5 steps to a more productive you

We all have the same hours and minutes in the day, but we definitely don’t choose to use them all in the same way. You see someone you admire and think…if I only had the time (or the motivation) that they do, I could accomplish those things too.


The not-so-secret thing is…you do. You just aren’t focusing your attention where it needs to be…or you’re focusing too much attention in too many areas. I fall into this trap all too often.


We get so caught up in being busy these days that we forget to buckle down and just do the work that needs to get done. We think that we must be successful if we have to keep turning invitations down or if we simply have no time to relax because we’re so busy. The truth is…we’re not focusing. Multi tasking was great in the late 90s when it meant that your computer could do more than one thing at a time…that made us more efficient. Until it didn’t. How many tabs are open right now on your computer? (I have 58…in one screen. Nothing to be proud of.)

5 steps to a more productive you

  1. Get up on time, get dressed and make your bed - when you get up when you intend to (no snoozing) you’re giving yourself validation that you follow through with your promises, especially to yourself. When you get dressed in the morning you’re telling yourself that you’re ready to take on your day and when you make your bed you’re giving yourself an easy win. You’re taking a small amount of time to tell yourself that you’re capable and already getting things done…keep up the good work here.

  2. Clean your work area, no piles, no out of area items in your space - when you have a clean and organized work area (a desk, your kitchen, your room) it helps you be more productive because you aren’t worrying about cleaning up before you can get focused on your work.

  3. Use a planner, use a to-do list - keep your planner nearby, use it diligently and plan for you week and plan for your days (at the beginning and the end of each day). Prioritize your days to get the things that you need to get done and plan for potential distractions…see #4.

  4. Reduce distractions and minimize distractions - block out your time to get things done during times when there are minimal distractions going on in your day. Keep your computer clean - the fewer tabs open the better (oh how I struggle with this…) and turn notifications off on your phone and computer and set specific times to check and answer emails so that you don’t get sidetracked.

  5. Take breaks - when you have scheduled breaks you know that you’ll have time to do things for you…so you can stay off of Facebook and Instagram and Pinterest. And during your breaks…set a timer so you get back to your task at hand when your break is over.

What are your best productivity hacks? There are so many other things that you can do to set yourself up for success and so I would love to hear what your favorites are.


5 second rule | review

I read this book, The 5 Second Rule by Mel Robbins, some time ago but thought that it was a great book to revisit. I’ve been struggling a bit with getting myself out of bed when I want to and knew that I needed to re-read this book. It was exactly what I needed.


I first heard of Mel Robbins via a Ted Talk about getting out of your own way. I loved her way of speaking and really valued her story. I knew I needed to read her book. If you haven’t heard of her, take some time and go watch her Ted Talk, it’s well worth it.


The premise is simple…I already have the tools needed, already have the dreams and desires. I’m just lacking the discipline to keep going. Her no nonsense approach helps me take the guesswork and the excuses out of my day…when I’m focused. Everyone loses focus every now and then (at least that’s what I’m telling myself) so getting back to these basics is perfect for me. One of my favorite quotes is above and the theory behind it is to give yourself little wins…get out of bed when the alarm goes off, make your bed, stay true to your word. Doing this builds confidence in yourself. You become the kind of person who does what they say they will do - even when you’re just saying it to yourself.


I loved her chapter on worry. I struggle with worry and find that it distracts me from so much, especially following my dreams…that and procrastination. And she talks about that, too. She quotes William Wordsworth - “to begin, begin”. It’s so simple. Her information about procrastination was very eye opening for me. And when I understand it better and how my mind is playing tricks on me, it’s easier to push past my procrastination and stress.

I love that her book is all about courage, finding the courage, creating the courage and that this courage can change your life…in little ways that add up to huge change. If you haven’t read her book, I encourage it for those that are feeling stuck, when you know what you need to do but keep hesitating, sabotaging yourself or just not putting one foot in front of the other. 5-4-3-2-1 yourself into a better you.

Have you read her book? I would love to hear your thoughts as well…and what book did you pick up next??


home office tour + photos

Working from home has its benefits and its low points. I love having a home office that allows me to work from home and still be close to the family. My office is right off of the kitchen and front room of the house - this allows me to be close to the center of the home and also look out the front windows to see what’s going on in our world.


My office is home to my photography work, my oils work and also a space for kids to do homework if needed. Lots of natural light and everyone keeps telling me to rip down the wallpaper, but it doesn’t bother me too much…


This office space has evolved over the years but I love where I’ve ended up. Check out this old post about finding inspiration for your home office on the Carrie Owens Photography blog. And if you want to see what it used to look like check out my old home office when I was more of a scrapbooker and photographer, things have slowly changed and I’m loving where my space is now.


I love my oily station in my office - so accessible to anyone in the family and the perfect spot to mix up some rollers or sprays or other fun stuff.

Do you have a home office? I would love to see! What are your biggest struggles with your home office space?


my 10 best monthly planning tips

Happy February! I love a new month and all of the possibility that it brings.


At the end of each month I go through and look back over my calendar from the previous month to see where I was successful and where I struggled. I then develop my strategy for the new month and look for as many areas that I can be successful and what potential roadblocks I can move before they even become an issue. Read on for my best monthly planning tips.



  1. Find some quiet time without distractions to work out your month…taking the time to plan out your month well allows for you to give yourself the best shot at being as successful and productive as you can be.

  2. Take some time to review your previous month…look for wins and areas of struggle. Were you hoping to get up early every morning and work out? How did that go? Is there a better time in your day for some of the things that you want to do but can’t figure out how to fit them in? What can - or should - you let go of?

  3. Make note of all of the “must do” items for the month - birthdays, sporting events, school obligations, appointments, bills or other deadlines. These need to go in your planner first.

  4. Think about recurring items, note these and make sure these have time to get done - think working out, work obligations, time for yourself etc…

  5. Take some time to meal plan - you don’t have to figure it all out if that isn’t your style, but take note of the days that will be late nights (practices or mom-taxi time) that make figuring out dinner a pain. If you can schedule some of those meals ahead of time, you will thank yourself later!

  6. Look at your finances, what big expenses are coming up? A birthday to plan for? Perhaps a vacation or extra sports expenses? Taking these things into consideration at the beginning of the month helps ensure you’ve got the funds to finish out the month as well.

  7. Are there any house projects that you need to consider? Spring cleaning or prepping the pipes for the colder temps? What about furnace filter replacements and other little tasks that often get pushed aside. Thinking about these items and making time for them helps your house run smoothly. While you’re at it - check on your vehicles as well. Oil changes and other routine maintenance.

  8. Your personal growth, self care and wellness. Like working out, hair cuts, reading, learning and other things that help you become your best you…see #9 as well.

  9. Review your goals for the year and really think about your big goals…the big scary ones that you dream about. What are you doing to make those reality? What little steps do you need to be taking every day to get yourself closer? I don’t know what your big dreams are…but write them down and start making progress. Time passes by so don’t just wait for these dreams, you need to do the work.

  10. Plan for some fun - just for you and for the entire family and friends. Make an effort to reach out to friends and family. This time is so important so that you don’t get worn down.


What do you do to ensure that your month is set up for success and that you aren’t letting things fall through the cracks? Are you a paper planner person or a digital planner expert? Paper all the way here with my Get To Work Book planner. It’s really the best planner


girl wash your face | review

I had noticed a lot of the people that I looked up to in business and social media had posted photos of this book…how they were so happy that they had grabbed a copy and how it was life changing. I’m all about life changing books -it’s what I’m always looking for when I grab a new book to read. I want something that is going to change me, allow me to see something differently than I had in the past, speak to me in a way I hadn’t been ready to hear before…


And this book delivered. And not only that…Rachel Hollis speaks to me and encourages me in a way that I need to hear. So I listen and I read and I watch all of the things that she puts out there.


When I read a personal development/self help/business book I often do it with highlighter in hand and notebook nearby. I read these types of books quickly, often skimming though the parts that might leave me less than inspired but making sure that I get all the good stuff down so I can revisit those thoughts that really resonated with me.


Have your read the book? Maybe listened to her podcast? Watched her Made For More documentary? I’d love to hear your thoughts…and have you pre-ordered her next book? I’m so ready to read it.


how to create a vision board

Many people (myself included) believe that a great way to help you visualize your dreams daily and work towards making them a reality is to create a vision board. These can be done in several ways and can be beneficial to working some of the things that you want in your life.


This is the second year in a row that I’ve made a physical vision board. I love having it out in the open and in a spot that I can see every day.

Why to create a vision board

  1. Creates a visual reminder of the goals + dreams that you have set for yourself

  2. A creative way to express yourself

  3. Selecting the images and arranging them helps solidify your goals

  4. Consistent visualization of your goals realized

  5. It’s just fun…trust me


how to create a vision board

  1. Use your Pinterest account and make a secret or public board and start saving images you love (you can check mine out here: 2019 vision board on pinterest)

  2. Go grab a bunch of your favorite magazine and start cutting out images that speak to your dreams

  3. Use some of your own photos that you’ve taken for more inspiration

  4. Use drawings or sketches or handwritten/hand drawn quotes

  5. Create your board using a combination of all of the above


what to do with your vision board

  1. Hang it somewhere in your office so that you can see it everyday

  2. Hang it in your walk in closet so you see it every morning + night

  3. Take a photo of it and use it as your wallpaper on your phone

  4. Hang it in a spot in your home that you pass by often

  5. Revisit it throughout the year, don’t just walk by it everyday. Take a moment and look closely at these images that meant something to you when you created the vision board…getting closer to your dreams yet? If not, step up your game.



For my vision board I started compiling images on a pinterest board late last year - things that went along with my One Little Word, anything that struck me as visually appealing. Clothing that I liked, hair cuts that I love, food that I enjoy, quotes and other visual reminders of some of my big goals. I added all of these to a board in pinterest and then started weeding through them. I saved the images (some of them are mine from my instagram account) and printed them out on photo paper in varying sizes. I accidentally printed the photos on the back of the photo paper and I loved the matte finish, so I kept going with that - happy accident :) After I printed them out I laid them all out and sorted into categories and started arranging. Once I was mostly happy I started securing them to a poster board and hung it up in my office to see every day.


Have you thought about creating your own vision board? I would love to see it! Most importantly have fun - there’s no wrong way to do this!


planner love + happy new year

It’s that time of year - I love it! I love all of the things about the new year. People always say that there’s nothing special about January 1st, that you can make a change any time and any day. They are 100% correct - but for me, there is still something magical about the first of the year.


It’s amazing to me to thing that the things that I’m going to be doing at the end of this same year may look nothing like what I imagine today. That’s ok, life is full of changes. But I like to plan and prepare the best that I can. So much so, in fact, that I often over plan…or intend to over plan. I have always looked for that perfect planner, that perfect idea on how to set and achieve goals that I often find myself in a continuous planning loop without actually doing the work that I’m planning. Of course soon comes disappointment or discouragement or thoughts that maybe my idea isn’t good enough when it’s really just that perhaps I gave up before it got really good. But still…I plan. Because some planning and hoping and trying is better than nothing in my book. I also really love to highlight tasks once they are finished. Even if I write them in just to cross them out.

My planner of choice is the Get To Work Book by Elise Cripe (one of my favorite bloggers and instagrammers and overall super creative talented types) and you can see from my post about planners back in 2017 I’ve been using it for a few years.

How I use the planner

Once I get my new planner, I take some time and write down all of the things that are a “given” in my little world with a good pen and some alone time. I use the Sharpie pen in fine or medium (I prefer fine) and sometimes I will add in other colors for certain things (like blog calendar info). Then I start filling in all that I know on the monthly pages:

  1. Things that happen every year like birthdays and anniversaries that I need to make sure to remember.

  2. Dates of things like vacations and school days off (and start and end dates)

  3. Any sporting events that I know ahead of time (sometimes I know these things, sometimes I don’t and then I’ll just add when they become available).

  4. My blog posts that I have planned out using my blog planner (this keeps me accountable and also reminds me of things that I need to get photographed or purchased for upcoming posts).

After those items are entered in I will often go to the the weekly pages for January (or the upcoming month) and start filling in certain things that I know that I need to do daily (water, vitamins, instagram posts, blog posts, etc). I like having these on the actual days so that it gives me something to highlight when they are done and also keeps me on track. I will also go in and enter dates from the monthly calendar now so that I can write down any tasks/to do lists that coordinate with those events.

There are also some awesome project pages and reflection pages in the planner that I use every month as well. These are perfect for mapping out a big project you’re working on into smaller, bite sized pieces so that you can actually start tackling your to do list without being completely overwhelmed.

2018-10-27 12.57.53 1.jpg

As I mentioned above I love crossing things off my list, but it wasn’t until I saw someone else’s planner that used a yellow highlighter to run through each item that they had finished that I tried that method. I love it and think that it’s such a great way to get a quick reminder of the things that you’ve accomplished in your day.

Do you use a planner? Digital or paper? What is your favorite and why? If you’re looking for a little inspiration for your Get To Work Book, check out the instagram #gettoworkbook for some great ideas.


what I'm reading | business

Business books and self improvement books are my very favorite kinds of books. I used to be a huge fiction reader - especially mysteries - but the last several years have me reaching for goal driven books that give me something to work towards. Some of the latest books on my shelf...


The You Are a Badass books are next up on my reading list - there's both the regular one and You Are a Badass at Making Money - how could I pass that one up?? I've loved The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod and The 5 Sencond Rule by Mel Robbins...perhaps two of my very favorites. Have you read Elise Cripe's book on 100 Pep Talks - a book she wrote from an instagram series she did a while back. It's a great quick read with a ton of really awesome nuggets of goal driven advice.

What business and goal books are your favorite? Are you a physical book reader, a kindle reader or do you love the audio books?

Happy Reading!

on my shelf

I'm a bit of an information junkie. I love to learn and I also really love books. Especially if they're pretty.

When I was younger and all through college and before kids I was a big fiction reader. Usually mysteries or crime stories, but once kids came along my reading time seemed to go away. I found other ways to fill my time and usually didn't need a book to put me to sleep at night - the kids tired me out enough!

These days my shelves have business books, home books and pretty books. I don't get to read everyday so I need something that can sit on the shelf for a while and I can easily pick up where I left off. Are you a reader? What kind of books do you like to read? Any great suggestions to pass along?

xo, c