300 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-Improvement
    • 4.5, 269 Ratings

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.

    How to Have a Good Week

    How to Have a Good Week

    If we want to have a good, productive week, we can take purposeful action to make it happen.

    A good week is largely within our control

    Lately, our weeks have been very different from what they have been in the past. No two days look the same and things are constantly changing. But it's still possible to plan, be productive, and have a good week, while fitting in some fun and relaxation. I've come up with ten things we can all do to make sure we have the best, most productive week. I'll bet you have some suggestions, too, and I'd love to hear them!

    Ten things we can do to ensure a good week

    1. Decide you're going to have a good week

    So much of our life experience is based on our thoughts and other things going on around us. We can choose to have a good week no matter what our circumstances might be. We can still enjoy our week and cope with whatever life throws at us-with good humor and a positive attitude.

    2. Know what a good week means to you

    It's impossible to hit a target you can't see. Therefore, you need to have a vision in your mind of what a good week would look like. Spend some time thinking about it. Is it a good week if you accomplish something big? Or if you get several things done on your to-do list? Maybe you've been able to work on a special project. Maybe daily workouts, quiet time, plenty of sleep, time with your loved one. Know yourself and what components made up a good week.

    3. Plan Ahead

    Spend a little time over the weekend preparing for the week ahead. This is not something that has to take a lot of time, but you should plan for a good week, and prepare your mental and physical space.

    A good week can mean we aren't rushing around or playing catch-up, and by planning ahead, we are more likely to have a smooth week. For example,

    * If you’re responsible for meals for yourself or others, maybe do some meal planning and any food prep that you can ahead of time.

    * If it’s going to be a busy week, put your outfits together ahead of time for yourself, your spouse, or the kids’. Lay out everything from your jewelry to your shoes so you're ready to go in the morning.

    * Spend a few minutes checking key areas of your house, such as the kitchen and bathroom, to restock everyday supplies--things like cotton balls, Kleenex, showering supplies, dish soap, etc. Make sure pet food is stocked up, your devices are charged, and your gas tank is full.

    By taking the time to check these things, you are taking the weight of them off your mind and you are more likely to have a better week.

    4. Be realistic

    As you think about the coming week, be honest about how much you can do in a day given the totality of your projects and responsibilities, your health, and your general circumstances.  Sometimes we can be overly ambitious and take on more than we can really handle.

    Also, these are strange times and what we can do in the course of a day or week may have been affected. It's fine to push ourselves, but we need to be creative and gives ourselves grace about how much we can accomplish.

    Leave white space on your calendar instead of scheduling meetings, calls, and appointments back to back. Give yourself time to take a break and a chance to breathe.

    Think about what matters most to you, and clear out anything you can to create the space and energy to enjoy what’s most important. 

    5. Guard your mind

    Be intentional about the inputs. What comes in our eyes and ears affects our thinking, which creates our emotions. For me, that means limiting the amount of news I watch and who I follow on social media. It’s important to me to know what’s going on in the world, but too much negativity sends my thoughts and emotions to a place I don’t want to...

    • 42 min
    Intentional Priorities, with Elizabeth Benton

    Intentional Priorities, with Elizabeth Benton

    In this week's episode, Elizabeth and I talk about having a positive mindset and living according to your priorities.

    Setting intentional priorities to make your life that matters

    Elizabeth Benton is the owner of Primal Potential. Through her platform of podcasts, coaching, and live events, she has fueled her deepest struggles into a burning passion to help people create transformations and live more fulfilled lives. Elizabeth and her husband live in the northeastern United States with their dog and chickens. When she is not working, she enjoys reading and supporting her favorite football team.

    A life-changing decision

    Elizabeth has been in business for about six years. The decision to start a business came after years of pain and struggle. Elizabeth was depressed, deeply in debt, and obese. As a nutrition expert and educator who binged on junk food every time she put gas in her car, she felt like a fraud and a failure. Desperate to start her life, she decided to believe in her potential rather than her past.

    Elizabeth did this by making a mental shift and changing her perspective. She lost 150 pounds, paid off $130,000 in debt, and remains debt-free as a successful entrepreneur. From that point on, Elizabeth knew she wanted to help others who had been where she had been, stuck in the trying and wanting, but not seeing things through, and getting in their own way with excuses. Since starting Primal Potential, she has put out 800 podcast episodes and written her first book. Elizabeth's biggest passion is relationships with others and structuring her life around what matters most.

    Your mindset affects your life

    Elizabeth says that when it comes to making changes to our lives, most of us already know what to do. For example, we know that to lose weight, we need to exercise and eat right. The challenge we run in to, though, is that excuses, fears, and stories get in the way, causing us to change gears after a month and switch to a new plan or approach. We get stuck in a cycle of jumping from plan to plan but the same doubts, fears, stories, and excuses continue to follow us.

    Our mindset is what is preventing us from accomplishing our goals and making changes, and that is what we need to work on. We need to upgrade our mindset. Once we do this, everything gets easier.

    “We have to stop pretending that change is all about skill set. It’s not. It’s about mindset.” 

    A typical day

    Elizabeth says that on a typical day, she will wake up, put her shoes on, and drive down to the Cape Cod Canal for a 4-mile walk. She likes to get this done within 15-20 minutes of waking up.

    She will then come home, shower and dress, and get ready for her day. She will make herself a shake, walk to her home office (in a separate building on her property), and dive into her Primal Potential work.

    Elizabeth typically has 2 to 3 big projects she works on each day, which she prioritizes first, and then fits the smaller tasks in between those.

    In the mid-morning or early afternoon, she will head to the gym for a quick work out. After returning from the gym, Elizabeth will complete any leftover work tasks she may have. Before leaving work for the day, she makes sure she has a clear idea of her priorities and objectives for the following workday.

    Resources and tools Elizabeth recommends

    Due to all the roles Elizabeth fills as an entrepreneur, she uses a variety of simple but helpful tools to get her through her day. Her most used tool is Google calendar. Elizabeth uses this to schedule her whole day, including meetings and interviews, as well as exercise and personal time with her husband. Elizabeth's calendar is available to her whole team so they know when th...

    • 49 min
    Using Free Time Well

    Using Free Time Well

    When normal activities are suspended, whether during a pandemic or due to some other change in circumstances, we might find ourselves with more than the usual amount of free time. How can we use that unexpected free time in positive and productive ways?

    When times are strange, we can still use our free time in a positive way

    Since around March in the United States, life has been very different from normal. Even for those who are not ill, many of us have been staying home--some working from home and some not able to work at all. Many planned activities have been canceled. For many of us, the pace of life has slowed down and time that once was filled with activities we enjoyed is now unfilled.

    Slowing down a bit can be a good thing because it gives us the opportunity to evaluate how we are spending our time. However, with no end in sight to this "new normal", this can be difficult as well.

    During the crisis, individuals, depending on circumstances, may experience anger, anxiety, avoidance, boredom, confusion, decreased concentration, depression, detachment, emotional exhaustion, insomnia, isolation, grief, guilt, sadness or other symptoms,” says Michael Morgenstern, MD, who is board-certified in both neurology and sleep medicine by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. “The severity of these feelings, and our ability to cope with them so that they don’t interfere with our daily function, is important.” [from The Lasting Impact of COVID-19: How Will It Affect Our Mental Health?] 

    Ideas for how to spend your time

    Each of us has to find her own way to cope with the uncertainty, the changes, and the resulting anxiety. One way to turn it around is to use this time differently. Give yourself something to look forward to or direct your attention away from the uncertainty. Use this time in a positive way.

    Improve a professional skill

    * Take some online training covering subjects relevant to your career or another area of interest. If you are required to get a certain amount of continuing education credits each year anyway, this helps to satisfy that requirement and expand your knowledge. Whatever your job or profession may be, is there a skill you rely on that you can work on improving during your downtime? 

    Revive an old hobby or interest

    * What did you used to enjoy that you haven’t had time for? Needlework, gardening, painting, playing an instrument? Working on family scrapbooks or photo albums? Reading books? (Our local library is open during certain hours, but if you can’t go to the library (but have a library card), most libraries make e-books and audiobooks available for checkout via apps like Libby from OverDrive.) Maybe you enjoy writing? How about some poetry, fiction, articles, or a blog? You could start a blog to chronicle this experience and share any knowledge you may have. Or even just journaling. Imagine reading your journal 20 years from now and remembering this experience.

    Renew friendships

    * Find creative ways to reach out to friends. This is a great time to renew friendships that are important to us and reconnect with others. Right now, social media is probably not the best option to do this. There is a lot of negativity and anger on social media sites and it’s easy to misinterpret things that are said. Mental health experts have been encouraging us...

    • 40 min
    Mid-Year Reflection

    Mid-Year Reflection

    We’ve just finished the first half of 2020 and have turned the corner into the second half. It’s been a year unlike any other I’ve experienced in my 6 decades and at this midpoint of the year I’ve been thinking about that, and you, a lot. 

    A mid-year pause to reflect on an extraordinary year

    How are you feeling right now? Are things going well, or are you and your family struggling? Perhaps emotionally, physically, or financially?

    At this mid-year point, I thought it would be a good time to pause, reflect, and regroup. It’s something I do every year, and for me, it’s even more important now.

    We talked about this several years ago, in episode 95. As I said then, a mid-year review is my way of pausing to make sure I’m on the right track for the year (while there is still time to adjust my course) and heading in the direction of accomplishing the right things by year-end. During this mid-year review time I can:

    * Regain focus and awareness. Reviewing my goals helps me to evaluate where I am and where my intention is focused. It’s easy to get lost in just getting from one day to the next. Taking the time to do a mid-year review gives me the opportunity to refocus if I need to. 

    * Evaluate or re-evaluate my goals. Do my goals still make sense? Or do I need to adjust my goals and strategy?

    * Get back on track. If I’ve gotten sidetracked from my goals, I can look at everything again and focus on why I set those goals in the first place.

    The process for doing my mid-year review is pretty straight-forward. Again, please refer back to episode 95  for a little more detail.

    The first half of the year

    To start, begin by carving out a little time when you can think. Sit down with a pen and paper and take a look back, then a look forward.

    Thinking back over the first half of the year, January through June, what went well? That may seem like a hard question given the current events, but it's good to have a positive mindset. Take out your calendar or journal and look back over what you did, what events you attended, places you went. What do you feel good about and can celebrate? What worked?

    Even in the most trying times, we can find something that went well.

    On the other hand, what did you plan to do that didn't happen and why?

    With all that has happened this year, our reason for not accomplishing our goals can be attributed to the Coronavirus and quarantine measures. But think a little deeper than that. What about the Coronavirus prevented you from accomplishing a goal or working on a project? Maybe there is a deeper reason, like your ability to stay on task and focus due to all the world events going on at this time, health concerns, financial problems, etc. These worries can really affect your motivation and ability to accomplish things. 

    Being distracted by things going on around you doesn't mean there is something wrong with you.

    Think back over all you planned to do and ask yourself if you want to try that plan again. Is this goal still important? Is it still worth pursuing? It's okay to rethink and re-evaluate your goals. During the first half of this year, many of us have had a change in our priorities. This is a good time to lay a foundation for moving forward in a positive direction.

    The second half of the year

    After you finish looking back over the previous six months, it's now time to look forward.

    Think about how you want to feel for the next six months. Where do you want to be at the end of 2020? Remember,

    • 32 min
    Reclaiming Your Creativity, with Majo Molfino

    Reclaiming Your Creativity, with Majo Molfino

    In this week's episode, Majo Molfino and I talk about (among other things!) reclaiming your creativity as an important component of a meaningfully productive life.

    Reclaiming your creativity and making a life that matters

    Majo is an Argentine-American author, designer, and women’s leadership expert. She is the host of the HEROINE podcast, featuring top female leaders, creatives, and visionaries. Her leadership program, IGNITE, guides women to design and share a creative dream with the world. She lives in California with her husband. 

    When Majo was 2 years old, she emigrated from Argentine to Canada. Moving around a lot as a child, Majo never quite felt she belonged anywhere. She coped by being the "good girl", getting straight A's, figure skating, playing the piano, and winning competitions. She did everything that was expected of her until hitting a turning point in her 20's. She became depressed and disillusioned, feeling like she was playing a role and never being her true self. Inside, however, she felt very passionate, creative, and free.

    Since that time, Majo has been on a journey of reclaiming her creativity and sharing that with other women. One way she has shared her journey is through her first book, Break the Good Girl Myth, which is available for preorder now on Amazon. In this book, Majo discusses "5 Good Girl Myths", which are subconscious tendencies ingrained in women which need to be unlearned in order for us to do the work we need to do.

    A typical day

    Majo says that given the current Covid-19 pandemic, as well the Black Lives Matter protests and other world events, her productivity has decreased and she has no "typical" day anymore. Everything has been thrown for a loop.

    One thing that really helps her, though, is thinking back to when she was writing her book, and learning what time of day she has the most energy to work and be productive. For Majo, this time is in the morning. She has the most energy and focus in the morning and then it begins to decrease after lunch.

    Therefore, Majo does her deepest work in the morning and puts strict boundaries in place. For example, she keeps her phone in her bedroom and does not turn it on until noon each day.

    After Majo's morning work is complete, she will schedule all other activities such as meetings and calls for the afternoon.

    Now that she is promoting her new book, she has changed her day around because she needs all of her energy to go towards talking about the book, not writing about it. All interviews regarding the book (even if they are calls, which would normally be in the afternoon) are in the morning when she has the most energy.

    By being flexible, Majo is able to maximize her positive impact for the season she is in right now.

    Majo also struggles with perfectionism and this has manifested in her desire to always be achieving things. She's been hard on herself these last few months as her productivity hasn't been the same. She is trying to expand her definition of productivity and give herself grace when it comes to what she accomplishes on a daily basis.

    Biggest productivity challenges

    One of Majo's biggest dreams is to write fiction. However, when that dream becomes really loud, she internally resists the dream because it's uncomfortable creative work. She avoids it and procrastinates by starting new projects, or numbing herself with food or social media, anything that will distract her from the hard work. Her own resistance is her biggest productivity challenge.

    She also deals with her inner critic saying "this has already been done" or "it doesn't matter".  Or she will have scattered attention and become easily distracted.

    • 51 min
    Favorite Productivity Tips and Tools

    Favorite Productivity Tips and Tools

    As we celebrate 6 years of The Productive Woman podcast, here are a few productivity tips and tools from the TPW community and from me!

    Happy podiversary! and a few favorite productivity tips and tools

    This week we’re celebrating TPW’s 6-year “podiversary” and talking about some favorite productivity tips and tools.

    How TPW began

    In 2013, I decided I wanted to try podcasting. I took Cliff Ravenscraft’s online "Podcasting A to Z " course in December 2013, with the intention of launching this podcast on January 1, 2014.

    When January came, I had everything ready to go . . . but I stalled.  I was terrified of launching, wondering if people would think it was a dumb idea.

    After 6 months I still hadn't launched the podcast and I felt guilty for spending the time and money to prepare. Finally, thanks to the encouragement of some important people in my life, I pushed through my fear and published that first 5-minute introductory episode on July 1st, 2014, which is exactly 6 years ago today (as of the date this episode is published)!

    One more thought from the TPW community on what it means to make a life that matters

    Last week, for episode 300, I shared some feedback from the community on what it means to make a life that matters. One wonderful answer unfortunately came in after that episode had published, so I want to share it now. This came via email from Elisabeth from Toulouse, France:  

    “When you asked us to define what matters in our life and how to know, I immediately thought about war (strange mind!). In France, we were quarantined or almost quarantined for about three months, so we had a lot of time to pause and reflect. Many things and actions were not possible to do. So we had to choose what to fight for. In a war time, I know for what I would have fought: my family, my faith, my freedom and and my access to culture (same as my grandpa who was a 2nd world war Red Cross "soldier"). These are the things which really matters to me. In the daily mundane tasks, that means I’ve chosen to leave my job, to be a stay-at-home mother and wife. Having no job, I’ve got less money but more free time and more creativity. I have now an edible garden, I sew and mend a lot, I cook from scratch, have time to find ways to entertain the family for free (or almost): library, podcast, art exhibition, street festivals, I also have time to help at school or at church.”

    Favorite productivity tips and tools

    A couple of mine

    Before sharing productivity tips from our TPW community, I wanted to share a few tips of my own that have really made a difference in my day to day life.

    * Making good use of my calendar-when I put an appointment, conference call, or meeting in my calendar, I add any information I might need for that appointment, such as an address, phone number (in case I need to call because I’m running late or need to reschedule), notes about the purpose, or the people involved. I try to label the meeting in a way that reminds me of what it’s about. So for example:  “Phone conference with [name] to discuss [deal name] purchase terms” or something like that. I do this because I have lots of deals going with lots of different people and can forget the name of the person I’ll be talking to, or which deal it’s about, or which aspect of the deal. If it’s a call or meeting about a particular document, I’ll attach a copy of that document or any reference material I need for the call. I use a digital calendar, specifically an app called DigiCal, which is very helpful for me.

    • 48 min

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5
269 Ratings

269 Ratings

Karen Briscoe, Author ,

Inspiration and Insights

Inspiration and insights that transform businesses and lives. Achieve a higher level of success by tuning in to the Productive Woman with Laura. -- Karen Briscoe, author and podcast host 5 Minute Success

Marina 'The Trader Chick' ,

So helpful for my business and daily life

I love listening to the tips, tricks, and tools from this podcast. I love listening to women share how they make the most out of their time. Aside from learning a lot from other businesses, I get to apply many to my own, plus it keeps me entertained.

WellnessWhileWalking ,

Great knowledge and motivation here

Laura is an amazing podcaster with endless amounts of information to share. She is incredibly approachable and very present and easy to reach in person. She really cares about her listener, it's clear, and is very much a role model for me. Thanks, Laura, and please keep the great work coming!

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