How Food Network Chef Molly Yeh Maintains Her Focus

Moving to a new town helped her prioritize what was most important.

Molly Yeh graduated from Julliard with a degree in percussion, but while she was living and studying in New York City, she unexpectedly fell in love with food. She started creating recipes, which turned into a wildly popular blog, a best-selling cookbook, and eventually, a job as the host of the Food Network’s “Girl Meets Farm.” 

Yeh has since moved to a farm on the North Dakota-Minnesota border, where her husband is a fifth-generation farmer. She spends her days baking, working on her next book, and hanging with her daughter, Bernie. She also appeared at this year’s The Food Network & Cooking Channel South Beach Wine & Food Festival. Yeh talks to Thrive about how her big move helped her prioritize what’s important, and her best advice for staying focused at work. 

Thrive Global:  What’s the first thing you do when you get out of bed? Do you have a time saving trick for the morning?

Molly Yeh: Feed my daughter, Bernie, check Instagram, brush my teeth, and make breakfast for everyone. My time-saving trick is to marry someone that insists on making the coffee every morning. 


TG: What gives you energy?

MY: Working out and eating a lot of vegetables

TG: What’s your secret life hack?

MY: Move to the middle of nowhere

TG: When was the last time you felt burned out and why?

MY: This past Thursday. I had way too much desk work to do, and not enough time to test the cupcakes that needed testing. 

TG: When was the last time you felt you failed, and how did you overcome it? 

MY: Last Tuesday when I screwed up some brunch enchiladas. I tweaked the recipe and now I’m making them again. Whenever I fail, I just have to remove emotion from the situation and dissect whatever happened so that I can change it and then do it again correctly. 

TG: Share a quote that you love and that gives you strength or peace.

MY: “The grass is greenest where you grow it!”

TG: How do you prioritize when you have an overwhelming amount to do?

MY: I get the quickest and easiest tasks out of the way and then focus on the ones that take the most mental energy.

TG: What advice would you give your younger self about reducing stress?

MY: Don’t be afraid to make drastic changes in the interest of stress management. Delegate tasks and reprioritize as needed. 

TG: What’s your personal warning sign that you’re depleted?

MY: When I yell at my husband, Nick, for something incredibly silly, like cooking chicken incorrectly. 

TG: With so many distractions and interruptions coming at us throughout the day, what are your tips to stay focused?

MY: I really hate the feeling of getting to the end of my day with things left on my to-do list, so I’m usually pretty OK at avoiding too many distractions. I also think to myself that the more focused I can be, the more time I can have to play with Bernie. 

TG: When you notice you’re getting too stressed, what do you do to course correct?

MY: Work out. I love my exercise bike, hot yoga, snowshoeing, and resistance bands.

TG:  Tell us about a small change you have made in your life to improve your sleep. What did you do, how long did it take until it became effective, and how do you sustain this habit?

MY: I committed to finding books that I really love. Any time I can look forward to getting into bed and reading until I fall asleep, I sleep way better. And then if I ever find myself wide awake in the middle of the night, I don’t stress out about it, because then I can read my book. And usually just not stressing out about being wide awake in the middle of the night relaxes me to the point of falling asleep.

TG: What was the biggest turning point in your life?

MY: When I moved here to North Dakota. I suddenly had so much more time and fewer distractions. I could just throw myself into the work that I wanted to be doing (recipe developing, growing my blog, and then eventually working on my cookbook, Molly on The Range, and my show, “Girl Meets Farm”). 

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