A faint change in the seasons is only mildly detectable as I pull down a winding gravel road in the Malibu mountains on a fall Saturday night. As I approach One Gun Ranch, a biodynamic farm with sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean, the air is still warm as evening sets in. The only clue that it's not the middle of summer is the sun's quick approach toward the horizon, creating a golden hour halo of light well before 6 p.m. (this was a few weeks before devastating fires roared through the region, taking a toll on the community that calls this oasis their home).
It's a fitting location for the occasion: an intimate dinner with Mandy Moore to celebrate women and her partnership with Fossil. Surrounded by gardens of fresh fruits and vegetables produced by hardworking farmers who harvest according to the moon, sun, and planets, the property buzzes with productivity, even as we sit down to a relaxing dinner.
Moore, too, is no stranger to hard work. Her current role on NBC's This Is Us requires she transform physically and emotionally nearly every episode. In addition to her recent step back into the acting spotlight, she's somehow found the time to help design a variety of digital watch dials for Fossil inspired by her home in Pasadena. She recently renovated and designed the home with the help of Sarah Sherman Samuel and even hosted her intimate wedding ceremony with singer-songwriter Taylor Goldsmith on the property.
In order to glean some of Moore's productivity expertise, I sat down with the actress to talk about how she relieves stress and stays motivated on hectic days. Find out how she stays on top of her game—no matter what.
She doesn't go for her phone first thing in the morning
In order to start the day off on the right foot, Moore tells me that she tries not to automatically reach for her phone. She'll even plug it in another room so she can't touch it first thing in the morning when she wakes up. "On big days, I give myself a minute or two to collect my thoughts, think about the day ahead, and how I can sort of course correct and set myself up to have the most productive day," she explains.
She takes deep breaths
When she's feeling particularly stressed out, she takes a few breaths to calm herself down. "I feel that's something that we all forget is just to breathe and recognize what the task at hand is," she says, pointing out that she's usually more than capable of handling most of the things she feels stressed over. "Chances are it's something I've done before, and even if it's not, I pretty much know how to navigate my way through it," Moore continues.
She makes to-do lists
When it comes to prioritizing daily tasks, Moore relies on simple to-do lists. "I like to be organized and I have to write stuff down in order to remember it but also to check it off the list," she says. "I have so many notes in my phone of dry cleaning, vet, dog food—I love an errand," the actress admits.
She puts her phone to good use
While she avoids her phone first thing in the morning on busy days, she tries to put it to good use when she does have it by her side. "If I'm going to have my phone [at work], I'm going to put it to good use," Moore says. She often brings headphones and listens to music or a podcast if the bulk of the day's work is already done. The new season of Serial is her latest favorite.
She drinks coffee (but only in the morning)
"I look forward to coffee every day," Moore tells me. However, she's careful not to drink it too late into the afternoon unless she really needs an extra boost. "If I'm still needing an energy burst, I try to do vitamin C and some water," she says.
She takes a refresher during the day
Aside from coffee and vitamin C, Moore stays energized on long days by working out when she has the time. At the very least, she tries to get outside for a quick walk. "Just getting outside, getting a little shot of vitamin D for a second, taking some breaths… just to get your blood flowing and get some life back in you," she says.
She gives herself credit for what she's accomplished
According to Moore, it's important to be kind to yourself. "I don't think we often give ourselves enough credit for things, and we're always our own worst critic—I know I am, at least," she admits. When she feels overwhelmed, she tries to break up her tasks and asks herself what's really scaring her and how she's going to get through it, she shares. It makes everything feel more manageable.