432 épisodes

A podcast intended to help busy women find the tools and encouragement they need to better manage their lives, their time, their stress, and their stuff, so they can accomplish the things they care about and make a life that matters.

The Productive Woman Laura McClellan

    • Éducation
    • 5,0 • 3 notes

A podcast intended to help busy women find the tools and encouragement they need to better manage their lives, their time, their stress, and their stuff, so they can accomplish the things they care about and make a life that matters.

    The Meaning in Life

    The Meaning in Life

    In this episode we are talking about the “meaning” part of a meaningfully productive life. Although the meaning of our life may change over the years, discovering what makes our lives meaningful can contribute to our productivity and overall happiness.

    The search for meaning in life

    I was inspired recently by a thought-provoking conversation with a group of women about purpose and meaning in life. It got me thinking about how this fits into productivity, about what I’ve referred to in past episodes as “meaningful productivity,” and the ongoing conversations about making a life that matters--and what that means. I started researching what has been said about this--how do we find meaning in our lives, and why does it matter?

    Sources of meaning

    Surveys by the Pew Research Center asked Americans what makes their lives meaningful, satisfying, or satisfying; the most common answer was family. After that, the surveyors noted that: 

    “ One-third bring up their career or job, nearly a quarter mention finances or money, and one-in-five cite their religious faith, friendships, or various hobbies and activities. Additional topics that are commonly mentioned include being in good health, living in a nice place, creative activities and learning or education. Many other topics also arose in the open-ended question, such as doing good and belonging to a group or community, but these were not as common.” 

    The question of meaning

    Many of us run into questions of meaning and purpose at various milestones in our lives--whether positive or negative milestones: 

    * Finishing college 

    * Divorce 

    * Becoming an empty nester 

    * Retirement 

    What these have in common is change. Something that has been a major part of our identity--student, spouse, parent, professional--and gave meaning and purpose to our days has come to an end. And we begin to question that identity and ask ourselves, “Who am I now?” It's a very human question, something universal. Plato offered one definition of humans as “a being in search of meaning.”

    Why is the question of meaning so universal?

     One writer suggests these reasons: “meaning provides a sense of purpose to our lives. According to a research study that looked at meaning in life, the study expressed the positive psychological and physiological benefits linked to humans feeling meaningful. For instance, meaning reduces the risk of mental health problems and improves physical health. Besides the concept that meaning boosts one’s general well-being, the sense of purpose and that life matters and is significant are other reasons why humans look for meaning.” 

    An article titled Why Meaning in Life Matters for Societal Flourishing cites various studies' conclusions about the importance of meaning: “Meaning in life reflects the feeling that one's existence has significance, purpose, and coherence. A growing body of research identifies meaning in life as a fundamental human need that strongly influences both psychological and physical well-being. Individuals who perceive their lives as full of meaning live longer, healthier, and happier lives than those less inclined to view their lives as meaningful.” (citations omitted but available in the article linked at the beginning of this paragraph)

    In Man’s Search for Meaning, Jewish-Austrian psychiatrist Viktor Frankl,

    • 36 min
    Planning for Productivity

    Planning for Productivity

    In this episode we’re going to talk about the value of planning for a productive life.

    Planning our days and projects

    I recently asked for your feedback and suggestions about topics. Several people asked about how I manage tasks and plan. I thought it was a great time to talk about planning in general and share a bit about what works for me.

    What is planning?

    Wikipedia says this:

    “Planning is the process of thinking regarding the activities required to achieve a desired goal. Planning is based on foresight, the fundamental capacity for mental time travel. The evolution of forethought, the capacity to think ahead, is considered to have been a prime mover in human evolution. Planning is a fundamental property of intelligent behavior. It involves the use of logic and imagination to visualize not only a desired end result, but the steps necessary to achieve that result. An important aspect of planning is its relationship to forecasting. Forecasting aims to predict what the future will look like, while planning imagines what the future could look like.” 

    Planning is about taking time now to look ahead to the future--whether the next hour, the current day, or weeks or months ahead--envision an outcome, and strategize how to get from here to there.

    Types of planning

    Writers on entarga.com outlined an interesting summary of four approaches to planning (definitely check out their article for an explanation of each):

    * Reactive - past oriented

    * Inactive - present oriented

    * Preactive - predict the future

    * Proactive - create the future

    Planning in general

    Why plan and what is the benefit?

    Strategic planning in business is an important part of an organization’s success. An article called Approaches to Planning describes common approaches to strategic planning in business, including SWOT analysis, which I'd heard of before, and PEST analysis, which I hadn't.

    Briefly, in SWOT analysis, the goal is to dentify the business’s objectives and then “all the internal and external factors that will affect this objective, both favorably and adversely.” SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities (“characteristics in the environment that the business or project might exploit to its advantage”), and Threats (“characteristics in the environment that might cause trouble for the business.”) 

    In PEST analysis, you look political, economic, socio-cultural, and technological factors that could affect the project or desired outcome. The article referenced above says a variant--PESTEL or PESTLE--adds legal and environmental factors and is popular with businesses in the UK.

    How does this apply to our personal/professional lives?

    Planning saves time by allowing you to prepare for obstacles and assemble resources. It’s like having a map or GPS directions on a trip. If you didn’t look at the route ahead of time, you might still get to your destination, but it likely would take longer due to the wandering, the detours, etc. Planning clarifies the process and creates the most efficient route from A to B (or L or Z). 

    Planning can help prevent delays. As I was preparing for this episode I was in the midst of a project I didn’t adequately plan for. I had been wanting to try a new recipe, started to gather the ingredients,

    • 48 min
    Goal-Setting Refresher

    Goal-Setting Refresher

    Have you set--or are you setting--goals for this new year? This week we're talking about goals and how to focus them based on what's most important and what we would like to accomplish in the new year.

    Goal-setting refresher: It's possible to accomplish our goals without overwhelming ourselves or pulling us away from daily priorities

    As we’re starting out this new year, a lot of us have been thinking about goals for the coming year. We’ve talked about goal-setting in the past (TPW223, 285, 379, and a series on goal-setting way back at the beginning, episodes 004, 005, and 006). It’s been a while, though, since we talked about the basics of goal-setting, so for my sake as much as yours thought I’d do a little refresher.

    What is a goal?

    The Oxford dictionary defines a goal as  “the object of a person's ambition or effort; an aim or desired result.” 

    Dictionary.com defines it as “the result or achievement toward which effort is directed; aim; end” 

    It may be helpful to think of it in terms of a sports analogy, where the goal is the target, the place you’re trying to get the ball in order to score a point. On the soccer field or the hockey rink, the goal gives the players the point of focus for what they’re doing. 

    “A goal is an object or an aim that we wish to achieve through action.” [from Importance of Goal Setting] 

    I like this--a goal is something we want to achieve through action. A goal guides what we do by providing a target or focus.

    Why do we set goals? What is the benefit?

    Goals provide a focus for our energy, attention, and action each day. When we set goals, whether for a day, a year, or a life, we are being proactive--intentionally choosing--rather than simply wandering through our days reacting to what the world throws at us. Goals make our activity productive and purposeful--they are the difference between being busy and being productive. They provide motivation, both as a target and as we see our progress. 

    “Why are goals important? Simply put, they allow you to focus your attention on an objective and measure your progress along the way.” [from 5 Reasons Why You Should Set Goals]  

    This article also says:

    “The real value of setting goals is the focus it affords you in a world otherwise chock-full of distractions. With a clear idea of your objectives, you’ll have more capacity to home in on your target. If you veer off-course, you’ll have your goals written down to help bring you back to center.”

    I thought an article titled 7 Reasons You Should Set Goals provided some food for thought about the value of goal-setting:

    “Know that all things are created twice: first in the mind, then in the physical world. The mental creation happens when you set your goals.

    • 38 min
    Quick Check-In

    Quick Check-In

    This week I'm checking in with a couple of quick updates and request for a favor from you!

    Taking a few minutes for a quick check-in . . .

    A friendly reminder

    Just a reminder that the new TPW mastermind groups will start meeting next week (week of January 16). These are small groups, no more than 5 women plus me, who meet in Zoom one hour a week for 12 weeks for support, encouragement, and accountability in pursuing individual goals. These are paid, facilitated masterminds. I have only 2 spots left for the Winter 2023 masterminds as I’m recording this, so if you’re interested, visit theproductivewoman.com/mastermind for more information and the link to a short application.

    Word for the year

    I mentioned in a December episode (TPW424) that my word for the year is Joy. I’ve talked in the past about the idea of choosing a word (or 3 words) for the year (see episode 173 for a description of the purpose and process). Nevertheless, I don’t do so every year. This year, though, the word just kind of came to me in December and has stuck with me. I’ll be using it as a way to filter my choices and guide my decision-making, asking myself two basic questions: 

    How can I experience more joy in my life? 

    How can I foster joy in the lives of others? 

    One thing I’m pondering in answering those questions is what I can do this coming year to make more ways for us to connect. I get great joy from talking with you (not just to you each week on the podcast, but actually interacting with you. In the past, I’ve had the chance to meet up with some of you in person when I was traveling to other cities, and I had so much fun hosting the first-ever TPW planning retreat here at my home in the fall of 2021. I’ve also enjoyed the Zoom chats from time to time with others in the TPW community. I’m also excited that a member of our community and former TPW masterminder will be visiting this week. She and her family are traveling through the area and will spend a night here at my home. I’m so looking forward to getting to connect in person! And as one way of experiencing and sharing joy this year, I hope I can find ways to meet more community members face-to-face, whether online or in person, or a combination of both. 

    Question for you: Do you choose a word (or 3 words or a phrase or a Bible verse or quote)? How do you use it throughout the year? 

    Favor to ask:

    We're approaching the 9th anniversary of the launch of The Productive Woman podcast. When I published that very first, very short, very rough first episode, I couldn’t have imagined all that’s grown from that small dream of encouraging women. I wasn’t even sure I’d have enough content to publish for a year, much less 9 years! Yet here we are.  

    As we approach that 9th anniversary mark and enter the 10th year of The Productive Woman podcast and community, I would ask a small favor of you: Would you take a minute to send me a quick message to share with me something I can do to keep this podcast relevant and helpful to you? It might be a question you have for me, or a topic you’d like me to cover, or a guest you’d like me to talk to this year. Maybe it’s a service you’d like me to offer or a product you’d like me to create. Any suggestions would be welcome. You can email me at feedback@theproductivewoman.com,

    • 13 min
    Getting Your Stuff in Order: 8 Areas to Organize for a Productive New Year

    Getting Your Stuff in Order: 8 Areas to Organize for a Productive New Year

    This week we're looking at various areas to get organized in order to set ourselves up for a productive new year.

    January is the perfect time to get ourselves (and our stuff) organized and ready for the new year!

    Happy new year! I hope you enjoyed a joyful and peaceful holiday season. 

    In December we spent time looking at managing our stress by looking for ways to find joy in our day-to-day lives, and managing our time and (to some extent, our space) by following peace, and managing our lives by walking in love. 

    This week I want to talk about the value of establishing order in our lives, specifically with respect to managing our stuff, so that we can make room in our lives for joy, peace, love, and productivity.

    Getting organized

    What does it mean? 

    According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary: to get organized means "to arrange one's things or one's affairs so they can be dealt with effectively." This is a great area to focus on for the first month of the year.

    Where do we start the process of getting a place or an area of our life organized?

    Start with identifying your expectations--what do you want from the space you’re organizing? Then consider purging before organizing--takes less time to effectively organize less stuff

    Create a plan for maintaining the organization

    Begin developing good habits--put things away; tidy small spaces regularly, etc.

    Specific areas or categories to organize

    1. Christmas - While it’s still fresh in your mind, do a little debrief about the holidays. What went well; what went not as well?

    * Decorations - If you like how you decorated a particular space, take photos with your phone so you can remember next year what you did and why you liked it. Anything broken? Toss. Anything you haven’t used in the past 3 years, donate. 

    * Gifts - A place for everything!

    * Purge - if you got new hair tools or kitchen equipment, donate or toss the old; same for clothes, kids’ toys, etc. 

    * Cards - decide whether to keep or recycle; scan or take digital photos of any cards or holiday letters that are particular sentimental for you. 

    * Photos - print and organize into photo albums or, better, collages you can frame and display; digital--keep the best and tag or organize into a folder for the holiday (e.g., Christmas 2022) so you can find and enjoy them.

    2. Food (pantry, fridge, freezer) - If you did a lot of holiday cooking or baking, you probably have leftover food or ingredients. Even if you didn’t, this is a good time to reorganize your food storage. Sort through what you’ve got, check expiration dates, use it up before it goes bad, toss what’s expired. If you have unopened foods that are unexpired, put together a box of food for your local food bank. Clean and reorganize to make sure you use things before they go bad. While you’re at it, organize some meal plans for the next few weeks, to help put nutritious, tasty meals on the table with minimal waste.

    3. Medications/vitamins - Check for expired and dispose of safely. The US Food and Drug Administration has a webpage advising how to dispose of various drugs and medications; they recommend the following steps:

    * Remove the drugs from their original containers and mix them with something undesirable, such as used coffee grounds, dirt, or cat litter. This makes the medicine less appealing to children and pets and unrecognizable to someone who might intentionally go through the trash looking for drugs. 

    • 41 min
    Countdown to a New Year: Love

    Countdown to a New Year: Love

    As we continue our countdown to a productive new year, this week we consider how love can help us manage our lives to maximize not only productivity, but also our own joy and peace.

    Walking in love can help us manage our lives in a way that lets us be truly productive

    During December we’ve been counting down to the new year, with each episode focused on a different aspect of what I see as the mission of this podcast. December is a busy time for many of us, with holiday gatherings, school programs for the kids, end-of-year rush at work, and more. But if you are using part of your time to listen to this podcast, I invite you to use it as an opportunity to pause, look ahead to the holiday and the coming new year, and give some thought to what you want out of the holiday season and the year. 

    TPW’s purpose is to help you to give you the tools and encouragement you need to manage four things: your time, your life, your stress, and your stuff. As part of our countdown look at those four areas, we considered, indirectly, managing our stress by looking for ways to find joy in our day-to-day lives, and last week how to manage our time and (to some extent, our space) by following peace. 

    This week I want to take a step back and look at the bigger picture of managing our lives by walking in love.

    What does it mean to manage your life?

    To me, managing your life means keeping the big picture in mind: Who do you want to be in the world? What kind of life do you want to live (and why)? What matters most to you? Where do you want to end up?

    Living with purpose means acting intentionally to ensure that your day-to-day life is consistent with your most treasured values. To that end, we’ve talked about managing stress through cultivating joy and managing time and space by following peace. Another element of this purposeful, intentional living is walking in love.

    What does that mean to walk in love? I first heard the phrase decades ago when a pastor taught on a verse from the Bible--chapter 5 of Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, in which he urged these early believers to imitate God and “walk in love”. In the decades since I’ve often felt that this might be the hardest thing for us--or at least for me--to do as a human being 

    This podcast episode is not a religious teaching, though. Regardless of your faith tradition, or even if you have none, I believe this admonition to walk in love can provide all of us guidance in how to manage our lives -- how to be productive women who order their lives in such a manner as to maximize our positive impact on the world around us.

    So what does it mean to walk in love?

    First, we need to consider what love is. Looking at dictionaries, we find definitions such as:

    * “An intense feeling of deep affection; a great interest and pleasure in something” 

    * “Warm attachment, devotion, or admiration; unselfish loyal and benevolent concern for the good of another, such as the fatherly concern of God for humankind or a brotherly concern for others” [Merriam-Webster] 

    * “A profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person; a feeling of warm personal attachment or deep affection, as for a parent, child, or friend.” [Dictionary.com]

    The ancient Greeks had many different words for love, summarized by Wikipedia as follows:

    * Agape, which means, especially, brotherly love, charity; Thomas Aquina explained this type of love as meaning “to will the good of another” 

    * Eros, which is mostly tied to sexual passion 

    * Philia, which means affectionate regard, friendship, usually between equals 

    * Philautia, which means self-love--to love oneself or “regard for...

    • 32 min


5,0 sur 5
3 notes

3 notes

plivenais ,


Podcast très instructif sur la productivité au féminin. De très bons conseils, applicables et réalistes. Très accessible même avec un niveau d'anglais moyen.

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