This week I’m sharing a few productivity resources I’ve found lately that you might find helpful.
A few new-to-me resources that might increase your everyday productivity
This episode is inspired by feedback from the survey I’ve been asking you to weigh in on. A lot of people who’ve completed the survey have asked for more resource recommendations for books and other things.
This time I thought I’d share some resources I’ve discovered in the last few months and/or haven’t mentioned on the podcast before. The criteria for inclusion in this episode start with first, relevance to making a meaningfully productive life, and second, not having been discussed previously on the podcast.
Caveat: I don’t necessarily agree with everything that’s said in these various resources, because I make a point of checking out a lot of different viewpoints, but I find something of value in each of these. As with anything (including this podcast) I encourage you to read or listen with an open but discerning mind and take what’s of value to you, discarding what’s not.
- Lightly: How to Live a Simple, Serene, and Stress-Free Life, by Francine Jay . Described as “a recipe book for minimalism”, this book offers a perspective on simplifying your life so you can be more peaceful and productive. The author offers lots of practical tips on decluttering, reorganizing, and simplifying your home, schedule, and life. I’m listening to the Audible version and plan to get a hard copy so I can go back through and re-read and ponder parts of it.
What the Amazon listing says:
“Do you ever feel like life is weighing you down? Like the stuff in your home, the to-dos in your schedule, the worries in your heart are too much? Make “lightly” your mantra, one lovely little word to live by, and transform your life.
There’s no shortage of decluttering books on the market, but Lightly is different. It goes beyond decluttering – far beyond – to uplift your thoughts, your actions, every moment and aspect of your life.
Learn how to lighten:
- Your stuff: create a serene space with your favorite things
- Your step: consume less and live in harmony with the Earth
- Your stress: be less busy and breeze through your days
- Your spirit: clear emotional baggage from your mind and heart ”
- I Really Needed This Today: Words to Live By, by Hoda Kotb (host of the Today show). This book has very short readings–a page for each day of the year, each featuring an inspirational, funny, or thought-provoking quote and a few sentences of her thoughts about it. Here are two quotes in particular that caught my attention:
“Today I want you to think about all that you are instead of all that you are not.”
“Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity.” ~ Simone Weil
- Successful Aging, by Daniel J. Levitin. Levitin is a neuroscientist, cognitive psychologist, and bestselling author who also wrote the fascinating book I’ve mentioned before, The Organized Mind. Successful Aging explores the myths and science regarding how we age and what we can do to age well and remain healthier, active, and productive as we move into our later years.
“The cost of sidelining the elderly is enormous in lost economic and artistic productivity, severed family connections, and diminished opportunities. We can begin to model better behavior by embracing those who are a generation ahead of us–our parents’ generation. And we can adopt practices that will keep us, as older beings, relevant and engaged with others well into our eighties and nineties . . . and perhaps beyond.”
- Span of Control, by Carey D. Lohrenz (upcoming guest). Carey is one of the first female F-14 Tomcat fighter pilots in the US Navy. The book is subtitled “What to do when you’re under pressure, overwhelmed, and ready to get what you really want,” Span of Control is a leadership book focused on “how we can overcome our circumstances instead of being overwhelmed by them” by learning to focus our attention and energy on the things we can control.
- Focused, featuring hosts David Sparks (also a host of Mac Power Users) and Mike Schmitz, is subtitled “Life is more than cranking widgets”. They have long episodes where they and their guests go deep into topics relevant to getting more focused and more productive. (I was their guest in February 2019 on episode 67, talking about staying motivated.) One recent episode that was published July 20, 2021, was titled Toxic Productivity and asks the question, “At what point does your quest for productivity and efficiency become toxic?” In this episode, they talk, among other things, about the hazards of trying to duplicate the system or setup of someone else–an expert or influencer–thinking it will work for you like it does for her.
- Clutterbug Podcast (Organizing Tips, Tricks, and Inspiration) hosted by Cassandra Aarssen [she has a YouTube channel too, as well as books -I mentioned one of hers, Real Life Organizing, in episode 291, Favorite Organizing Tips from Professional Organizers] – this podcast features short episodes with practical tips to get your home and life organized. Her June 2, 2021, episode was titled: Lower Your Expectations to the Floor, and talked about embracing the imperfect in organization; letting go of what it “should” look like and recognizing that instead of trying to organize “right,” just do something–anything you do will be better than doing nothing.
“There is something so liberating about letting go of the expectations we put on ourselves and embracing ‘good enough.’”
“Done today is better than perfect tomorrow.”
- School of Self-Image Podcast – This podcast features short episodes with encouraging and motivational messages. The host is a certified Life Coach whose focus is your self-image, which caught my attention. Her June 9, 2021, episode was titled “How to Create a Goal Friendly Environment”, in which she offers tips for creating an environment that will help you achieve your most important goal. One tip I thought was particularly good: Take time to envision the surroundings of the person who’s already achieved that goal, and start bringing things into your surroundings that match that vision. For example: if your goal is to lose weight, what would the refrigerator and pantry of the you who’s lost weight look like?
- Best Laid Plans, with Sarah Hart-Unger – This podcast is about “all things planners, planning, and planning adjacent”. The July 19, 2021, episode is titled: Planning, Routines, and Crowding Out Bad Habits. One great thought I took away from that episode is the idea that when you fill your days doing the things you love and being the person you want to be, it crowds out the habits that don’t serve you.
- Hurry Slowly, with Jocelyn K. Glei – She offers some solo episodes and some with guests, all generally short, on the theme of “how you can be more productive, creative, and resilient through the simple act of slowing down”. The November 5, 2018, episode is titled: Who Are You Without the Doing? She asks some very thought-provoking questions: Who am I when I’m not using my mind or my body to achieve something? She also talks about the concept of “tender discipline”, which means being kind and tender to yourself as you create the disciplines in your life that make you productive.
- Sophisticated Organization – hosted by Sophie, a young lawyer who lives in the Denver, Colorado, area. The channel focuses on organization, cleaning, and general productivity. Sophie lives in an apartment with her husband and they’re expecting their first child. I like her positive, upbeat approach and even though she’s at a different life stage than me I enjoy her very practical tips for getting your home and life organized. A recent one was a “Motivating Weekend Clean and Cook With Me.”
- Momma from Scratch – hosted by Emily. She does various home-related videos, including organization and decluttering, but I especially like her DIY home decor projects, where she gets out her power tools and does the kinds of things I’d typically ask Mike to do! Her DIY Mudroom Makeover videos were something to watch!
- Hot & Flashy – hosted by Angie. This is a channel aimed at perimenopausal women, and she talks about skincare, makeup, fashion, and more for that audience. In one of her monthly series, she talks about her “faves and fails”–products, tools, clothes, etc., that she tried during the previous month and what she liked or didn’t like about them.
- Faith and Flour – host Robin is mom to 2 adult sons. She does videos about home organization and management, meal ideas, and more. I like her channel because she’s closer to my age and has a calm, pleasant approach that I enjoy. One of her recent videos featured her weekly cleaning and homemaking routine.
- Mandy in the Making – I watch her “What’s for Dinner” videos for meal ideas, because for me, the hardest part of cooking is figuring out what to cook. Mandy shares meals that she’s prepared for her family and she takes us through the preparation process, showing us how she does it. Most are fairly quick and easy, and use ingredients I’m likely to have in my fridge, freezer, or pantry.
What do you think? Questions? Comments?
I’ve shared some of my recent discoveries and I would love it if you’d do the same. What books, podcasts, YT channels, or other resources have you found helpful lately in your efforts to make a life that matters? Please share them in the comments section below or in The Productive Woman Community Facebook group, or send me an email.
Resources and Links
- Lightly: How to Live a Simple, Serene, and Stress-Free Life
- I Really Needed This Today: Words to Live By
- Successful Aging
- The Organized Mind
- Span of Control
- Real Life Organizing
- Clutterbug Podcast
- School of Self-Image Podcast
- Best Laid Plans, with Sarah Hart-Unger
- Hurry Slowly, with Jocelyn K. Glei
Announcements & Reminders
Thank you to those of you who’ve responded to the survey I mentioned in this episode. I appreciate the feedback, which is giving me lots of ideas for the future of the podcast. If you haven’t yet done the survey, I’d still love to hear from you. Just go to TheProductiveWoman.com/survey2021.
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Royse City, Texas