547 episodes

Hosted by productivity strategist Mike Vardy, A Productive Conversation is a podcast that discusses tips, tools, tactics, and tricks that are designed to help you take your productivity, time management, goals, to do lists, habits, and workflow to new heights - both at work and at home. If you're looking to focus your efforts on getting the right things done and start living the good life, then this weekly conversational podcast – crafted in the tradition of Slate's Working, Back to Work, and HBR IdeaCast – is for you.

A Productive Conversation Mike Vardy

    • Business
    • 4.2 • 99 Ratings

Hosted by productivity strategist Mike Vardy, A Productive Conversation is a podcast that discusses tips, tools, tactics, and tricks that are designed to help you take your productivity, time management, goals, to do lists, habits, and workflow to new heights - both at work and at home. If you're looking to focus your efforts on getting the right things done and start living the good life, then this weekly conversational podcast – crafted in the tradition of Slate's Working, Back to Work, and HBR IdeaCast – is for you.

    PM Talks S1E7: Perspective

    PM Talks S1E7: Perspective

    Welcome to the latest episode in our monthly series, PM Talks. In this episode, I sit down with Patrick to discuss the importance of perspective in our daily lives. We dive into our personal experiences with escaping the daily grind, the joys and challenges of investing in vacation homes, and the unique significance of family cabins.
    Patrick and I also explore how perspective shapes our understanding and interactions in various contexts, from personal experiences and storytelling to broader conversations. We touch on the challenges of navigating a fast-paced world and the benefits of giving oneself space to appreciate different viewpoints. This episode is packed with insights on how establishing a shared understanding can set the stage for successful projects and meaningful connections.
    Key Discussion Points

    Our experiences with quick weekend getaways to family cabins, balancing busy schedules and relaxation.

    The rich history and traditions of a family cabin in Minnesota, highlighting its generational significance.

    The impact of perspective on reducing friction in various contexts, using examples like a multi-handled coffee mug and a Star Wars reference.

    The challenges and unique viewpoints in watching circus performances, particularly a standout 16-year-old performer.

    A discussion on Cirque du Soleil’s “Love” show, its technical marvels, and the different reactions from Beatles fans and seasoned Cirque viewers.

    The relevance of George Orwell's "1984" to modern society and how perspective can shift our understanding of literature and life.

    The importance of empathy and perspective-taking in communication, emphasizing the need to understand the "why" behind someone's viewpoint.


    As we wrap up, Patrick and I reflect on how travel and new experiences can broaden our perspectives and lead to personal growth. We share anecdotes, such as my daughter’s transformative trip to Europe, illustrating how different viewpoints can profoundly impact our understanding of the world. We also delve into how aligning projects with personal values and perspectives is key to feeling a sense of completion and fulfillment.
    Links Worth Exploring

    Patrick's Website

    What is the Barash Vow?

    Here's the book that Patrick was talking about

    About Nuance...

    ...and Choices


    Thanks to all of the sponsors of this episode. You can find all of the sponsors you heard me mention on this episode on our Podcast Sponsors page.
    Want to support the podcast? Beyond checking out our sponsors, you can subscribe to the show wherever you listen to podcasts. You can subscribe on Spotify and also on Apple Podcasts. Not using either of those to get your podcasts? Just click on this link and then paste the podcast feed into your podcast app of choice.
    Thanks again for listening to A Productive Conversation. See you later.
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    • 52 min
    Kevin Surace Talks About AI and Maintaining Productivity

    Kevin Surace Talks About AI and Maintaining Productivity

    In this episode, I have a conversation with Kevin Surace, a prolific inventor and AI expert with 94 worldwide patents. Kevin and I dive into the strategies for maintaining productivity and purpose in life, including prioritizing tasks, managing energy levels, and navigating the second phase of life. We also explore the impact of AI on society and productivity, highlighting both its benefits and challenges.
    Throughout our discussion, Kevin shares his insights on the potential and limitations of AI assistants in content creation and relationship advice, emphasizing the need to use these tools responsibly and ethically. We offer practical advice and strategies for balancing various roles and responsibilities while maintaining productivity and purpose in life.
    Key Discussion Points

    The importance of productivity and prioritization, emphasizing real-world problem-solving and finding joy in work.

    Strategies for maintaining energy and focus, including the benefits of being a night owl and the importance of exercise.

    The potential impact of AI on jobs and productivity, highlighting both opportunities and challenges.

    How AI tools like Otter.ai, GPT, Copilot, and Dall-E can increase productivity by automating tasks and generating ideas.

    The responsible use of AI language models for refining prompts and enhancing creative processes.

    The role of AI in improving critical thinking and fostering innovation in various fields.

    Practical advice for entrepreneurs, especially those in the second phase of life, on identifying real problems and turning them into successful businesses.


    In closing, Kevin and I reflect on the exciting possibilities that AI brings to productivity and innovation, while also stressing the importance of using these tools ethically. We hope this episode provides valuable insights and practical advice for maintaining productivity and finding purpose in your personal and professional life.
    Links Worth Exploring

    Connect with Kevin: Website | LinkedIn | X/Twitter


    Related Conversation: Episode 513: Haris Butt Talks About AI and Productivity Enhancements


    Related Blog Post: There’s Nothing Wrong with Being a Night Owl



    Thanks to all of the sponsors of this episode. You can find all of the sponsors you heard me mention on this episode on our Podcast Sponsors page.
    Want to support the podcast? Beyond checking out our sponsors, you can subscribe to the show wherever you listen to podcasts. You can subscribe on Spotify and also on Apple Podcasts. Not using either of those to get your podcasts? Just click on this link and then paste the podcast feed into your podcast app of choice.
    Thanks again for listening to A Productive Conversation. See you later.
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    • 43 min
    FROM THE VAULT: Corey Poirier Talks About Finding Your Passion and Overcoming Public Speaking Fears

    FROM THE VAULT: Corey Poirier Talks About Finding Your Passion and Overcoming Public Speaking Fears

    In this episode of the podcast, I'm joined by Corey Poirier, a renowned speaker and author for a special double episode. We discuss the inspiration behind writing a parable-style book (like his book "The Enlightened Passenger", the importance of passion in one's work, and the unique challenges of stand-up comedy. Corey shares his journey of discovering his passion for speaking and teaching others how to find their own passion, providing listeners with practical advice and insights along the way.
    We also revisit Corey's previous appearance on the show, where he shares the critical steps to overcoming public speaking fears, including Corey's 90-day program that offers weekly video trainings, a supportive social media community, and expert Q&A sessions. Corey emphasizes the significance of taking baby steps in conquering these fears and launching a successful speaking career.
    As we wrap up the conversation, Corey leaves us with actionable steps to help listeners embark on their own journey of discovering and pursuing their passions. His insights and experiences serve as a valuable guide for anyone looking to overcome their fears and achieve their dreams.
    Key Discussion Points

    The inspiration behind Corey Poirier's parable-style book "The Enlightened Passenger" and its layered approach to personal growth and spirituality.

    Corey's journey from stand-up comedy to keynote speaking, highlighting the transformative impact of following one's passion.

    The role of passion in one's work and how Corey discovered his through stand-up comedy and speaking.

    Practical advice for overcoming public speaking fears, including stage training programs like Toastmasters and Dale Carnegie.

    The importance of taking baby steps to build confidence in public speaking and how Corey's 90-day program supports this process.

    Corey shares insights on finding one's passion, starting with a pen and paper exercise to reflect on what one would do if money weren't an issue.

    Tips for avoiding distractions during the passion-finding process, such as turning off notifications and moving your phone away.


    This episode with Corey Poirier is packed with valuable insights and practical advice on finding and pursuing your passion, overcoming public speaking fears, and achieving personal growth. Whether you're looking to make a career change or simply want to conquer your fears, Corey's journey and expertise offer a wealth of inspiration and guidance.
    Links Worth Exploring

    Connect with Corey: Website | LinkedIn | X/Twitter


    Get Corey’s Book: The Enlightened Passenger


    Explore one of Corey's other initiatives: Learn more about bLU Talks


    Learn more about Corey's speaker program: Check it out here


    Related Conversation: Episode 446: How to Fight a Hydra with Josh Kaufman


    Related Blog Post: Why I’m Passionate About Personal Productivity



    Thanks to all of the sponsors of this episode. You can find all of the sponsors you heard me mention on this episode on our Podcast Sponsors page.
    Want to support the podcast? Beyond checking out our sponsors, you can subscribe to the show wherever you listen to podcasts. You can subscribe on Spotify and also on Apple Podcasts. Not using either of those to get your podcasts? Just click on this link and then paste the podcast feed into your podcast app of choice.
    Thanks again for listening to A Productive Conversation. See you later.
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    • 56 min
    Laura Mae Martin Talks About Personalized Productivity Systems and Well-being

    Laura Mae Martin Talks About Personalized Productivity Systems and Well-being

    In this episode of A Productive Conversation, I sit down with Google’s productivity expert, Laura Mae Martin, to explore the nuances of personal and business productivity. With thirteen years at Google under her belt, Laura has experience in sales, product operations, event planning, and executive coaching.
    During our conversation, Laura shares her journey to becoming a productivity guru and the insights that led to her latest book, "UPTIME: A Practical Guide to Personal Productivity and Wellbeing." Together, we explore how traditional definitions of productivity often miss the mark and how personalized systems can truly enhance effectiveness and well-being.
    Join us as we discuss strategies for prioritizing tasks, setting boundaries, and managing time more effectively. Laura emphasizes the importance of flexibility and realism in setting boundaries and shares her preferred productivity systems and methods, including the innovative "list funnel" approach.
    Key Discussion Points


    Laura’s Origin Story: How Laura became a productivity expert and authored "Uptime."


    Redefining Productivity: Linking intention and attention, rather than focusing solely on efficiency.


    The 5 C’s of Productivity: What are they and how do they work?


    Managing Urgent Tasks: The benefits of setting a daily urgent time block versus reactive management.


    The List Funnel Concept: Laura’s favorite part of her book, offering a systematic approach to task management.


    Balancing Work and Personal Life: Personal productivity systems and the challenges of maintaining balance.


    Work Flexibility During the Pandemic: How the shift to remote work has changed productivity dynamics and management approaches.


    Laura Mae Martin’s insights offer a refreshing take on productivity, emphasizing the need for personalized systems and realistic boundaries. Her practical advice and strategies provide valuable tools for anyone looking to enhance their productivity and well-being. Be sure to check out her book "Uptime" for a deeper dive into these concepts.
    Links Worth Exploring

    Connect with Laura: Website | LinkedIn | Instagram


    Get Laura’s Book: UPTIME: A Practical Guide to Personal Productivity and Wellbeing


    Related Conversation: The Evolution of Getting Things Done with David Allen


    (Another) Related Conversation: Episode 360: A World Without Email with Cal Newport


    Related Blog Post: How to Be Productive When You’re Sick and Tired



    Thanks to all of the sponsors of this episode. You can find all of the sponsors you heard me mention on this episode on our Podcast Sponsors page.
    Want to support the podcast? Beyond checking out our sponsors, you can subscribe to the show wherever you listen to podcasts. You can subscribe on Spotify and also on Apple Podcasts. Not using either of those to get your podcasts? Just click on this link and then paste the podcast feed into your podcast app of choice.
    Thanks again for listening to A Productive Conversation. See you later.
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    • 47 min
    PM Talks S1E6: Writing

    PM Talks S1E6: Writing

    Welcome to the latest episode of PM Talks, our monthly series on A Productive Conversation where I engage in thought-provoking conversations with my good friend Patrick Rhone.
    This time around we dive deep into our unique approaches to writing, balancing productivity, and embracing creative freedom. Patrick and I share our experiences with writer's block and self-doubt, discuss curating blog content into book format, and highlight the value of writing for personal growth.
    Key Discussion Points

    We discuss our busy schedules, including Patrick's circus performances and my NFL Draft viewing.

    I talk about the reality of multitasking, such as doing admin work while watching the NFL Draft.

    Patrick prefers quiet or ambient noise for focus, avoiding music with lyrics.

    We stress getting ideas out of our heads, even if they're not fully formed.

    Strategies for capturing ideas include writing them down, using instrumental music, and muting distractions.

    Differences between blog writing and book writing, and focusing on one or the other.


    Patrick and I also reflect on the challenges and rewards of writing. We delve into the importance of intentionality and consistency in our writing practices, sharing practical strategies for overcoming creative blocks and maintaining productivity. Our conversation offers valuable insights for writers and creatives looking to enhance their craft.
    Links Worth Exploring

    Patrick's Website


    My Upcoming Book: The Productivity Diet


    Annie Mueller's Blog

    Micro.blog Platform


    Thanks to all of the sponsors of this episode. You can find all of the sponsors you heard me mention on this episode on our Podcast Sponsors page.
    Want to support the podcast? Beyond checking out our sponsors, you can subscribe to the show wherever you listen to podcasts. You can subscribe on Spotify and also on Apple Podcasts. Not using either of those to get your podcasts? Just click on this link and then paste the podcast feed into your podcast app of choice.
    Thanks again for listening to A Productive Conversation. See you later.
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    • 54 min
    Scott Rusnak Talks About Integrating EOS for Maximum Impact

    Scott Rusnak Talks About Integrating EOS for Maximum Impact

    In this episode, I sit down with Scott Rusnak to explore the powerful integration of the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS) into both personal and professional lives. Scott and I talk about the importance of prioritizing and designing one's life intentionally, providing actionable insights and tools for personal growth and maximum impact.
    We also highlight the significance of journaling for personal and professional development, emphasizing the roles of non-negotiables, reflection, and self-awareness in achieving long-term goals. Additionally, Scott shares his thoughts on gratitude and the importance of maintaining a gratitude journal to recognize and appreciate those who have helped us along our journey.
    Key Discussion Points

    The need to prioritize and design life rather than letting it unfold by default.

    The role of journaling in personal and professional development.

    Emphasizing non-negotiables and self-awareness in making progress towards goals.

    The value of gratitude and keeping a gratitude journal.

    Finding focus and balance through setting values and priorities.

    Surrounding oneself with the right people and having an accountability plan.

    The importance of taking breaks and resting to recharge.


    This episode with Scott Rusnak is packed with valuable insights for anyone looking to integrate the principles of EOS into their life. From journaling and gratitude to prioritizing and designing a life of impact, Scott provides practical advice and tools to help you achieve your goals. Be sure to take action on the insights shared and continue your journey towards personal and professional growth.
    Links Worth Exploring

    Connect with Scott: Website | LinkedIn


    Get Scott’s Book: The Entrepreneurs Field Guide - Design Your Life Before Someone Else Does It For You!


    What is EOS? Read this book: Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business


    Related Conversation: A Very Special Episode: Austin Kleon Returns!


    Related Blog Post: Gap Days



    Thanks to all of the sponsors of this episode. You can find all of the sponsors you heard me mention on this episode on our Podcast Sponsors page.
    Want to support the podcast? Beyond checking out our sponsors, you can subscribe to the show wherever you listen to podcasts. You can subscribe on Spotify and also on Apple Podcasts. Not using either of those to get your podcasts? Just click on this link and then paste the podcast feed into your podcast app of choice.
    Thanks again for listening to A Productive Conversation. See you later.
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    • 32 min

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5
99 Ratings

99 Ratings

dougitect ,

Quality topics and guests

Always interesting and I like how he goes beyond the basics of productivity.

M in CT ,

Mike - please finish your sentences

I like this show and admire how much work and preparation Mike must put into the show. The guests are great and Mike is always prepared.

My only issue with the show is how Mike expresses himself. It is hard to vibe with the conversations when Mike begins a thought, qualifies it with a complex thought, and then circles back to the original thought. Mike - stop qualifying and finish your sentences…pleeeeeezzzzeeee

Otherwise, all good :)

retired army gal ,

I want to like this podcast….

But the host talks more than the guests! Mike, if you invite guests, let them speak. If you want to wax eloquently, then pick a topic and don’t have any guests.

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