On Not Letting Life Events Steal My Motivation

Jan 23

An apology to my regular readers / friends if I sound like a broken record…definitely not aiming for that and certainly not letting the D word define who I am….but for a while the blog post intros may begin something like this…

“Hey, last year I went through the final stages of a divorce, spent too much money doing that, struggled to hold it together for my kids, wondered if it was showing through my work for clients (who never knew anything – am very private / professional), and other internal thoughts I wrestled with. And because of that, xyz in my life was affected for these xyz reasons…” or similar.

I’ve noticed readership is growing with consistent new content going live on the blog. There are new people who have no idea who Sam is. Or what I do. So I may start off with an intro that causes you to say….”duh! we know.”. I appreciate your patience.

As I see it, I’m in the rebuilding phase of my life. From time to time, I’m going to share big topics and feelings, but also small things that make me smile or reenergize me / lift my spirits. I’ll share lessons learned both the hard way and from people close to me. Ideas. Actions. Workouts (these helped me tremendously).

Anyway, point being…last year was such a mix of emotions there is no possible way to sum it up in a single blog post. Instead, over time I’ll share those feelings…and how I’ve either worked my way through them…or how I am finding my way back to myself…or things I need to keep reminding myself of so I’m not stuck on the hamster wheel of negative self-talk.

To the point I just mentioned about my clients noticing something was off… NOT the case AT ALL.

Matter of fact, this year has already surpassed my biggest dreams. An extension of the Lowe’s contract (SO GRATEFUL!). A couple new partnerships I am excited about. And SO MANY NEW CLIENTS / PROJECTS we can’t see straight. Apparently, I’ve been doing something right. All I can attribute this booming year to is being totally dedicated to the clients, making sure every project is done with their best interest at heart…and making everything beautiful, happy, calm and fun in the process.

Today I have 16 active clients on board with about 8ish in the queue. Each client has more than one project / space. There’s a lot of moving pieces and, as you can imagine in Sam World, not one detail can be dropped. These families become an extension of mine and delivering an exceptional space and experience is top priority.

I’ve shared a lot with you guys about my favorite planners and supplies, but last year I kinda lost my way. Yes, was using my favorite Erin Condren hourly planner…this version

But with the depths of pain, fear, and worry I was feeling…my motivation disappeared.

Come to find, this is totally normal in a case like mine.

Motivation can be stolen by fear, depression, grief, loneliness, burnout (hello *raises hand), or just simply living in a fog.

I was there.

And more.

But sometimes it takes just a little time and something small to find that spark again. That small flicker eventually turns into a full blown fire storm. For me, this has come around recently through a reignited passion for planning and journaling. And all it took was seeing stickers on the 50% off rack at Safeway…and a little time with a very special 12 year old who found a new passion in bullet journaling. (If she’s reading, she knows who she is…)

I mean it. Something that small…it could change everything. Including your motivation to dig in, get back into what you love and feel more like you. More passionate.

We’ve talked about my love of couponing over the years (this is another topic we need to pick up and talk more about in 2019!). I’m still doing it except now through an app – no clipping. Yay! But my local market has an incredible 50% off rack in the back of the store. In general they have something we need AND I also have a coupon for it. My kids love looking searching the rack too because there is out of season holiday candy, out of season sports items, team stuff, etc. But the other day, they had planning supplies…

To-do lists, stickers, a few journals…

All of it was pretty and cheap!

Never heard of this brand, but there were hundreds of items on the shelf. I did quick Amazon search and found so many adorable things from Heidi Swapp! Love this set and it was similar to those on the rack. I grabbed a few for myself and for client gifts. But the act of seeing pretty stickers reminded me I once had a real love for planning. AND organizing all of the supplies. For over a year my planning supplies hadn’t seen daylight. I also realized it was time to declutter my little collection.

After getting the kids to bed (which is why these photos look terrible – I photographed in my office at night for this post), I spent a few hours getting my desk drawers and stickers cleaned up and organized. My desk looks an awful lot like this nowadays…I have 2 planners and 1 notebook…

This planner has an overall broad view of my work schedule but also includes kids stuff…

And this new one, which I grabbed quickly at a local drug store because I was overwhelmed with work. I couldn’t wait for a new big EC planner to arrive….and frankly, didn’t want to spend the $$$ on it right now, so this answered the immediate need…

This is where I’m keeping all of the client appts and specific details / notes about projects. The pages offer a larger daily writing space…

I’ve been using graph paper notebooks this year to draft out spaces. The pages tear out clean to pop them into files for everyone. This was an old school requested notebook the kids didn’t use last year. I’ve nearly emptied it already so maybe the next one will be a little prettier – like this teal color…

I cleaned up our collection of stickers, which is in the very same envelope system I created YEARS ago…

And I went through my Erin Condren stickers as well. There are a few sets I find I never use each year when I purchase a planner. I pulled those for donation and only kept the stickers that really make me happy. These do that!…

Funny how timing works, but Avery reached out during this period to share their love of what they were seeing lately on social. They wanted to send a little box of supplies. It was VERY sweet!

Couldn’t wait to see what they might send. Wasn’t sure if a new product was on the market to test out. Instead when the box arrived with a VERY sweet note, it was their UltraTabs…which I have a collection of already, use all the time (you can see them in the above photo attached to the red notebook!) AND have organized in the office…

This is not sponsored! This all really did coincide this way.

I love their tabs…didn’t know there was a special pen…

I keep UltraTabs in my desk drawer…

And have a little backstock behind me on the other desk…

Was fun to add more color – which is something that cheers me up! Organizing products + color!

When the lighting is better in my office I’ll share updated photos of these drawers…

But if you want to get more details about my desk drawer organizers, I shared all the details in this post.

A fun small organizing project I did in the last few months was adding washi tape to this 3-drawer system…

I don’t take planning to the extent as those you’ve seen in the planning community, for example. I keep it minimal and simple, but adding stickers, notes and color does make me smile. And I noticed it increases my motivation and reenergizes me. Scheduling and planning out any task – especially if I’m doing it on a day that I’m particularly down or sad – is made more fun by way of adding creativity.

This year not only am I planning more, but journaling and writing about what I’m grateful for. I’m going to try a version of bullet journaling because it really does excite me (I’ve been watching way too many videos thanks to a certain little cutie!) and I can see how it pushes you toward your goals.

AND I’m going to have my kids start keeping a journal too!

You’ll see more photos and hear more about this topic. But wanted to share because if you’re struggling to find your motivation again – no matter what you’re going through or where you’re feeling it slip – it will come back. In funny ways it will begin to show up again. Even somewhere as random as the 50% off rack at Safeway. ha!

And don’t forget what motivated you in the first place. In general, if you find you way back to that thing or something similar to it…you will get that little flicker in your heart and gut again.

Back soon guys!



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comments +

  1. Leslie Buchanan-Jones says:

    I really like the honesty that comes through in your posts Sam and that you are finding your own way to work through things. Remarkable inner strength!

    • Samantha says:

      Awe, thank you Leslie! Truly – thank you! I am enjoying reconnecting with all of you this way and the only way I can share / connect is by being honest…and vulnerable. Thank you so much!!


  2. Heidi Swapp is well known in the Scrapbooking, Cardmaking, & paper anything circles!

    I just recently bought a new Happy Planner from one of the local chain craft stores. I am very pleased with the layout (horizontal) & the fact that each day is in its own box, opposed to the weekend days having to share one box.

    The other day I watched a couple videos regarding this Planner system & it dawned on me that my planners in the past were used to keep track of what WAS done, opposed to what NEEDED to be done. It really was a lightbulb moment & I’m finally starting to get the hang of planning specific & routine tasks.

    With regards to tabs, We R Memory Keepers has a Tab Punchboard that has saved my sanity! I’ve used it to make tabbed dividers for my scrapbooking and cardmaking supplies. I do want to check out those Avery Ultra Tabs, so thanks for that info!

    • Samantha says:

      Oh my gosh! Thank you for such an awesome response!

      I say this alllllll the time, but I seriously live under a rock. I am so out of the loop of what is happening and who is who. So it’s no surprise I had no ideas who Heidi was – lol!

      And I love your lightbulb moment – LOVE THAT!!

      Thank you so much!


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