ASH AMBIRGE

Author, CEO & Founder

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To Have a Routine or Not to Have a Routine: That is the (Worst, Most Annoying, Head-Pounding) Business Question

In: Productive Mother

At 5am, I write.
Around 11am I go for a jog.
I never eat the skin on a chicken.
And on Sundays, after a morning fuck, I do my accounting.

I used to think that habit & routine were for the birds. I used to think that doing certain things a certain way all the time was the equivalent of jail. I used to think that predictable was for boring people, and methodical for the scared. Scared of life. Scared of new. Scared of the spontaneous.

Until one day I finally realized?

I was the one who was scared.

Scared of the pressure. Scared to hold myself accountable. Scared to “have to” do something. And scared I’d let myself down, over and over again. I’d never been good at the whole commitment thing, after all.

It wasn’t until I finally settled down in Costa Rica, nearly four years ago, when I looked around and thought, Oh, shit.

I needed a routine. I needed something to give my days structure. To help me switch on when I needed to be on, and off when I needed to be off—a brain-smouldering, mind mashing challenge for every business owner.

I had spent so many years constantly running. Running to new countries. Running to new cities. Running to new friends. Running to new events. …And running from routine.

So, I did a little Go, Go Gadget Self-Discipline, and I began waking up every morning to write first thing—come hell or the highest water. I began booking dates with myself, and making them the highest priority. I began convincing myself that things like regular exercise—god forbid—were actually a business activity. When your brain works that much better, and when you get paid for your brain, you better keep it fit.

And, slowly but surely, I became one of those predictable, boring, methodical people. AND IT’S BEEN GLORIOUS.

It’s glorious because I get things done now in a week that might’ve taken me a month before. It’s glorious because I keep promises to myself every single day—and that feels good. It’s glorious because I know I can trust myself these days, and that spills over into everything I do.

Being able to trust yourself is not a luxury; it’s do or die.

That new idea. That bold move. That business loan. That hunch.

You can’t take risks if you don’t trust that you’ll be scrappy enough to pull it off.

Weirdly enough, not taking risks with my time has been the #1 thing that’s helped me take risks in other places. Places that matter.

Turns out, it’s not about pulling off the big stuff once or twice a year. It’s about pulling off the small stuff every day. Because the small stuff inevitably becomes the big stuff.

…Whether you were looking or not.

Dec 11

2014

Million Things To Do? Prioritize by ROI. (And Then Get a Life.)

Dec 11, 2014

So if you’re anything like me (which obviously you are or else you wouldn’t be reading this blog and/or wishing for those last 10 pounds to magically fall off), you’ve constantly got a never-ending stream of STUFF TO DO. When you run a business, that never-ending stream sextuples in size, and you begin to feel […]

In: Productive Mother

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Jul 31

2015

The 140 Character Email: An Experiment in Sanity

Jul 31, 2015

You know the email. The one you’re dreading responding to—not because of what it says, but because the second you open it, all you see is A GIANT, LOOMING TSUNAMI OF TEXT lurching at your face as if the sender had taken the entire Sunday edition of The New York Times, reformatted it into one […]

In: Productive Mother

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Jun 18

2019

Feeling Overwhelmed (And Who Friggin’ Isn’t?): Ask Yourself This Three-Word Question

Jun 18, 2019

There are loadssss of questions I ask myself during the day. Things like, “Where have all the cowboys gone?” and “How awkward was my hello to the neighbor just now?!” And “I’ve eaten two salads in a row—AM I SKINNY YET?” But those are just the kinds of questions you ask yourself when you’re a […]

In: Productive Mother

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Jul 31

2012

Be Selective With Your Energy. In Fact, Be Downright Arrogant.

Jul 31, 2012

I’ve stopped checking my emails every day. Before that, I shut down my Behind Closed Doors program. And this past Saturday night out with the girls? I drank…sparkling water. Yet, I can confidently confirm that I am not pregnant, suicidal, dying of cancer (at the moment, anyway) or just having such great sex that I […]

In: Productive Mother

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Jul 2

2015

Turns Out, You *Can’t* Do it All—So How Do You Pick?

Jul 2, 2015

You know who’s funny? People who try to do everything. Talk about a dysfunctional relationship with time. Contrary to popular opinion, time is not always there for you when you need it. Yet, then you are all cute, telling yourself you’ll just “fit it in”—whatever “it” might be that day. Why does everyone think they’ll fit it in? […]

In: Productive Mother

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Mar 11

2015

You’re always going to have fifty million things to do—PLUS that asshole’s bar mitzvah.

Mar 11, 2015

There’s a lot of pressure these days to be perfect. (Says the girl carrying thirty extra pounds and a dysfunctional pouty face.) As someone who used to be very all-or-nothing, over the years I’ve had to make some major peace with the fact that all-or-nothing is a gigantic, sweaty faced fool’s errand. :: How many times have you thought about […]

In: Productive Mother

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Aug 7

2015

The Answer To: “Where Do You Get The TIME?!?!”

Aug 7, 2015

Me: I’m writing a book! People: Where do you get the TIME? Me: Every morning! People: WHERE DO YOU GET THE TIIIIIMMEEEEEEE?! Me: It’s in my schedule. Every morning, from 5am to 8am. People: But I could never cooooommmmmiiiiiittttttt to thaaaaatttttttt. Me: So what do you do when you have a client that needs something, […]

In: Productive Mother

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Jan 3

2014

Feel Guilty Anytime You’re Not “Being Productive”?

Jan 3, 2014

I wrote today’s tip earlier today about copywriting. It was pretty fucking good, actually. I might have even made a joke about ham. But then I stalled. I hated the tip. The tip was useful, for sure. The tip was original, most definitely. And the tip was something that some people might have even printed […]

In: Productive Mother

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I'm a Bad Influence on Women

Hey, I’m Ash! Twenty years ago I was a small town girl growing up in a trailer park in rural Pennsylvania. Fifteen years ago, I lost my family and everything I knew right as I became the first to graduate college. Fourteen years ago, I found myself leaving everything behind for a new life in the city where I could be “normal.” Ten years ago I realized normal was the most disappointing thing that ever happened to me. Nine years ago I quit my job in advertising and pursued my dreams as a creative writer. Eight years ago, I built a 6-figure business doing what I love using nothing more than the Internet and my voice. And now, today, I’m the founder of The Middle Finger Project, an irreverent media co. that helps other women find their voice and teaches them to use it to build whatever the f*ck they want to. With a book coming out with Penguin Random House in February 2020 (YASSS, WE’RE A PRODUCT IN TARGET!) I’m proud to be a bad influence on women and guide them into doing something disobediently brave with their life and their career.

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