I had the pleasure of meeting Niamh Brady, Productivity Coach, at our annual Company Conference in Croke Park recently. Niamh is a fountain of knowledge and energy – we sang, we danced, and we laughed! Her goal was for us to learn one thing from her that would improve our productivity, but we learned many.

She was extremely honest and shared her own struggles. One thing that stuck with me was “you own your mindset”. It is easy to say this, but in practice, we often fail to control it. For example, how many of us started 2020 attempting all sorts of new goals only to fall at the first hurdle. We must control our own mindset to achieve the goals we set and improve our productivity levels.

Listening to Niamh, I was determined that I would implement her strategies, so I sent her some questions in order to understand her philosophy better. Her first answer blew me away, and I was captivated by her insights. Check out some of her thoughts below and remember, the simple things matter!

What motivates you?

I am very grateful for the life I have, from both a personal and professional perspective, so protecting and nourishing that is a big motivator for me. I look forward 10 years when my parents will be in their 70s, my daughter will be in primary school and ask myself what type of lifestyle will allow me to be there for them – while also still allowing me to spread my own wings. My motto is “Design the Life you Love” so I am motivated to design a life that will support that.

What keeps you up at night? And how do you switch it off?

Everything keeps me up at night! I feel my mind is always working on about 7 different levels and for years I struggled to switch off. My routine now is that I read a couple of pages of a deep book before bed and if my mind goes wandering, I record a quick voice note so I can then relax knowing it’s captured. If that fails, I do my own form of “meditation” where I visualize myself doing Tae Kwon Do patterns over and over until I drift off. It works for me!

How much time do you spend on your phone? What would happen if you spent 10 of those minutes learning? 

What one change can we all implement daily?

Be kind. Be kinder to yourself and to others. We are all trying to do our best with the skills we have, and you’d be surprised how much you can achieve if you replace negative thoughts with some kindness and understanding.

We are guilty of procrastination- how can we avoid it?

That’s like saying we are all guilty of liking chocolate – how can we avoid! There is a place for everything, even procrastination. In those times you might stumble upon your next great idea. I always suggest breaking something down until you have the smallest task you can do to progress and start with that. But honestly, if you are still wandering over to YouTube then I suggest you look at how you structure your day. Schedule the task for one of your peak times, when you are naturally more energetic and focused, and you’ll be more likely to succeed.

When you’re having a bad day, how do you get back on track?

Get some form of exercise, have a hot shower and a good cup of tea – 2 sugars and milk, please! We all have bad days; without them, we wouldn’t know how good the good days are. It’s part of life so I allow myself to have the bad day and then move on.

Where can we find time for extra learning as you suggested? Time is so valuable, and we get stuck into day to day routines!

How much time do you spend on your phone? What would happen if you spent 10 of those minutes learning? I find it easier to fit learning in when it’s accessible to me so I’ve got my kindle and audible apps on my phone. If I’ve got a couple of minutes I’ll read a few pages and if I’m in the car I will listen to an audiobook or podcast. For deeper learning, schedule it into your workday. If it’s not important enough to be scheduled in there, I would be asking do you really need to do that particular learning at this time?

 “Work-life Balance” – we hear so much about it, but we struggle to achieve the perfect balance! How can we be more realistic in achieving it?

I find the term work-life balance a bit weird, to be honest. It’s not like we turn on work mode and then at a certain point turn that off and the rest of our life comes off pause. Really, it’s just life balance. When I’m struggling, I make a list of everything I “need to do” and ask myself what would happen if I didn’t do it? If I didn’t do it today, tomorrow or even ever? Sometimes all we need is to look at the list and remind ourselves that there are definitely some things that we can just delete! For example, I didn’t clean my bathroom for almost 4 weeks when I went back to work after maternity leave. Did anything bad happen? No. – and yes you can put that in the blog 😉

What is the biggest time-waster?

Mobile devices. Put them away for even 30 minutes a day and watch time reappear as if by magic!

Where can you ask your boss to support you?

This depends on your own circumstances. All I would say on this is that your support network in work is far wider than just your boss so if there is something you need support with and don’t feel they are the best person, take a look around and ask who is.

Is technology a good thing?

Technology is a good thing, but it should be your servant, not your master.

How do you implement lasting change?

It took me 3 years to stop smoking. I failed multiple times but each time I tried again and again because it’s something I really wanted to do. Lasting change will only happen if you are honest about why you are doing it and if it is something that you really do want to do. Change isn’t a straight line from A to B. You need to allow yourself to stumble, turn back, change direction and go again. Otherwise, you’ll give up after the first hurdle.

What one book would you recommend and why?

Tuesday Morning Coaching by David Cottrell. The book has 8 simple concepts and they can be applied to so many different scenarios. Read a chapter a week – and for an extra boost do it with a buddy and discuss!

There you have it! I can’t thank Niamh enough for her help and time, and I hope you benefit from it too. Follow her online and visit her website for more information on her amazing work!

 

Nicola Walsh

Senior Recruitment Consultant

Collins McNicholas Recruitment & HR Services Group