggle finding good accountability partners! so many good tips and ideas in this post, thanks! I’m struggling to figure out a good workflow and establishing better habits. A big challenge for me is an unpredictable heath condition that can make planning hard, but I do need more structure than what I’m currently incorporating heh! I’d love to participate in a motivation/accountability call!

  29. Dear Brooke, thank you for your post. It really give me hope that this yea I could finally start my business going. all your remarks make so much sense to me and are so helpful.

    Being a mother of two children under three, my motivation is found in my children’s happiness and in my desire to create. I want to be with my children and in the same time I want my children to have a good model in their mum that follows her calling. Therefore, I believe that being part of the buddy System would really help me make giants steps ahead in fulfilling my dream. At the moment I think I am productive only 40 percent of my time, as I am working from home and I have a 6 months old boy with me. Also due to the new family changes I think I most productive in the morning even before 6 a.m. although I have never been a morning person. Hope we will meet to talk more about this. Have a wonderful and creative week.

  30. Yes please for the motivation call!
    I need to stop using excuses! Fitting in a creative life with a family life can be hard and I find my photography often gets left to the bottom of the pile or vice versa; my Photography takes over and then the washing piles up!
    Your to-do list sounds like it might help me achieve a balance I so desperately need, will definitely be giving it a go!
    Thank you Brooke

  31. This post is so full of incredibleness! I would love to be considered for the motivation call.

    I am motivated by crossing things off my list and by daydreaming about the life I want for myself. I often sit and think about what it would feel like to structure my day the way that serves me. This keeps me going through the rejection.

    I feel productive about 60% of the time, but unfortunately sometimes my productive energy goes into my job and my photography suffers.

    My productive hours are 7:30am – 1:00pm. Once afternoon hits, I’m no good!

  32. Motivating post! Definitely some nuggets of great wisdom coming at a much needed time. I’d be very interested in a buddy system call if chosen!
    WHAT MOTIVATES YOU? sunshine! my kids! flowers! the mountains!summer!
    WHAT PERCENTAGE OF THE TIME DO YOU FEEL PRODUCTIVE? I am productive maybe 25% of the time when it comes to art. Have on a lot of hats at the moment and how to split time is a struggle.
    WHEN ARE YOUR MOST PRODUCTIVE HOURS?Mid-morning is my best time. 8-12 and could probably stretch that to 2ish. Its odd that that is my new normal as I used to be a hardcore night owl!

  33. Hi Brooke!

    I love this post. I was a huge procrastinator and often felt too depressed to really be productive. I’d keep things up for some months at a crazy pace until I’d burn up all my energy. It took a huge turn of events to get me to look at my life and make changes. My productivity peak is definitely in the morning, between 6am and 11am. I love waking up when it’s getting light out. It makes me soooo happy. My boyfriend hates it :p. I used to be able to pack up my gear and go out for photoshoots and I loved it. I moved to the city though for my dayjob and it’s been a real dealbreaker in the creative department. But I make sure to go some place that inspires me to create every weekend. I also decided to make more stock images so I have options when I’m holed up inside. I made a blogpost about how I’m upping my creative game for my website which is going live soon. I also make a ton of lists. I have a Yucky list for the things I absolutely hate and make sure that’s as empty as possible. What motivates me is knowing that I can shape my own life and that you have to work for your dreams. Bad days come and go and breaks are definitely necessary for mental peace sometimes but you can find happiness if you search for it. That was a tough lesson for me to learn and I still need reminders at times. 🙂

    I’d love to be in the buddy system but I’m terrible at logistics lol and not sure about the time difference since I live in Belgium. Also I might be too late with this comment :).

    Thank you for the tips!


  34. What motivates me? Exchanging ideas and work with others.
    What percentage of the time do you feel productive? 50%. I really struggle with pushing myself vs taking a break.
    When are your most productive hours?
    4pm-8pm. I work full time as a federal employee. So, I try to accomplish as much as I can when I get home. Through trial and error, I have found that I need to start “winding

  35. Dear Brooke,

    I so loved reading this blog post. (To be honest I love probably almost all your post. They never disappoint and always deliver food for thought). This one hit especially close to home as I’ve been trying to implement mayor changes into my life in the last couple of months and I can feel how I get more and more productive but I also have those days where I feel like everything is slipping away again and it scares the living s**t out of me. Those days are usually when I’m not well rested and so fighting my eating disorder that I have been dealing with for over then 10 years now gets harder and takes up a lot of willpower and energy and makes it exhausting to focus on anything else. So these days I try to prioritize sleep and healthy food, meditation and exercise. It sometimes feels like I then don’t have enough time left to pursue my creative goals but I also have to admit to myself that fixing this area of my life needs to be a priority because otherwise the lack of mental clarity and energy will keep me indefinitely from creating all the pictures and videos I dream about. I have been thinking about finding accountability partners but so far haven’t been able to really implement a regular schedule with the friends I asked about it because we all were lacking the necessary discipline so if anyone is looking for an accountability partner I’d be super keen. Thank you again Brooke for sharing your thoughts and tips on this topic and for creating this unique and awesome community. ♡

  36. I am motivated by knowing that my best work is ahead of me, but only if I do the work. Generally, I’m pretty productive most of the time, but I have a hard time staying productive part of the year because in my job I get deployed overseas for 4 months every year. I don’t mean this as an excuse. I should be able to have a routine and stick with it, but just when I feel I’m making a lot of forward progress towards my goals, it’s time to leave again and it throws me off every time. It’s my biggest pain point and I just haven’t figured out how to keep being productive while I’m away from home and hold myself accountable. Better systems would certainly help and having someone other than me to be feel somewhat accountable to would also probably help… Thanks for the great tips!

  37. Hi, This was very helpful to read about right now. I am in a period of change and upheaval and it is challenging to balance being productive and creative while juggling family needs and other things that happen day to day. I could definitely use an accountability/motivational call lol. I am trying to create more and take more time for myself to learn and practice my art, I think some of the tips you listed in this post I will try! Thank you so much for this!

  38. I, too, like a pat on the back as motivation. And following through on tasks used to be so hard for me but I’ve gotten much better at not putting things off. I go through ebbs and flows of productivity. I will have days where I tackle all the projects and then there will be a day where nothing gets accomplished. I find that my most productive time is morning. Usually up to about 1 o’clock. After that, my brain goes mushy and I head to yoga or for a walk or I do something related to keeping my home clean. I’m very interested in being chosen for a group call!

  39. First of all…I am oh so very interested in being chosen to participate in a Motivation/Accountability Call as I am struggling with having any motivation if I am completely honest.
    I do not feel productive the majority of the time.
    My most productive hours are the hours I have alone…when everyone else is asleep…
    Man, I sound like such a downer! Lol
    It is fantastically wonderful that you have devoted time to this topic. It is actually nice to know that you struggle with these issues! Even if we can’t participate in your group call-thank you for the post. It is so helpful!

  40. Hi Brook,

    First of all, I have to tell you that I love your work. I’m sure a lot of people have told you this a million of times…
    I try to motivate my self every day, unfortunately it doesn’t always work… I have a full day job and I don’t have always time to make pictures and then work them on photoshop.
    My life is gonna change soon and I’m really afraid of what’s gonna happen next… New job (or not..) studying everything is confusing and I’m really afraid. But anyway, I’m not the best organized person… lol And sometimes I wish I would be.
    At least I have my morning routine with my cat.
    Sorry for my English, my mother language is French…

    Thanks you for you this great post and I hope to read more from you. ( I’m new here☺️)

  41. So. Introvert here. Accomplished career professional in college administration. Of an age where I can honestly say, enough, retire from that. Now, time to find ME.. Intermediate to expert level self taught photographer (not my career) who NEEDS photography to get through life. Hide, Explode (yin-yang) in doing photography and digital expression, Mostly abstract because the world is too complicated to boil down. Thankful for your openness, showing me the way to be me, honestly, without grandstanding. Just authentic struggles, universal dilemmas, mostly ones I think will overtake me… until I pick up the camera or sit at the computer or learn there are others like me… out there. Hello, others. and Thank You.

  42. Hello Brook, thank you so much for posting such an informative and motivating blog post.
    I love what you wrote.
    I am planning on either printing it, or just re-writing it in this new motivation book/journal I am starting, to help keep me more focused on work and the like.

    It would honestly be an absolute honor to be a part of your motivation/accountability call. I do feel like something like this, right now, could be exactly what I need to get to that next level I have been oh so desiring for so long.

    Thanks Brook, for helping to make the process of opening up a little bit easier.

    All the best,
    Angela Butler
    (Angela Butler Photography )

  43. What motivates me is a vision I develop about how a photography project will look when it is completed. This vision helps me plan the tasks that I must accomplish and I attack them with determination. I am very efficient (80-90%_ about getting this done.

    Where I almost fail… is the post processing. I can’t make artistic decisions. I can’t commit myself to finish the images because I’m afraid my work won’t live up to my original vision. I start procrastinating and become very inefficient.

    I’m stuck and fearful. Help.

  44. What motivates me is a vision I develop about how a photography project will look when it is completed. This vision helps me plan the tasks that I must accomplish and I attack them with determination. I am very efficient (80-90%) about getting this done.

    Where I almost fail… is the post processing. On my current project I can’t make artistic decisions. I can’t commit myself to finish the images because I’m afraid my work won’t live up to my original vision. I’m procrastinating and have become very inefficient even when I am working during my most productive hours (10-2 AM).

    I’m stuck and fearful. Help.

    (Yes I’d like to do the telephone session with you)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *