324 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 • 292 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.

    Discovering Your Potential, with Margaret Alabi

    Discovering Your Potential, with Margaret Alabi

    Margaret Alabi is a busy Pharmacist by day but spends her free time coaching others to reach their full potential as leaders through her agency, The Pivot Consulting Group. In this week's episode, Margaret and I talk about how she balances her professional life with her passion for helping others grow through sustainable productivity.

    Growing into your potential via sustainable productivity

    Margaret Alabi is an industry pharmacist and leadership coach who serves as the CEO and co-founder of The Pivot Consulting Group (TPCG). In addition to coaching, speaking, and training for TPCG, she currently serves as the Director for US Immunology Patient Advocacy at UCB Inc where she partners with patient advocates and her colleagues to create innovative healthcare solutions that improve the lives of patients living with severe conditions. Margaret hails from Atlanta, Georgia, where she enjoys singing, roller skating, and posing with her standard poodle puppies, Belle and Beau!

    Margaret says that although she is a pharmacist by training, she's never actually dispensed any medications. She learned early in life what she valued and knew what her strengths were, which is what brought her into the industry. Margaret wanted to focus on her strengths and learn to be productive on a different level. In this kind of industry, she has encountered some stumbling blocks along the way but has no regrets.

    A typical day

    For Margaret's average day, one half of it is typical and the other half is unpredictable. She said this is good, though, because she's learned to be malleable and flexible.

    With that being said, Margaret starts her day at about 5:00 in the morning and immediately does a 30-minute meditation. This meditation time is essential to give her mind some "mental space and flexibility" right at the start of the day, rather than crowding her mind with things she has to do.

    While meditating, she likes to focus on the type of day she wants to have. What emotions does she want to feel (or not feel)? What does she want to accomplish?

    After her meditation, she gets on her Peloton bike for a 60-75 minute ride. Margaret says that without this vigorous workout, she does not have the stamina to make it through her day. In addition to the much-needed energy the ride provides, completing a strenuous workout also gives Margaret a huge sense of accomplishment that kicks off her day right.

    Her workout completed, Margaret gets dressed and begins her workday in her living room. She is now working from home like most of us. Margaret spends the majority of the workday in front of her computer but blocks out two one-hour periods of time, at 12:00 pm and 2:00 pm, where she will step away from work to play with her dogs, take a walk, or simply be away from her workspace. She doesn't take a typical lunch because she tends to snack throughout the day. Having dedicated time away from her work throughout the day has really helped her to cope with sheltering in place.

    Due to the nature of Margaret's job, she doesn't have a specific time that she stops working. However, she tries to balance her job with other things she may be doing in the evening, such as spending time with family, coaching her clients, or watching a favorite television show. She is currently enjoying The Undoing on HBO Max.

    Biggest productivity challenges

    When it comes to managing her life, Margaret's biggest challenge centers around knowing when to ask for help. She is a "recovering Type A" personality and doesn't always know when to release control. She has learned to trust others to help her along the way instead of trying to do it all herself.

    • 49 min
    Giving Thanks

    Giving Thanks

    This episode will be published the day before Thanksgiving. Here in the U.S., Thanksgiving day is historically a time set aside to give thanks for the blessings in our lives, like our family, friends, and provision for our needs. We don’t need to wait for a holiday to give thanks, though. Given the difficult year many of us have experienced, this holiday is a good reminder of how important it is to give thanks every day. 

    Give thanks every day, not just on Thanksgiving

    Giving thanks and feeling grateful each day is important. And it's good for us. Our mental and physical health benefits from us being thankful for all that we have. During these challenging times, if you start to feel sad or frustrated, remember that you can turn your day around simply by choosing to be grateful.

    "Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings."

    ~ William Arthur Ward, writer 

    5 ways being thankful is good for you (per studies cited in 5 Reasons Giving Thanks is Good for You):

    * Counting blessings boosts your health. Research showed that grateful people had less depression and stress, lower blood pressure, more energy, and greater optimism. 

    * Slow down the aging clock.  Studies have shown that in older adults, a daily practice of gratitude even slowed down some of the effects of neurodegeneration that often occurs as we age. 

    * Put the brakes on stress. Cortisol is often called the “stress hormone,” and when our bodies produce too much, it can deplete the immune system and raise blood sugar levels. A study conducted at the Institute of HeartMath Research Center in California found that positive emotions like appreciation significantly lowered levels of cortisol. 

    * Being thankful helps you bond. Research (by U.S. psychologists Sara Algoe and Baldwin Way) indicates that gratitude can also lead to better relationships. The explanation may be connected to increased production of oxytocin, sometimes called the “bonding hormone” because it fosters calm and security in relationships. 

    * Gratefulness = good for the heart and waistline? According to (some) research, people with high blood pressure who actively express thankfulness “can achieve up to a 10 percent reduction in systolic blood pressure and decrease their dietary fat intake by up to 20 percent.” 

    We’ve talked in the past about the positive effects gratitude can have on our life, our health, and more. Check out TPW167 (Gratitude & Productivity); TPW270 (Gratitude); and TPW311 (our conversation with Autumn McKay about Practicing Gratitude) 

    Some thoughts others have had about the importance of giving thanks:

    "Be thankful for what you have; you'll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don't have, you will never, ever have enough." ~ Oprah Winfrey 

    "We would worry less if we praised more.

    • 33 min
    Getting and Staying Motivated

    Getting and Staying Motivated

    I've had several conversations recently with women who find themselves struggling to stay focused, stay on task, and keep moving forward with their projects and goals. I can relate to that, specifically when it comes to my efforts to get healthier this year. I thought this would be a good time to talk about getting started and moving forward on what is most important to us.

    Motivation and productivity

    What is motivation? 

    When doing my research for this topic, I first looked up the word motivation in the dictionary.

    * Noun  the reason or reasons one has for acting or behaving in a particular way. "escape can be a strong motivation for travel" [this addresses the question of why you’re doing what you’re doing] 

    * the general desire or willingness of someone to do something. [this addresses the question of how much you want to do the thing you’re doing] "keep staff up to date and maintain interest and motivation" 

    Another definition states: “motivation is a condition inside us that desires a change, either in the self or the environment” [from What Is Motivation? A Psychologist Explains] Motivation comes when our current situation, internal or environmental, is uncomfortable enough that we are motivated to do something to change it. This can apply to our health, our relationships, our jobs, or our goals.

    Two basic sources of motivation

    * Extrinsic (comes from outside): examples would be a trophy, job promotion, or attention from other people.

    * Intrinsic (come from inside): this is something we do from the satisfaction of doing it, not from validation from the outside.

    One writer explains that motivation has 3 components: activation, persistence, and intensity. As the article put it:

    * Activation involves the decision to initiate a behavior. 

    * Persistence is the continued effort toward a goal even though obstacles may exist.  

    * Intensity can be seen in the concentration and vigor that goes into pursuing a goal. 

    These three components can apply to any action, such as the pursuit of a goal, completion of a task or project, development of a habit, or change of a behavior.

    Why is it important? 

    Motivation is important because it's what drives us to act and keep acting.

    “simply having the desire to accomplish something is not enough. Achieving such a goal requires the ability to persist through obstacles and endurance to keep going in spite of difficulties.” [from What Is Motivation?]

    What interferes with motivation? 

    Health--even people with health challenges can be highly motivated to take action in pursuit of their goals, but it makes it harder. And, poor health can interfere with our motivation. Choosing to follow a healthy diet can help us maintain the energy and general sense of well-being that can help us press on.

    Fatigue--this is also tied to our health. If we don’t eat well, get enough rest, drink enough water, and generally care for our bodies, it’s hard to find motivation to do anything. One note for women: persistent fatigue might have physiological causes (e.g., for me, hypothyroidism). Schedule a check-up with your healthcare provider just to make sure it’s not something that needs medical attention.

    Emotions--when we are experiencing strong emotions (especially strong negative emotions,

    • 46 min
    Prioritizing Your Time, with Elizabeth Hill

    Prioritizing Your Time, with Elizabeth Hill

    Elizabeth Hill is a busy mom, business owner, and lawyer who is trying to make the best use of her time, while also being careful to make time for herself. In this week's episode, we discuss how she manages her multiple roles and her tips for starting a small business.



    Focusing on your mindset for maximum productivity

    Elizabeth Hill is an entrepreneur, attorney, former counselor, and mother of four. In addition, Elizabeth recently launched the Legit Endeavors Podcast, focused on small businesses and entrepreneurs seeking to start or grow their business. Elizabeth is passionate about helping other entrepreneurs and small business owners level up their business by making sure it is done in a legit way. The Legit Endeavors Podcast focuses on small business strategies, as well as making sure that the common legal pitfalls are addressed and avoided. 

    In addition to recently launching Legit Endeavors, Elizabeth owns her own solo practitioner law firm, as well as a winery, bistro, and vineyard, Burklee Hill Vineyards. Elizabeth enjoys public speaking on various matters, including small business and entrepreneurial issues, women's empowerment, and wine.

    She tackled law school as a non-traditional student, starting her law education at age 33, after finding herself as a single mom with three young children. Tackling law school while raising her children taught Elizabeth valuable productivity skills, which have carried over into her career and different business ventures. Elizabeth enjoys being involved in her local community in the Texas panhandle and spending time with family. 

    A typical day

    Elizabeth's days vary greatly throughout the week but typically they start with her getting up and getting herself ready. She then makes sure her two youngest children are up and getting ready for their day as well. After everyone is dressed and ready to go, she takes the children to school and heads to her law office to begin the day.

    Elizabeth considers her career as a lawyer to be her "day job", but she does have days where she will go to the vineyard for a half or full day, depending on what may be going on. Elizabeth spends her days working on cases with several businesses or working towards an ever-present deadline.

    After she is done with her day, she might have meetings, staffing interviews at the vineyard, a child's volleyball game to attend, or other activity.

    On the weekends, Elizabeth likes to go to the winery and help work the floor so she can get to know the customers on a personal basis and help the staff out. Whenever possible, she will also squeeze in a podcast interview or blog post.

    In the evenings, after her youngest child has gone to bed, Elizabeth tries to do some mindset work because it helps her to focus on what is most important to get done, whether that be for her law practice, podcast and blog, or winery. She finds that even if she has her days perfectly scheduled and a focused to-do list, her mindset is what really makes all the difference. She also journals and writes down affirmations in the present tense of what she wants to accomplish. She has used affirmations in the past to develop skills and improve her productivity. Elizabeth likes to take her journal to work each day so she can review her goals throughout the day.

    Biggest productivity challenges

    Elizabeth's biggest challenge is dealing with unexpected events that detour her from her plans. For instance, when she needs to pick up a sick child in the middle of the day or if something comes up at her bistro.

    • 51 min
    Holiday Prep

    Holiday Prep

    It's hard to believe we're entering into the holiday season. Maybe you’ve already been thinking about it and preparing, but if not, let’s talk about some things we can do now to prepare for a joyous and safe holiday season, whatever holidays you celebrate at the end of the year.

    Preparing for the holidays now can save you valuable time

    The holidays can be a stressful time of year for people, even in the best of times, but especially so this year with all that has been going on.  The pandemic has changed what our family get-togethers may look like but we can still have a good holiday season while being safe and healthy.

    We've talked about holiday prep in the past, in episodes TPW159  in 2017. In that episode, we went into details of things we can do to prepare, so it's a good episode to review for ideas. In addition, here are a few steps to consider taking now to prepare for this year's holidays.

    Prepare your home

    Do some purging and de-cluttering of your home. Really focus on getting rid of the things that take up space and don't serve you anymore. If in your family it's traditional to give lots of gifts, you want to make space for those things. If you have children, take this time to go through their clothes and toys, dispose of (or recycle) things that are broken, and donate those things that are in good condition. (See if there are some shelters in your community that would like some of these items.) Use this time before the holidays to make space and clear out clutter in your home. Clear space makes for a clear mind.

    Get some deep cleaning done. Do some cleaning of your baseboards, floors, bathrooms, etc. In anticipation of all of the cooking and baking you'll be doing for the holidays, take this time to do a good cleaning of your refrigerator and freezer. Throw out expired and old food, use up leftovers, deep clean the shelves and drawers, and defrost the freezer.

    Do some decorating. Even if nobody’s coming to visit this year, decorate to lift your own spirits. I'll be putting up Christmas decorations starting December 1, even though I'm unsure of what our holiday will look like this year in terms of family gatherings. 

    Prepare for gifting

    Check your gift wrapping supplies inventory. We all have people in our lives we'd like to give gifts to. If we check our supplies now and stock up early, we don't have to worry about running out in the middle of wrapping.

    Think about your gift list. Make a list of everyone you plan to give gifts to and evaluate what you have bought so far. Make sure you’re keeping within a budget you can live with. 

    If you're ordering anything online, order SOON. Because of the pandemic, there have already been inventory shortages and delayed shipping times. This could get worse as we get closer to the holidays.

    Wrap as you go. As you get gifts for different people, get them all wrapped and tagged as you go so nothing is put off until the last minute. For some folks, marathon gift-wrapping sessions are fun, but they can also be stressful.

    Consider a few extra gifts for unexpected/spur-of-the-moment gifts. Think about people who you may want to encourage or bless with an unexpected present. Maybe a delivery person or service provider, maybe your child's teacher. Considering having a few extra things when a special person comes to mind so you'll have something on hand.

    If you do a holiday letter, start writing it now. If you are someone who gives your friends and family a yearly update on your life through a letter, consider getting started on it now. With all that has happened this year and the feelings of isolation and loneliness that many have experienced,

    • 33 min
    Health Habits for Productive Living

    Health Habits for Productive Living

    I've been thinking a lot about health and productivity these days. I turned 60 in May, and because I want to remain as healthy and productive as possible, I’ve been researching steps I can take, and habits I can institute, to do just that.

    Healthy habits make for productive lives

    One key to being productive, both in the sense of getting things done and in the sense of making a life that matters, is being healthy enough, physically, mentally, and emotionally to do the things we want and need to do. Many of us live with illnesses or physical conditions that affect our health, and as we age our condition changes, so I am not suggesting that only the most physically fit and healthy can be truly productive. But regardless of our age or circumstances, I think we can agree that in order to maximize our health, we need to do what we can to be as healthy as possible.  

    We’ve talked about habits before (TPW216 - Habits that Help; TPW226 - Habits to Consider for This Year; TPW114 - Mindset Matters: Productive Habits; and TPW082 - Developing Healthy Habits, with Bridgit Danner).

    A habit is something you do regularly. It's defined in one dictionary as “a settled or regular tendency or practice, especially one that is hard to give up.” When we do something regularly enough that it becomes a habit, we do it almost without conscious thought. The great thing about habits is they eliminate the friction of decision-making. It’s easier to do what you habitually do, so it’s important to be intentional about the habits we develop. (Check out James Clear’s book, Atomic Habits - discussed in episode 230 -for help in purposefully developing habits that serve you.) 

    In thinking and researching I came up with a short list of key habits that can help promote health and productivity. It's likely that none of these are new to you, but we can always benefit from being reminded to think about our habits--especially those habits that can contribute to a strong, healthy body and mind. Spending time in the next few weeks developing healthy habits can reap productivity benefits in the coming year. 

    1. Drink plenty of water (more than you think you need) 

    Water matters because it is a principal component of our bodies and makes up 50-75% of our body weight. We can go much longer without food than water. Every part of our body uses water to work properly.

    This article from the Mayo Clinic goes into greater depth about why water is so important. A lack of water can lead to dehydration, which can drain our energy and make us feel tired. Because we naturally lose water every day, we need to replenish every day.

    “The U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine determined that an adequate daily fluid intake is: 

    About 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) of fluids a day for men 

    About 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) of fluids a day for women 

    These recommendations cover fluids from water, other beverages and food. About 20% of daily fluid intake usually comes from food and the rest from drinks.” 

    • 50 min

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5
292 Ratings

292 Ratings

NiecyinArl ,

Love these Nuggets

It is truly an art to speak details so simpl me in a short period time that is actionable.

ims186 ,

Love this podcast!

I recently discovered this podcast and have been enjoying listening to both the most recent episodes and some right at the beginning. I especially like the interviews and getting first-person accounts of how other people deal with various kinds of responsibilities and pressures. The show makes me feel like I’m not alone in the things that I struggle with, which is incredibly comforting.

Jakub[SOP] ,

Priceless Advice

Two thumbs up for this show. I really enjoyed Laura’s solo episode about living a well-lived life that matters. Loved how she included authenticity because that’s one factor that has been overlooked most of the time.

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