279 episodes

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

    • Self Help

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.

    11 Ways to Keep Your New Year Motivation Going – TPW278

    11 Ways to Keep Your New Year Motivation Going – TPW278

    Achieving our goals requires consistent action. Does your motivation to take productive action fade as the year goes on?







    How do you keep your motivation strong as the year continues?



    Many of us get inspired at the beginning of a new year to set ambitious goals or dive into projects aimed at improving our health, our career, our home, our relationships. But it usually doesn’t take long for the day-to-day of life to take over and that initial enthusiasm that propelled us starts to wear off. It’s so common as to be a joke how gyms are packed in the first week of January and nearly empty by the first week of February.



    But all the best, most valuable accomplishments take consistent action over time - sometimes a lot of time.



    So how can we keep going after that first-of-the-new-year motivation starts to fade?



    “Motivation is not magic. It does not come in a bottle. There is no little blue pill for it. But it's something you can tap into by design then harness.”

    ~ Suzanne Gerber

    from How to Stay Motivated and Accomplish Anything

    “All motivation is self-motivation.”

    ~ Lolly Dascal, President and CEO of Lead from Within

    from 19 Highly Effective Ways to Stay Motivated





    Ways to stay motivated & refresh your motivation 



    ◊ Remind yourself of your why and write it down in detail. It’s easy to forget in the day-to-day bustle why we’re doing what we do; some things to journal about





    * Where did the idea come from to do this thing?

    * How did you feel about the idea when you first had it--what emotion? (excitement? fear? nervousness? confusion? anticipation? joy? determination?)

    * What did you think you would get as a result of accomplishing this goal or completing this project?





    ◊ Take care of yourself - it’s hard to stay motivated if you’re exhausted. Eat food that fuels you, drink plenty of water instead of caffeinated beverages, move your body daily, and don’t sacrifice necessary rest for a few more hours of work. Be ruthless about identifying and cutting out the less important so you can make time to both take action toward your most important goals and take care of yourself.



    ◊ Create habits and routines that bypass your resistance and keep you taking automatic action. Habits work in a different part of our brain and become almost unconscious action.



    “First forget inspiration. Habit is more dependable. Habit will sustain you whether you’re inspired or not. Habit will help you finish and polish your stories. Inspiration won’t. Habit is persistence in practice.”

    ~ Octavia E. Butler in How are habits formed in the brain?





    What actions do you need to take in order to accomplish your goal? Turn them into habits on purpose. Form the habit of doing the things you need to do









    * Examples:



    * Drink a glass of water as soon as you get out of bed

    * Write 5 sentences or work on your new business while you’re drinking your coffee

    * Make a phone call to a prospect each morning when you sit down at your desk

    * Stop at the gym on your way home from work, or go up and down the stairs 3 times during your lunch break













    Once you do this often enough, it will become a habit that you won’t have to think about - habits are stronger and more powerful than willpowerbr /...

    • 43 min
    10 Things to Declutter – TPW277

    10 Things to Declutter – TPW277

    The beginning of a new year is a great time to declutter your space. This week's episode offers some ideas and inspiration to get you started.







    Declutter to make your space more peaceful and functional



    The beginning of a new year is a time when a lot of us are thinking about fresh starts, such as setting goals, and getting our lives and our homes in order, and decluttering. I thought this would be a good time to talk about decluttering and 10 categories that we can consider decluttering in.



    Why do we hang on to things we don’t use or love?





    * Fear of lack (what if I need it?)

    * Guilt for how much we spent

    * Sentiment (gifts and memories associated with them)







    “Clutter is no more than postponed decisions”





    10 categories to consider decluttering



    1. Books



    Ideas for decluttering books





    * A good place to start: old/outdated reference books

    * Consider setting limits for yourself: a certain number of shelves and no more--once those are full, if you bring new ones home, some have to go

    * Donate to your church library, a senior housing center, kids books to a daycare center or preschool

    * You can take them to Half-Priced Books (or your local used-book store) to get a little cash for them.





    2. Clothes



    Ideas for decluttering clothes





    * Items that don't fit

    * Anything that’s stained or snagged or generally shabby looking

    * Things that need buttons or other repairs - either get them repaired right away or get rid of them

    * Multiples of the same thing: Keep the ones you wear regularly, but let go of the others

    * Anything you haven’t worn in the past year





    Benefits





    * More space = more peaceful

    * Less laundry to wash/fold

    * Less feeling bad from looking at overstuffed closets and drawers, clothes you spent money on but don’t wear

    * Fewer decisions to make = less stress

    * Someone else can enjoy the things you don’t wear

    * Extra money if you sell on resale apps such as Poshmark or Mercari





    The same applies to your children’s clothes. Also, check out former guest Courtney Carver’s book, Project 333, which is all about her experiment of keeping only 33 items in her closet. Listen to episode 169 for my conversation with her.



    3. Kitchen stuff



    When you declutter the kitchen, you'll have a more efficient and workable kitchen. You'll also spend less time cleaning and organizing stuff.



    Ideas for decluttering kitchen items:





    * Appliances you don’t use



    * Even if you spent a lot of money, it’s not an asset if you’re not using it. It’s costing you in terms of space, aggravation, and guilt.

    * If you haven’t used it in a year or more:



    * Sell on Facebook Marketplace

    * Give it to a friend or relative

    * Donate to your church kitchen or a local charity that helps single moms or women who’ve left abusive homes









    * Food storage containers - how many do we really need? Get rid of old, chipped, or plastic containers.

    • 55 min
    Good Morning, Good Life, with Amy Landino – TPW276

    Good Morning, Good Life, with Amy Landino – TPW276

    Amy Landino is on a mission to help you go after the life you want, starting with a morning routine that launches and grounds productive days.







    A good morning is key to making a good life



    Amy Landino is the award-winning host of AmyTV, a YouTube series dedicated to helping women go after the life they want. She’s also the host of a fascinating podcast called Detail Therapy, an internationally popular public speaker, and a best-selling author. Amy and her husband live in Columbus, Ohio, with their adorable dog. I had a wonderful conversation with her about how she is making a life that matters!



    Amy has been a YouTuber for nearly 10 years. That journey began with her passion for creating stories to share online and helping businesses do the same.



    Her individual brand online has taken the direction of helping women who are going after the life they want. She talks about topics that cover more practical areas in the sense of making the most of the time that you have and what it looks like to be able to prioritize yourself. She says it's important that you understand where you are spending your time, and being clear on the reasons why you're doing what you do.



    A typical day



    The only typical part of Amy's day is her morning routine, which starts with her rising at 4:30 am.



    The first thing she does when she wakes up is to "learn how to be human," because she is not a morning person. She calls the first half-hour of the morning the last part of her "sleep buffer period," where she is still kind of asleep, but she's also trying to wake up. During that half-hour period, she goes through her skincare routine, makes herself a glass of lemon water (Amy drinks 16 ounces of lemon water every morning) while also brewing coffee, and starts to put her thoughts together. She does Morning Pages as a mindfulness practice to deal with all the thoughts that come rushing to her. (The practice of Morning Pages is something she learned from Julia Cameron's book The Artist's Way and is simply the practice hand-writing 3 pages of stream-of-consciousness writing.) It helps her clear the cobwebs of her mind.



    After that, she reviews her goals and rewrites them, rewrites a passage of affirmation, gets her bullet journal ready for the tasks of the day, and then she moves into eating her first frog of the day, meaning tacking the first big task she needs to get done for when no one is bothering her. This is her opportunity to dive into what she is passionate about before the emails and requests from other people start to intrude on her day.



    After that, on some days Amy gets ready to go into her office to work with her team. Other days, she is jumping on a plane to fly out of town or filming content for her YouTube channel, which is done in her home office. Her days depend on what is on deck for her, but the morning time she has with herself is how she keeps a little bit of predictability in her life, so the rest of her day can work itself out.



    Amy is a fan of good sleep and doesn't recommend getting up early to get a few extra hours of your life if you haven't gotten good sleep. Amy sleeps for about 7 to 7.5 hours a night, and she is usually in bed by 9 pm, ready to drift off.



    Even when Amy is on the road, she tried to keep her morning routine as consistent as possible. When she travels, she's often unable to take all her journals with her, so she'll focus on reading or do her morning pages on the notepads available in the hotel room.

    • 35 min
    5 Small Things to Do Every Day This Year – TPW275

    5 Small Things to Do Every Day This Year – TPW275

    Big changes are impressive, but great progress can be achieved by taking small actions consistently.







    What we do every day matters



    Happy New Year!



    This time of year we often make resolutions, set goals, and develop grand plans. These are all good things, and I’d love to hear what resolutions you’ve made or what goals you’ve set for the year. Sometimes, though, the greatest progress is made, not through big leaps, but through small steps taken consistently. Today, I thought I’d focus on a few small things we can do each day this year to make the year more productive. For each, we’ll look at why it helps, and how we can make it easier.



    ◊ Make your bed ◊



    Why does it matter?





    * It’s a small task that has big impact. Your bed is probably the biggest thing in and focal point of your bedroom, so its appearance affects the whole room. By making your bed, you immediately make the whole room look better.

    * It goes a long way to turning your bedroom into a relaxing retreat you can look forward to enjoying at the end of the day. Some studies show that bed makers sleep better at night.

    * Orderly spaces are less stressful.





    “Making your bed is a way to help you think more clearly, feel more calm, and get organized. Our living space is a reflection of our mental states. A bed that is made signifies mental clarity and leadership. The mind likes routines. Making your bed is a morning ritual that cleanses your mind of your night. It provides closure from the prior evening (dream, sex, conversations, thoughts) and allows for a new beginning and your positive day ahead."

    Katie Ziskind, a licensed marriage and family therapist based in Connecticut, quoted in...

    The Benefits of Making Your Bed Every Day Are Actually Worth the Effort, Survey Shows







    * Making your bed can make you happier.







    “When I was researching my book on happiness, this was the number one most impactful change that people brought up over and over.”

    Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project, quoted in...

    9 Ways to Be Happier

    “Turns out, people are happier when everyday tasks in their lives are completed.”

    9 Ways to Be Happier







    * It's a great mindfulness exercise if you practice being very present in the experience during the few minutes you’re doing it.

    * Starts the day with a small sense of accomplishment, and will likely trigger you to adopt other productive habits. Charles Duhigg, in The Power of Habit (episode 147 Productive Reading recurring series) calls bed-making a “keystone” habit that can set up a chain reaction of developing other good habits.





    "Making your bed every morning is correlated with better productivity, a greater sense of well-being, and stronger skills at sticking with a budget."

    Charles Duhigg, author of The Power of Habit, quoted in...

    a href="https://www.huffpost.com/entry/benefits-of-making-your-bed_b_7980354" target="_blank" rel="noopener norefer...

    • 37 min
    Holiday Wishes and Year-end Reminders – TPW274

    Holiday Wishes and Year-end Reminders – TPW274

    As we celebrate the year-end holidays, here are my wishes and reminders for all of us.







    These are my holiday reminders to us all



    1. Be present



    One writer says: “Essentially, for me, what “Be Present” means – is that MY MIND IS IN THE NOW. And the “Now” is WHERE MY BODY IS NOW.”



    Another writer: “for some, being present is the practice of being fully engaged and attentive to what is going on in their mind, body, and heart in the exact minute they are in.”



    Whatever we’re doing, practice keeping our mind there, in that moment, resisting the urge to think ahead or mull over what’s already happened.



    2. Make time for what feeds you



    Rest, yes. Decent food, absolutely. 



    But also whatever you find restorative. Time alone or with those who mean most to you; self-care (whatever that means to you--massage; cup of tea and a good book; a walk in nature or a drive to look at the lights). For ideas, check out 33 Ways to Feed Your Soul.



    3. Take time to look back, identify and learn the lessons, and celebrate the wins



    What kind of year has this been for you? Find a word for it. Joyous? Challenging? Momentous? Disappointing? Energizing?



    What lessons have you learned from the good and the bad that happened this year?



    What do you want to carry into the new year with you, what do you want to leave behind, and what new things do you want to change or begin?



    4. Say no to guilt and regret.



    Neither is productive, and neither can help you make a life that matters. As the year winds down, whatever happened, or didn’t happen that you wish or intended, take the lessons and let the rest go. The most productive thing we can all do today (and every day) is simply be in this moment, and look to the future with hope. Give yourself grace.



    What do you think?



    Share your thoughts with me in the comments section below this post or in The Productive Woman Community Facebook group, or send me an email!



    Thank you for being a part of this community. I wish you and yours a very merry Christmas and the happiest of holiday seasons.



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    • 14 min
    Choosing (and Using) a Planner – TPW 273

    Choosing (and Using) a Planner – TPW 273

    Now's a great time to think about a new planner for the coming year. This week we look at some things to consider in choosing (and using) a planner.







    A few thoughts about choosing--and using--a planner



    If you are struggling to get through your to-do list, maybe you need a planner! As we wrap up this year and go into the new one, I thought it would be a great time to talk about planners - some things to consider as you're choosing one, and how to make the most of it.



    What is a planner?



    At its most basic, a planner is a resource/tool used to manage appointments and tasks. You can also use it to capture goals, journal memories, and plan projects. You all know I love my digital tools, but in this episode, we are talking mostly about paper planners.



    What purpose does it serve? What can it do for you?



    A planner is a place to capture information and ideas, to get it out of your head and onto paper.



    What can’t it do?



    It can’t identify what’s important to you.



    It can’t take action for you.



    It only reflects back to you what you put into it.



    To achieve results, you have to find or create motivation to act (For previous episodes on the topic of Motivation, check out Ep.40, Ep.179, and Ep. 227)



    But the planner can be a place where you create a road map and an action plan



    What to consider when choosing a planner





    * What do you need to manage - Tasks? Activities? Appointments? Ideas? Memories?

    * Do you need portability or space for detail?

    * Big-picture view (such as a month at a glance)

    * Detailed planning (a week or day at a glance)





    To be useful, it has to be...





    * Functional (so it can do what you need it to do)



    * The right amount of space

    * The right layout

    * Portable if needed





    * Appealing (so you’ll actually use it)



    * Format

    * Design









    In considering the options, ask yourself: do you want maximum flexibility (e.g., a blank notebook you can format and design to your own taste and purpose) or maximum guidance (dated, formatted pages and sections for specific purposes)?



    Formats and types and sources





    * There is a huge variety at Half Priced Books!

    * Bound, 3-ring, disc-bound

    * Pre-made, self-made

    * Dated, undated





    Tips for using it well





    * Be consistent - develop the habit of writing everything in your planner

    * Be persistent - choose one and stick with it for at least 6 months

    * Be realistic - recognize what you can accomplish in a day/week/month and don’t try to overdo it. Don’t try to fill every minute. We all need breaks and downtime.

    * When you plan, include time for things that feed and nurture you.



    * Spa day

    * Manicure

    * Lunch with a friend

    * Tea and a good book

    * Nap





    * Sometimes a hybrid system works best. A digital calendar can ping you in time to prepare for an event





    Planner utilization ideas from the TPW Facebook community





    * Consider layout, size, and portability. Think about whether you want a structured or unstructured layout. Draw out the layout you need or want.

    * Put all appointments immediately into a digital calendar,

    • 48 min

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