Need a Little Motivation? You Can Borrow My Granny if You’d Like

Cherry Blossoms in Sunlight

Staying motivated when working from home can be quite challenging. There are only about 5 million distractions at any given moment. I won’t bore you by listing them all here but we all know what they are – dishes, tea, coffee, more coffee, lunchtime, snack time, more tea, happy hour, wine, dinnertime, water, dishes, more tea, midnight snack. (Curious how most of my distractions involve trips to the kitchen.)

I find that being my own boss and employee has the unique twist that I’m not truly accountable to anyone. No one is watching over my shoulder. It’s just me and the dog and all he cares about is when I might make even the slightest movement toward the garage door and holler, “Fetch!”

So, how does one stay motivated in regards to any project – work related or personal – when there isn’t a firm deadline, there isn’t a Monday morning “Go get ‘em, team!!” meeting, and there won’t be a quarterly review?

Over the years, I’ve learned that there are definitely things that do the trick for me that don’t become distractions themselves.

Here in the Northwest we have so many gray days that anytime the sun peaks through the trees, I get outside, put my whole body into the rays and bask in the energizing warmth, however slight that warmth might be.

I am a consummate bookworm. I find reading other people’s stories incredibly inspiring and motivating. Now, books themselves can become a distraction so I limit myself to reading at bedtime (if I don’t fall asleep first.) A few books that I’ve read recently that still resonate with me and keep me motivated are: Good to Great by Jim Collins, The War of Art by Steven Pressfield, and On Writing by Stephen King.

A few years ago, I had a whole slew of blog subscriptions arriving in my inbox every single day and it was just too much. Too much time. Too much clutter. Too much of a distraction. Now, I have a very select few that make it through. I need to feel my heart go pitter-patter when I see that email in my inbox in order for it to make the cut. If I find myself pushing delete too often, then I unsubscribe, and follow that blog via other social networking avenues. And honestly, I give you permission to be that ruthless with my posts. If they aren’t a welcome sight in your inbox, go ahead and delete. Of the posts that do make it through, two of the websites that have been the most motivating to me lately are, Marie Forleo’s weekly episodes of MarieTV, as well as Danielle LaPorte’s daily Truthbomb.

But currently, my biggest motivator is this picture I have on my desk of my Granny.


You see how she’s giving me the look? You never messed around when Granny gave you the look.

She was a fairly tall Norwegian woman who didn’t hug much (if at all) and who signed all of her cards, Fondly, Granny.

When answering machines entered our lives, her messages were simply, “Call, Granny.”

She canned kimchi every year wearing rubber gloves. She pruned Bonsai. She oil painted chickadees in cherry trees. She created magical Christmas seasons complete with Christmas mice, eggnog sprinkled with nutmeg in Santa mugs, and $100 checks in our stockings.

She had the nastiest cats. She fed them tuna, bacon and asparagus. If you tried to pet them, they would hiss, claw and try to bite you.

She drank Old Fashioneds and smoked unfiltered Camel cigarettes that she would tap on a hard surface before lighting up.

You never wanted to be caught trying to sneak the Grape and Orange Fanta she had in her pantry.

For family gatherings, she ordered Kentucky Fried Chicken meals, HoneyBaked hams and pies from Tebo’s.

Before we were married, my now hubby and I were sitting on her couch at a family gathering. At some point, she leaned forward out of her chair and said, “What is he doing? Is he playing with her hair?”

She stared us down with the look then slowly leaned back in her chair with an “Hrrrumph!” and a haughty upturn of the chin.

So now, when I dare to glance at that picture of her giving me the look, I imagine her saying things like:

“What are you doing? Are you wasting time on that Facebook again?”
“What is that in your hand? Your fourth cup of tea in an hour? Hmmph.”
“Is that your email you’re checking again? No one important has emailed you since five minutes ago.”
“Are you on the phone again? Hmmph.”

And quite honestly, the look from her scares me. I don’t want the look so I get busy getting meaningful work done so she’ll stop staring at me.

It works quite well…since the look never goes away. If you don’t have a Granny of your own, you’re welcome to borrow this picture of mine.

Or, if you have your own suggestions for keeping motivated that you’d like to share in this corner of the web, we’d all love to hear them.

Happy Hump Day!

With love,


  1. Seriously scary look. I’m not sure if that picture would be a helpful motivator for me or not. I might be too overwhelmed with the guilt that accompanies the look!

  2. Agreed the look is something, but her sweater is a fabulous must have. Granny had great style.

  3. Carol johnson says:

    Your Granny taught me to eat artichokes and said even if they are 59 cents each, treat yourself to something that delicious! I’ve never forgotten to occasionally do so, at $2.99 each today. I loved her to pieces!

    • Love that about her. She had all her little sayings that she lived by. Never knew this one about the artichokes. Thank you for sharing, Carol!

  4. Carrie . . . just to let you know, I won’t be deleting your blog! I look forward to it whenever it makes it to my mailbox.

    Susan . . . FYI – Your mother-in-law, Joan is my VERY dear and inspiring friend.
    We lived next door to each other in Seattle and she kept me and my HAPPY black lab faithful to EARLY morning walks in our neighborhood. I dearly love her and your sister-in-law Kathy. Friends forever . . . even though distance now keeps of apart.

    • Ahhh…Susan… thank you for letting me know that my posts are a welcome sight in your inbox. I too love my MIL and SIL dearly. So wish they lived closer. We miss them to bits!

  5. Papa Bear says:

    Couldn’t have nailed it better Carrie, except here total time and love was devoted to her family, and believe me she protected her family like a she tiger on mission.

  6. Nancy Espinoza says:

    Carrie, You always had to be aware of those Norwegian grandmothers! Mine was short and strict! But, after she died, I wore her pink hairnet with my pinclip curls to bed for a long time…just to have some part of her close. I have been told that I have “the look” too. But in my new role as a Nana, I only give hugs and kisses!

  7. Laurie says:

    I lost my Granny this past fall. She had a look AND a finger – if the finger was up, you DID NOT dare interrupt. But she loved us fiercely and unconditionally, as only a Granny can. Thank you for helping me remember her today! And I always look forward to your blog. It’s my absolute favorite 🙂

    • Oh, Laurie, I’m so sorry about your Granny. There’s just something special about those Grannies. Even when they point the finger and give us “the look” we know they love us to bits. Thanks for sharing!

  8. This was an adorable read! I can certainly understand why that look is a good motivator!

  9. Thank you for stopping by, Lily!