Pep Talks to Myself: Killing time is a waste of time

This is advice that I’m still learning to take. Advice that Instagram, specifically, makes it really hard for me to follow. Advice that would make my life more productive and HAPPIER if I followed it the majority of the time? I should be doing my damnedest to take that advice and apply it. Liberally.

Caitlin, killing time is a waste of time. Killing time is a WASTE of time.

I do pretty well. I don’t have games on my phone, I don’t go window shopping to fill a gap in my day, and I’ve always got a book in the car.

But INSTAGRAM, man. Instagram gets me. I follow so many women that I respect and admire, and I just want to see what they’re up to! And, to a certain extent, I need to be active on Instagram. I’ve gotten new readers to this Little Blog That Could from Instagram, I’ve made new friendships, and I’ve learned new tips. Instagram is an awesome space for knowledge growth and community. But it’s also an unholy time suck.

Because here is the hard truth: every minute that I waste on Instagram is a moment that I could be spending on myself or my work or my marriage.

We tell ourselves that we don’t have time, but we do. We’re just allocating that time the wrong way.

It’s called killing time for a reason. I’ve only got so many hours in each day, and I should be using those hours to their fullest, not killing a single one of them.

Do not get me wrong: leisure time is invaluable and indispensable. World domination is only possible if you take time to rest on the way. But this is where I really screw up: I waste the time I could use for purposeful leisure on mindless scrolling. I may be really, really up-to-date on messy Real Housewives drama, but I don’t have any time to read my book today.

I feel the most fulfilled, relaxed, and productive when I plan intentional time to decompress. Not killing ten minutes of time before the laundry is ready to be switched, not killing an hour before I meet my friends for drinks. There’s a big difference in my mood when I am spending the time in a way of my choosing, not in a way that happens to me.

If I know I have an hour between work and meeting friends, I’ll often bring my laptop so I can get writing done during that time. Or I’ll bring my book. Because I would rather spend that time doing an activity of my choosing, not scrolling on my phone.

Just like I plan out the rest of my day, I build in time for relaxing, watching T.V., reading my book, whatever. Maybe that means I’m no fun, but I know you all know me better than to think I care about that. I may be too structured or too busy or too un-fun, but so what? Who am I trying to impress?

MYSELF, that’s who. I’m trying to be the best version of me, and the best version of me doesn’t kill time. She uses her free time in a way that actually feels restorative and enjoyable. This can include Instagram (but with a timer set so I can’t get sucked too far into the hole), reality T.V., and Pinterest, but it should include more reading. My Goodreads goal for the year is to read 50 books, which is totally doable, but only if I make the time to read!

Scheduling time to relax is also very motivating to me. Knowing that I have an hour or two of solitude in the evening waiting for me (but that I can only have it if I cross off those deadline items) makes me work harder and more efficiently. Chipping away at that relaxation time with ten minutes here and there on Instagram ultimately means that I enjoy my day less.

When I kill time, I’m wasting my day. Life isn’t made up of what I do occasionally, it’s made of what I do consistently. And if I’m consistently wasting my day? Ugh. UGH! There are too many things I want to do. Too many experiences I want to have. Too many words I want to write.

Using time wisely is the greatest asset. People who are more successful than me, fitter than me, with stronger marriages than me — they’re not better than me. They’ve just spent more time perfecting their craft. Time is the secret. And I’m wasting those opportunities to be better when I kill time.

So, no, nope, I don’t believe in killing time. It makes me cringe when I hear the expression. Sure, maybe the movie doesn’t start for an hour. Is there an errand you could check off the list? You’re twenty minutes early to an appointment? Read the article you bookmarked on your phone last week. Ten minutes between meetings? Ok, that’s the perfect chunk of time to watch some Instagram stories. Or you could go over your plan for the week and assess your to-do list. Ten minutes are as valuable as you make them.

The difference between killing time and using it well can be so small. As with everything on this site, it’s about intention. It’s about doing the things you have to do so you can do the things you want to do.

Because, ultimately, the life I want isn’t going to just happen. I have to build it. For myself. And there’s no time to waste.

Leftover Veggie Baked Omelet the perfect high-protein breakfast for the New Year

Welcome to the first real day of 2018! Yesterday, we snuggled in blanket piles, took down our Christmas decorations, and ate a lot of cozy food.

I’ve heard from so many of you about your 2018 excitement, and I am right there with you. I spent a good part of Monday working on my editorial calendar for the year, organizing my Notes app, and scheduling out the next few weeks (especially workouts, so I can hit that 100-day #exercisecountdown goal!).

One of my 2018 intentions is to prioritize vegetables, so I spent a few minutes yesterday prepping a veggie-packed breakfast: Leftover Veggie Baked Omelet.

This is a break from my usual vegan content, I know, but I don’t think I’ll ever be able to quit eggs. They’re so cheap, so easy, and taste good with basically everything.

I used to make this baked omelet all the time in our Whole-30 days, but I stopped when G stopped eating eggs. I try to consolidate meal prep as much as possible, so I normally wouldn’t make something that only I can eat, BUT this egg bake takes so little time that it honestly wasn’t a huge deal.

It’s basically a huge omelet that you can add whatever mix-ins to. I usually go with whatever’s in the fridge — a great way to use up the odds and ends at the end of the week.  This one had a handful of mushrooms, half a bell pepper, some red onion, pickled jalapenos, and cubed cheese (because pockets of cheese are better than shreds, ok?!).

This breakfast is a positive 2018 choice for sure: it fuels my body with good protein and vegetables; it’s spicy and cheesy, so I actually want to eat it; and one pan makes five breakfasts, perfect for a busy week.

I can’t wait to hear what your mix-in choices are!

LEFTOVER VEGGIE BAKED OMELET

Serve with hot sauce (maybe ketchup too?) and a piece of fruit. Think of each serving as a three-egg omelet, but more portable. 

15 eggs

1.5 – 2 c of mix ins (I added 4 mushrooms, ½ bell pepper, ½ onion , ½ carton of cherry tomatoes, two diced pickled jalapeños, and ½ c cubed cheddar and mozzarella)

  1. Preheat the oven to 350, and grease a 9×13 pan.
  2. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add a tbsp of olive oil.
  3. Dice the onion and saute. While the onion is cooking, slice and dice the rest of the vegetables. I sliced the mushrooms, diced the bell pepper, and halved the tomatoes.
  4. Once the onion is turning translucent, add the bell pepper and mushrooms. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Break all 15 eggs into a large bowl and whisk. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  6. When the vegetables are beginning to brown, transfer them to a plate to cool slightly. (Remember that they’ll continue to cook in the oven, so don’t cook them to death.)
  7. Dice the cheese (I prefer cubes because they melt into cheese pockets, but shreds would work, too), and mince the jalapeños.
  8. Stir all the toppings (except the tomatoes) into the eggs. Mix well to incorporate.
  9. Pour into the greased 9×13. Place the halved tomatoes, seed side up, all over the eggs.
  10. Bake for 45 minutes, or until the center is set. Cool slightly before slicing and serving, or allow to cool completely before packing up for future breakfasts.

Inspired by this recipe.

What mix-ins do you choose? What’s your go-to breakfast?

CURRENTLY // December 2017 Plus an #exercisecountdown recap

I’m currently writing by the light of the Christmas tree and dreading taking it down tomorrow.

Christmas was so fun, and the break was so needed. We hosted my mom and dad for the holiday, and it was great. We ate, drank, puzzled, and watched movies (The Preacher’s Wife, Muppet Christmas Carol, Krampus). The puzzle is a project that will follow me into the new year, but I am determined to finish it soon. Maybe New Year’s Day?

INSPIRED BY //

I have gotten such sweet messages from people who read my Intentions post, and it is making my heart so full. I write all of this stuff for you people, and to hear from readers and friends that my content is helping them in some way is the VERYBESTEVER.

My intentions for 2018 are inspiring me, as well. It feels so so so exciting to go into the new year with an action plan. I have my daily, weekly, and monthly intentions mapped out (both in my Intentions post and on my Powersheets). In addition to that, I made a phone background with my basic goals for each day as a reminder. Read each and every day, even if it’s only 10 minutes. Write each and every day, working on one project or another. Sweat every single day, full stop. Connect with my husband each day, even when life is super busy (which it always is). Breathe: take a minute to relax, sit, and just be for a few minutes each day.

ALSO, if you’re having a hard time getting into the spirit of the new year, or just like getting kicked in the butt a little, watch this video from my girl, Rachel Hollis. It’s quick, inspiring, and features two cameos by yours truly. ♥️

EXERCISING //

Starting NOW, I’m swapping the “watching” category for EXERCISING. I never watch T.V. anymore, so I was struggling to find things to share. This switch is coming at a perfect time because I have a LOT to say.

Today is the last day of #exercisecountdown, and, as long as I don’t miss my afternoon at the gym (which I WON’T), I’ll have made it. 35 workouts, right through the busiest part of the year. I got up hella early; I worked out in weird hotel gyms; I washed pile after pile of sweaty exercise clothes. I tried some new stuff ⬆️, but mainly stuck to my tried and trues: running, spin, pilates, and baby weights. 

My initial goal was 90 workouts, as part of the last 90 days challenge. And I did alright. But I did not exercise each of those 90 days. And, honestly, I think it was because it was someone else’s challenge, not my own. Once I committed to my own 35-day #exercisecountdown, I did it. Every. Single. Day.

So, right here and now, I’m committing to a 100-day streak. I will exercise each and every day from Jan. 1 through April 10. This means I’ll need to exercise through staycations, vacations, and on days where I just don’t feel like it. And workouts 95-99 will be in L.A. during Rise, so you ladies will need to keep me accountable❣️

(My friend Kristen at @dineanddishfreestyle is documenting her own 100-day #exercisecountdown journey, if you want to follow along!)

My friend @caitlinmwallace is so close to completing her #exercisecountdown challenge where she has committed to doing some form of exercise for 90 days straight, no matter what. I love this as a motivating project so I’m going to do it too but for 100 days. So starting 2 days ago (friends there is no reason to wait until January 1st) I’m doing my own workout challenge where I have to do some sort of deliberate movement for at least 30 minutes everyday for 100 days. It will be challenging but I know making this public will keep me on track! I can’t wait to accomplish this goal! Thanks @caitlinmwallace for the inspiration. #100dayworkoutchallenge #bujo #bujospread #bulletjournal #fitnessmotivation #fitnessgoals #wwsisterhood

A post shared by Kristen Doyle (@dineanddishfreestyle) on

When I committed to my own #ExerciseCountdown in November, my mindset shifted. Working out became part of the day, just as important as brushing my teeth or eating lunch. The roadblocks to making time to exercise became less important, because they just couldn’t get in my way. I was going to exercise every day, circumstances be damned. 90% of the time, this means exercising first thing. All of my toiletries stay in a go-bag now because I get ready at the gym five days a week. I leave a pile of clean socks, leggings, and sports bras on the guest room bed because putting them away seems pointless. My hair is always sweaty.

What I’m saying is: making exercise a priority is hard. It is. It’s making decisions that aren’t fun, and waking up early, and showering at the gym, and keeping spare deodorant at your desk just in case you somehow leave the house without deodorant. But I can do it, and so can you.

EATING AND DRINKING //

The past couple of years, I’ve started January with a Whole 30. Since we’re eating vegan at home now, I can’t do that. Not really. I basically only eat legumes, so no Whole 30 for me. 

A gem of a salad my mom made for Christmas dinner.

I thought about doing a couple different cleanse-oriented diets for January, but I ultimately decided not to. I think I’m even going to scale back on my #dailygrain mentality (where I only ate grains once each day). Honestly, I miss oatmeal, and I found myself reaching for potato chips because they aren’t a grain, and I could eat them without “cheating.” 🙈  That is not healthy or smart or a good way to treat my body. Yes, I should eat fewer grains as a rule. They make me feel sluggish, which is the opposite of how food should make you feel. But making rules about how I eat them didn’t work. I was thinking of grains as “bad,” which is just a shitty way to think about food, and not a lesson I want to pass on to a daughter some day. Food isn’t bad or good or evil or whatever, and it’s so damaging to put food into those categories.

Instead of making strict food rules for myself, I need to find something that feels more sustainable. #dailygrain was never intended to be a full-time plan, and I treated it like a temporary fix. Not a good idea, ever. Diets don’t work long-term because they’re designed for the short term. So, in 2018, I’m going to focus on vegetables, snacking on plants before I reach for peanut butter-stuffed pretzels. And I’m going to lean on my “worth it” principle. A Dunkin donut is probably not worth it, but a LaMar’s donut?! Totally worth it.

Those guidelines feel sustainable, actionable, and good. There will definitely be days where I don’t eat a single green thing, but there won’t be weeks where that’s true. And the weeks matter way more than the days.


🥂 Happy, happy new year to all of you readers! I am so thankful to those of you that follow along faithfully. Interacting on here and Instagram brings me a lot of joy, and I do my very best to reply to every comment and message. If you want to chat about anything — living fruitfully in 2018, Kardashian Konsipiracies, best mac and cheese recipes, book recommendations — I’ve got you! Comment here or message me on Insta. See ya next year!! 🥂

What was the best part of your December? Are you cleansing your way through January? Are you going to join me on exercise countdown part 2? 

My intentions for a FRUITFUL 2018

I wrote last year about why I set intentions for the new year, not resolutions. Long story short, I think resolutions are a trap. A trap that tricks you into thinking you’re going to have a great year, full of change. But resolutions without matching intentional action plans are literally useless. If I’m speaking your language (or maybe more so if I’m not making any sense), click over to Ink’s blog, where I wrote all about HOW to set intentions that work. I outlined the methods I use to make big changes in my life, like starting a blog, growing my freelance business, and losing 30 pounds. Read it, please! Then come right back here.

Before I get started, a big shoutout to my life coaches from afar: Gretchen Rubin, Rachel Hollis, Brendon Burchard, Tony Robbins, and the almighty Oprah. I love you all. (Please take three minutes and watch that linked Oprah video. It is hysterical and also kind of makes me cry?)

Ok, without further ado, MY INTENTIONS FOR A FRUITFUL 2018:

Resolution: Grow The Fruitful Blog
I love this space and interacting with all of you, so I want to keep the momentum going! To do so, I will post at least once each week, improve my photography skills (would you believe I have a food photography book that I’ve never ever looked at, let alone studied?), take an Instagram training that I’ve been putting off, and create and maintain a Fruitful Facebook page.
Daily intention: engage with all of you on Instagram and via the comments section here
Weekly intentions: publish one blog post; listen to two personal development podcasts
Monthly intentions: take one class, training, or similar, and make an actual plan to implement the knowledge

Resolution: Invest in our marriage
I want to work with Grant to make more intentional time together. I’m often so busy with work, blogging, freelance deadlines, and seeing friends during the week, that time with G is scheduled last. That needs to change! Daily intention: find intentional moments to talk and connect, even on days where we barely see each other (Ideas for this: sitting at the table for dinner, even if it’s just leftovers; have coffee together in the morning, even if it’s just for 10 minutes; give up my reading time in the evening for conversation instead (this one will be really hard!))
Weekly intention: have one planned, purposeful date
Monthly intention: read and discuss one chapter from a book about marriage, relationships, or communication (yes, this is terribly dorky 😍)

Resolution: Cozy our home (cozy can be a verb, ok!)
Right now, our house is full of renovation projects, college furniture, and clutter. A big, huge 2018 priority for the Wallaces is to create more liveable space in the house so we can actually enjoy it. We need to declutter, decorate, invest in furniture, and organize.
Daily intention: put things back where I found them (I am terrible at this); keep up with the dishwasher (clear kitchen counters make me SO happy, but they’re almost always covered with dishes 🙈)
Weekly intentions: declutter one room, closet, or area; actually take donations to Goodwill (drop-off on the way to get groceries!)
Monthly intentions: check off one bigger project: cleaning out my “closet” (a whole guest bedroom); move my office to the lightest, brightest guest bedroom; declutter and organize the basement; buy living room furniture; remodel the master bath; etc; etc; etc (This one will be hard, as some of these projects cost big money. I’ll revise as we go, with the solid intention of completing a major project each month.)

Resolution: Get even stronger
2018 is just another year on my eternal quest to build my best, strongest body that will enable me to lift heavy things, carry snuggly babies, and outrun a possible murderer. I’ll keep spinningzumba-ing, and lifting heavy things.
Daily intentions: exercise! Every day. No matter what.; avoid food splurges that aren’t “worth it” (homemade chocolate cake is worth it, and so are occasional Cheez-Its, but gas station donuts are a no from me, dawg)
Weekly intentions: do something that seems “too hard.” The only way I’ll see a real change in strength is to PUSH MYSELF.

Resolution: Save money
We’ve got big things to pay for this year — renovations, furniture, a trip or two — and I don’t need to be spending money on random stuff.
My role model here is Jordan Paige from Fun Cheap or Free. She has SO MANY good ideas for saving money and still living life.
Daily intentions: No makeup except for essentials (yes to replacing foundation and concealer, but no new glittery eyeshadows 😩); no clothes except for absolute essentials
Weekly intentions: Maintain my weekly grocery and “other” spending budget (watch this great video if you want to know more); meal plan based on the contents of my pantry, not the contents of my Pinterest
Monthly intentions: Transfer the budget surplus every month into savings account

I’ll be updating you all throughout the year on my progress, don’t worry! And, in case you’re curious, I’ll be using PowerSheets to track my progress, and, as always, a combination of the Simplified Planner and my Google Calendar to schedule it all.

For way more advice about setting your own intentions, read my article over on Ink’s blog today.

What are your intentions for a more fruitful 2018? 

Pep Talks to Myself: Exercise is not a punishment

Pep Talks to Myself is a series where I give myself (AND YOU) the tough-love advice that I need to hear. More ass-kicking here.

Two weeks ago, I committed to exercising every single day for the rest of the year. Yes, I had already been striving to exercise daily because of the 5 To Thrive, but I’d been missing a day here or there, and I needed to step it up. So now, I’m counting down to 2018 with my #exercisecountdown challenge.

To be clear, I’m not going full-out, drenched-in-sweat every single day. Those workouts are reserved for five days/week. Two days each week, I go on a thirty-minute “recovery” walk and follow up with some weight training. But the other days of the week, I am going ALL IN, pushing myself to the breathless, red-faced state that brings real change to a body.

Because here’s the thing: I do not care about being skinny. If I did, I wouldn’t be eating a #dailygrain or drinking wine or indulging in an office donut. I enjoy food way too much to care about the final pounds that really prevent me from having a totally flat stomach. Bodies are made in the kitchen so much more than they are made in the gym, and it’s very difficult to make a real change in your body without changing how you eat. Which — to be honest — I’m just not willing to do. Eating 100% clean to get ultra-skinny is NOT my style.

What I do care about? Like, a lot? Being strong. I want to be strong enough to move furniture, hold babies for hours at a time, and run from zombies (only kind of kidding there). Plus, I’ve found that consistent exercise is the only way to keep my wonky back in check, so I’m upping the consistency. Seven workouts each week. Period.

I’ve gotten mostly positive feedback after I posted about the challenge on Insta, but a comment I’ve heard a few times really bothered me. It didn’t hurt my feelings — I’ve got way thicker skin than that — but it made me really think about how exercise and fitness are perceived.

Several women — either via Instagram messages or in real life — have told me that they applaud my idea, but that they “don’t want to ruin Christmas with going to the gym” or that they “don’t have time to exercise during the holidays.”

Both of these ideas are TRAPS, ok?! Exercise is not a punishment. It’s NOT. Exercise is the most positive action you can take. When you think of exercise as a punishment and not a celebration, you are robbing yourself of the joy that exercise can bring.

If you’re rolling your eyes at me — I GET IT. I have been there. I used to hate exercise so much, so deeply. Some days, I still do. But I have seen the way that daily exercise has changed my life and my body for the better, and I cannot look back.

You know how they say that you have to put your own oxygen mask on before you can help others? Consistent exercise is kind of like that. When your heart and lungs and muscles are working hard, you’re laying a foundation of success for every other aspect of your life. Strenuous exercise leads to mental clarity, higher energy levels, and fewer junk food cravings. Sweating your face off multiple times each week makes your whole life better. It is not a punishment, it’s a requirement.

Adding exercise to your day does not ruin it. It doesn’t. There are at least sixteen waking hours in each day, and you’re going to spend one of them exercising. If you let that one hour ruin your whole day, I think that there are bigger fish to fry than the actual exercising.

Maybe you’ve just never found an exercise that you actually like. That’s totally, totally possible. Until I found workouts that were fun for me, I couldn’t get over the plateau to actually get fit. I really, really do not like running. But for a long time, that was my primary form of exercise. WHY. Why did I do this to myself? (I was too cheap to try exercise classes and too lazy to research inexpensive options.) So yes, working out felt like a punishment in those years where I had to force myself to go for a run.

As far as a workout ruining Christmas? It doesn’t have to. Getting a workout in on Christmas will be challenge. That much is true. Your gym is likely closed, and it may be too cold to get outside for a quick run. BUT, that doesn’t mean you can’t exercise. Can you do a pilates video on YouTube with your mom before presents? Can you play tag (like really play, running just as hard as they are) with your nieces and nephews for thirty minutes? Does the driveway need shoveling? Being active doesn’t have to include a drive to the gym or a sports bra every day.

And as far as not having time? That’s on you, girl. That may be hard to hear, but evaluate your life and really assess whether or not you have time to exercise. If you’re waking up only 30 minutes before you have to leave for work, you have time to exercise. If you watch T.V. after work, you have time to exercise. If you spend multiple nights each week at happy hour with your friends, you have time to exercise. (I’m sure there are a few of you that work two jobs and only get five hours of sleep as it is. You are the exception, not the rule, and I am not hating on you.)

Until you see exercise as the most important task of the day, the task that gets rescheduled or cancelled as an absolute last resort, you won’t have time for it. But once you see exercise as essential, it becomes hard to make time for oversleeping or watching mindless T.V. (though, btw, you can still watch Bravo on the treadmill in most gyms).

My advice? Go get your planner or open your Google calendar, and plan your workout for tomorrow. Where can you fit 30 minutes or an hour? Could you change your happy hour plans to a long walk with friends? Can wake up an hour early and dig out a dusty exercise DVD? Once you’ve planned for tomorrow, KEEP GOING. Plan for the rest of the week. Once you start, you cannot stop. Make it a habit, not something you do occasionally when you remember.

I’m trying a new class at work tomorrow, so I’ll have to leave early for the office and eat lunch at my desk to make it work — but I’m making it work! Scheduling life is a puzzle — figuring out how to make the pieces fit is up to you. Some weeks, I’m jamming two pieces together with a closed fist, but I’m doing it.

I hope this tough love kicked your butt a tiny bit. I hope you exercise this week. I hope it’s more than once.

There are only 21 days left in 2017!!! Are you going to start 2018 on the way to being your best self, or are you going to show up January 1 the same you that you’ve always been? It’s up to you❣️, but I’m here to help. Leave a comment or message me on Instagram so I can spread the encouragement!

How do you fit exercise into a busy week?