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Top 7 Feminine Productivity Practices

Pictured: Tuesday night dinner with girlfriends, hosted by my friend Sarah Jenks

When I’m speaking with ambitious women about their ambitions, productivity often becomes the hot topic of conversation. We want to figure out how to do more in less time and be more effective in our work. As an entrepreneur with a full life and big ambitions, I get it.

What I’ve noticed from thousands of conversations with hundreds of women, though, is that this obsessive focus on productivity often leaves us feeling overwhelmed and burnt out.

Instead of becoming more productive with our work so that we can work less and play more, we just end up trying to cram in more-more-more work and are left with no space for fun.

The other thing is this: Women are connected to the rhythm of nature in a very obvious way — our internal tides, like the ocean, guided by the moon. In simple terms, in a balanced body, we menstruate and ovulate in concert with the new and full moon. Trippy and oh-so cool. What this means for our productivity is that we are designed to have times where we have more energy and times where we need more rest. We are not robots, and when we act like robots, stress invades our bodies and minds and we actually become less productive and more overwhelmed. (note: if you want to learn more about this, read my friend Alisa Vitti’s book, WomanCode)

For these reasons and more, it’s essential that women find a way to get the things done we need to accomplish without sacrificing our health or happiness today.  The paradigm of I’ll-work-my-ass-off-then-finally-rest-and-play is totally passé.  It never worked anyways. The truth is…

For women, productivity is less about what we’re doing when we’re working, and more about what we’re doing when we’re not.  {tweet}


1. Uncover how you want to feel
In her brilliant tome, The Desire Map, my dear friend Danielle LaPorte teaches that when we allow our Core Desired Feelings to lead, we have access to the success we desire now, in every moment. So, how do you want to feel when you “succeed”? Begin to generate those feelings now, and you’ll stop tripping on the future and start living for the now.

2. Read fiction books
When we started dating, my man asked, “When was the last time you read fiction?” Fiction? I’m an entrepreneur, dude, I don’t have time for fiction. Right. For years, I’d been reading exclusively business and self-help books, so my mind had become wired for problem-solving…and seeing problems. His challenge for me was to read exclusively fiction for 1 year, and I’m so glad I paid attention. When I read fiction, I find my work hours more productive and my time off more relaxing. My favorite of all time? Jitterbug Perfume. Current? The Graveyard Book on audio.  Enjoy!

3. Dine with girlfriends once each week
How often do you hang with your girlfriends and not talk about work? There was a period in my life when all I did was talk about my business. Needless to say, it wasn’t the most pleasurable time in my life, and the focus was always on what we needed to do, rather than just being with friends. I’ve since made a promise to myself to have at least one dinner with girlfriends each week, to catch up on love and life, and be in the space of sisterhood together. This is true soul nourishment.

4. Celebrate your accomplishments monthly
In the dash to do more, it’s easy to forget to appreciate where we are, and all that we’ve created. Ambition with no appreciation falls flat and will leave you feeling dull, uninspired, desperate and exhausted. The solution? Set a monthly date with your best friends (or new friends) to celebrate. Use this time to raise a glass to one another, toasting to your accomplishments and the people who helped you get there. Enjoy the life you have.

5. Always be on vacation
When I pretend that every week is a vacation where I sneak in a little work, I magically have a near-empty inbox, have happy clients, work about 4 hours a day on average for 3 days of the week, have wonderfully lazy breakfasts and dinners with friends and my love, and feel totally calm, happy and playful. Until further notice, go on vacation! You in?

6. Do the task in front of you
Overwhelm is a choice, and it starts with the stories we tell ourselves. Next time you’re sitting down to work, instead of thinking of your mile-long To Do list and obsessing over stories that you’ll “never get it done” or “have so much to do”, focus on the task in front of you. When I feel bogged-down by all the tasks I’ve taken on, I tell myself “The only thing to do right now is this”, and I relax. Leave saving the world for another day, and just pay attention to what’s in front of you.

7. Give yourself more time
This is deceptively simple and surprisingly overlooked in most productivity advice: just give yourself more time. If you plan for procrastination and create space for the unexpected, you just may breathe deeply enough to find the creativity to produce great work. If you’re always up to your eyeballs in tasks, maybe it’s not that you’re too slow, but taking on too much. See how you can do less to accomplish more.

In the comments below, join the conversation and share what you’re going to implement to rock your productivity!


  1. This post is great. You are awesome. That is all. 🙂

    (Except to say: your man challenged you to a year of reading nothing but fiction? And you did it? That might be my favorite relationship story ever!)

    • Hot, right?


  2. YES YES YES! Thank you for this article. Funny how much scarier it is to take on these practices than the practice of work work work working! I see where my real “work” lies.

    • Ms. Blue,

      Indeed! It is funny, isn’t it?
      It just goes to show how much
      room we have to grow with respect
      to TRUST.

      Love you,

  3. Nisha–thank you, thank you, thank you! Muah!

    I am a huge efficiency and process nerd, but I the first thing I like to do is get a temperature of how my client is currently feeling in their business, and how do they want to feel–then help them strategize on how to create it now and in the future.

    • Michaela, you are welcome, welcome, welcome!
      It sounds like you are doing some GREAT work,
      sister. Bravo.

      Thanks for the comment 🙂

      Much love,

  4. I just started doing number 2 a few months and I felt so light again. I was the same way- always devouring more and more self-help/growth books. I didn’t realize how cluttered my mind actually felt. I started reading fiction books again and actually became more clear in my spirituality (and in love!) because I actually hear me- not just all these books and authors pieced together. It helps me be more conscious of my book choices.

    My current fiction faves are any by Emily Giffin and my absolute favourite is Sundowners by Lesley Lokko . It’s a great, intelligent & glamourous summer read! 🙂

    • Awo, you’ve just put a new book on my list!
      Thank you, sister. And thank you for sharing
      that mental chatter that can get louder as we
      incessantly add new reasons to judge ourselves.

      Life is for play 🙂

      Much love,

  5. I am uncovering some toxic thought processes and going through what feels like a cleansing, so I really love this post. It addresses many issues I am working through that create stress in my life; I appreciate the perfect timing. <3

    • I love that synchronicity, Sarah.
      Thank you so much for sharing, and
      on behalf of humans everywhere, thank
      you for doing that important inner work.
      Good for you is good for all!

      Much love,

  6. Nisha Thank you! As I plug away at creating an online business out of a blog and squeeze the creation process between clients, its easy to loose track of life. I’ve been feeling burnt out this week and this blog post was exactly the reminder I needed. Thanks so much….I’m off to find a novel asap.

    • You are so welcome, Allison. My pleasure 🙂
      What did you choose?

      Much love,

  7. Now THIS is my kinda post! Dine with your girlfriends each week – that’s what I’m talking about, great advice Nisha. I have that nonfiction addiction but know fiction is a great escape so I’ve recently downloaded Jk Rowlings The Vacancy and think I’m going to reread The Alchemist since its celebrating its 20th anniversary.

    • I haven’t read The Alchemist in several
      years. Thanks for the reminder, Cheryl!

      And thanks for the love. ‘Twas a fun post
      to write, for sure.


    • Nice! Anything specific that’s unfolded?
      It’s always great to hear a good story 🙂

      Big hugs,

  8. I love this Nisha! thank you for sharing!
    I started to read some fiction last year and will continue that again. I really love the idea of giving myself more time. Over the past several months I’ve been allowing for more room in my day to create and get tasks done. I realize some days I am more focused than others and it’s been nurturing to allow for the rhythm of my creative process to shine rather than box myself in to specific time-frames of getting things done each day.

    • Aaah…sounds freeing, Christina.
      Isn’t it amazing how things still
      seem to get done when we allow ourselves
      to breathe?

      Much love and thanks for the comment,

  9. I really should read some fiction books,this is the umpteenth time I’m hearing about reading fiction. All i do are selfhelp books and business books. *sigh*

    • What’s on the list, Ese?


    • Indeed! How’s it going with that, Caroline?
      Have you started your perma-vacay yet?


  10. I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who has read Jitterbug Perfume! That is one of my absolute favorite reads, that and The Alchemist.
    I’m feeling pretty good about my current life choices, behaviors, and habits. Your post showed me that I’m moving in the right direction.
    I so appreciate your posts, thank you!!

    • Awesome, Nicole! It’s always such a great feeling
      to get confirmation that we’re on the right track.

      Keep on keepin’ on!

      Much Love,

  11. YES! That’s pretty much all I wanted to say. 🙂

    But I will also say that I particularly love the vacation thing and have been giving it a whirl over the past few weeks (when I really needed more “unstructured” time to process a break-up). It freakin’ WORKS! Brilliant.

    • Lara, YES! Thank you so much for sharing this.
      It’s amazing what can unfold when we let go,
      relax, and trust. Much love, sister.


  12. I wonder if this works for those of us that are in the beginning stages of growth. I feel as if I need to constantly be in growth mode and whenever I put my focus on a task unrelated to growing my business, I tend to feel guilty for not focusing on my business. I follow several successful women and many mention in the early stages of their business they worked long hours with not much time to themselves. Is that just part of the growth process?

    • Gayle,

      This is a wonderful inquiry!

      What I’ve found is that non business-related
      tasks DO help grow the business. When we’re
      working 24/7, we easily get burnt out, lack
      creativity and focus and feel desperate.

      In the same way that it’s hard to imagine
      that enjoying your food will help you lose
      weight, it’s counterintuitive, but true!

      I dare you to try on having more fun 🙂

      Much Love,

  13. On-point. Thank you so much for this share + reminder.


    • Thank you, dear Dayna xo

  14. Hey Nisha! What a great blog post…best line ever ” Fiction? I’m an entrepreneur, dude, I don’t have time for fiction. ” I can remember a time when I did read all the latest fiction novels and really enjoy them. Sophie Kinsella and Jennifer Weiner are some of my fave fiction novels. I think I will challenge myself to reading Fiction all summer long. I feel totally burnt out right now and I think my focus has been too much on business and working towards those goals instead of enjoying this time. Thanks for the reminder!! xo

    • Angela, I love this challenge.
      Do it, sister!

      What book will you begin with?


  15. SO needed this, Nisha! Thank you. Things can get crazy with a full time job + part time coaching practice.

    I will be reading fiction and dining with girlfriends once a week (sans business chatter) as “assignments” 🙂

    For getting down to the nitty gritty, love 6 and and 7. So liberating + powerful.


    • Lula, YES! Keep me posted, ok?

  16. I’m a few months late to the party that is this blog post, but I love it. Thanks, Nisha. 🙂

    • I love you, Jenny Pie! xo

  17. 4 hours a day for 3 days a week??? Yes, please!! Is this really possible?? 🙂 I’m in the early stages of business development and value a work/life balance…thinking of life as a perma-vaca is brilliant…but seems challenging at the same time! 🙂

    • Totally challenging, Meredith!
      And it can be especially challenging
      in the early stages of your business.

      Integrate play more and more — a little
      bit each week. See how it goes!

      With Love,

  18. Such a great post. I am a performance measurement professional. Also a health education specialist. I know, strange combination but a great blend for me in and out of the office. I am doing some work right now to reopen my business by the end of the year, when my current work ends. So a lot going on. Your commentary on productivity resonates as I take on these new ideas and planning tasks. Thank you for the clarity and encouragement because I want to apply these practices…now.

    p.s. The Paris Wife is a lovely read.

    • Thanks for the book recommendation, Jen,
      and thanks for reading! I’m so glad the
      post resonated.


  19. I love the graveyard book. My husband and I read it together as a family. Those were happy memories not only because of the book, which we loved, but also because of the wonderful, relaxing time we had as we were doing it. It made us realize we wanted and NEEDED more of those moments.

    Nisha, you speak to my heart. I LOVED this post. I find that the more I try to do so that I have more free time, the less free time I have. One of the things I have implemented is choosing when to work. Once 5pm hits, I am done. I put away my work and just focus on reading a good (fiction) book. I also take the time to really enjoy dinner with my family or friends. It has been wonderful! I work better during the day because I know 5pm will come very soon. And I laugh all night because I feel happy and free. I am hoping once my business gets rolling, I’ll be able to tweak this even more so that I will live the life I love. For now, I’m getting there.

  20. This is good stuff usual 😉
    I especially resonated with #2 Read Fiction.. Haha, as a self-help, self-improvement junkie, just as you said, I too only seek the transformative types. I’ll look into get myself a hearty fiction novel.

    Sending you love & gratitude. xoxo

    • Thank you, Jen love. I love you already!


  21. Perfect timing for me to read!!
    Currently relaxing, waiting for some girls to arrive for a girls weekend!

    When is your next retreat? I need in! ❤️❤️

    • Whoa – Jen – I am so sorry for the delay in getting back to you! Our next retreat, the Artistry of Freedom is in September, 2017. All of the information is here: Please reach out to us at [email protected] if you have questions or thoughts. Happy to explore those with you and would love to have you!


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