Brooke Morales taking a moment to get lost in her nature journal and reconnect with what matters most.

Interview with Brooke Morales

Hi! I'm Brooke Morales. I’m a California-based designer, marketer, writer, and avid nature journaler passionate about mindfulness, systems, and leading a more intentional life through drawing and journaling. I use my marketing powers for good to inspire people to engage with mission-driven, not-for-profit organizations.

What’s something that has been helping you be consistent?

Over the past three years, I've developed an almost daily habit of keeping a sketchbook and spending time in nature, drawing and writing about my observations of the natural world. Drawing and nature journaling has helped me reach a flow state more quickly than any other activity, and has also helped me feel a profound sense of connection with the world around me.

Equally important to me is my daily practice of writing in my regular journal, particularly when using the Morning Pages method. The discoveries I’ve made via the process of writing are what have made the practice so worthwhile.

Sometimes, it's not about what you write, it's about writing for the sake of writing that uncovers what you need most.

Which habits or goals are you currently working to make progress on daily?

I will likely always be working on this, but my biggest productivity challenge is worrying about things that are outside of my control (which can lead to stress and anxiety that can, in turn, affect productivity). To help me manage this, I read Stoic philosophy. Stoicism helps us adapt through the ongoing practice of managing our mindset and accepting what we cannot change.

How do you deal with times when you struggle or get stuck?

Whenever I get stuck, I get outside and I walk. Two things happen whenever I feel stuck: My first impulse is to try to push even harder at the problem,

as if sheer force might burst open the door to the answer...but you know what? That rarely works.

Then, a better impulse prevails and I step away. I put physical distance between me and the problem. I get outside and I walk and I allow myself to soak in some green and blue and feel the breeze on my face. When I return, the problem feels more manageable, and usually, I break through and find my solution.

Any methods, tools or tips you recommend for your habits, goals or productivity?

I used to be terrible about setting healthy limits on my productivity. I didn't know when to stop and I wasn't good at taking breaks (relaxing sincerely stressed me out). I've since learned how to protect my down time and how to maximize my productive time.

One of my favorite productivity tools is the pomodoro technique. My pomodoro sessions are 25 minutes long and I honor the important 5-minute break between sessions because I've found I achieve even deeper focus when I maintain movement throughout the day. We humans have not evolved to sit stationary in chairs all day long, moving only our fingers on a keyboard and mouse.

For goals and habits, I’m a big advocate of keeping a (mostly) private journal and I dedicate time to write and sketch in mine each day. Devoting time to write out your unfiltered stream of consciousness with no objective other than to get your thoughts out of your head and onto a sheet of paper can do wonders for sorting through your thoughts and feelings.

I’ve found the practice of journaling to be surprisingly helpful at identifying what’s nagging at my subconscious so I can address my feelings more intentionally.

A favorite quote?

Viktor Frankl, Austrian neurologist and psychologist best known for his written experiences about surviving the holocaust within a Nazi concentration camp, famously wrote,

“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” - Viktor Frankl

When we focus our energy on how we respond to events outside our control, we give ourselves permission to embrace uncontrollable events with a greater sense of calm through acceptance. Regardless of how events unfold, we are always on the way forward. All life’s twists and turns are a part of the path forward.