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How do you manage your time?

It’s coming to that time of the year again isn’t it? There’s a sense of urgency with “getting those boxes ticked” or “having your ducks lined up in a row” . Ever feel that there’s just not enough hours in the day? This can trigger stress and a general sense of feeling overwhelmed for a lot of people so- what can we do differently?

Sociologist, Dr Edward Banfield encouraged a positive attitude towards time and time management stating that this attitude has a significant impact on behavior and choices in the here and now. He commented on how those who take a long range view of their lives tend to make better choices in the short term. Long term thinking encourages us to evaluate our current activities and if a particular action/ decision serves us or not. That insight is empowering, but how do we manage in the short term?

Well, to achieve anything, we need to have focus because whatever you focus on, you move towards.

By focusing on what’s practical and meaningful, i.e. what you really want, the tendency is towards increased ownership and motivation in order to achieve it. In my view, there are 4 main categories that help us to create and maintain focus, it’s normal to have a preference for one or two:
Mental: Make time and space for thinking. 10 concentrated minutes, is often more fruitful than ad hoc lists of lists! Prioritise ideas. Explore the boundaries of both personal and professional needs and ask yourself; if I’m saying ‘yes’ to this, then, what am I saying ‘no’ to?
Environmental: Remove distractions (eg a mobile phone) and keep items of focus in front of you- this could be a mood board, a mission statement (or even a Christmas shopping list!)
Practical: Commit to the action required. Delegate jobs/ tasks/ activities. Focus on those which appeal to your strengths.
Emotional: Concentrate and visualise on how you will feel once you reach your goal.

Make this time of year more manageable for you and good luck with it!
Gillian McGrath is a Life and Business Coach. For more details, contact her at

Top 5 Tips for getting the most out of your coaching session!

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Coaching is all about assisting you in reaching your true potential. Through the process you will develop an increased awareness about yourself and the options you have to empower you to lead a happier and more fulfilling life!

Hereunder are 5 tips to help you get the most out of your coaching session.

  1. Arrive early. Turn off your cell phone. This is your time. If this is your first coaching session, have something in mind that you want to work on. What matters most to you at the moment? Ask yourself “what would be the most relevant thing for me to leave here with today?”  If you’re in between sessions, review your notes from the last session or any communication you may have had from your coach.
  1. Open Up. The coaching process is based upon dialogue. Talk. Be honest. Think out loud. Trust that the relationship you have with your coach is safe and free from judgement. Equally, understand the moments of silence. Your coach may want to provide you with the opportunity to reflect or pause.
  1. Creating change takes time. Behind every role we play (mother, employee, wife, sister, friend, daughter etc.), there is a person and issues that arise in one sphere are often paralleled in another (do you ever take work home? Or does being worried about the children creep into your day to day?). Again, this is your time so give yourself permission to explore the different roles you play and the impact they have.
  1. Stay committed. Ask yourself: “how committed am I to making a change?” Follow- through on any action steps you prioritized with your coach. With a fresh awareness, the ‘real’ coaching can often happen in between sessions. Often, days after your coaching session, there may occur an ‘AHA’ moment as something resonates with you. Committing extra time to new ideas will move you closer and more quickly to your goal or aspiration.
  1. Take Responsibility. Just as you have taken the action to meet with a coach. Be accountable for engaging in the session and following through on your action steps. This is the space where the empowerment will come. Relax and enjoy your new way of being!

Gillian McGrath is Life and Business Coach and Master Trainer. Contact her directly for advise on how coaching can help you.

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“So, Mom, What is a Life Coach?”

“So, Mom, What is a Life Coach?”.

‘M’ is for Measurable

Following my input on New Years Resolutions featured in last weeks Cork Evening Echo, I started thinking about reasons behind people not keep their resolutions, and even, why in the past I had abandoned some of my own! Having spoken to a few of my friends on this, I found the reasons to be long and sometimes colourful!

Perhaps an alternative way to look at this is, what would help people in keeping their new years resolutions? What has helped me? The answer? Seeing Progress. We inhabit a culture of high- performance and high- activity and thus, success often translates as the ‘end- goal’ (anything less just doesn’t cut it!) But what about those mini milestones that keep us on track along the way? Its these mini steps that drive our journey so, by identifying these and breaking them down into bite size manageable chunks, and by manageable, I mean committing to and engaging with them. This surely is where the real success lies. By investing in and committing to the smaller steps, the larger ones will take care of themselves! Coaching assists clients in identifying and managing these mile stones and clients have often relayed the impact of changing their thinking in this space. They see results.

Yesterday I began the MAMMOTH task of de-cluttering my 4 year olds’ daughters room. I began to empty, sort, rearrange, wipe down etc. After a spell, I took a break and paused to reassess; there were still many things to do to optimise space and storage but I felt great! The task wasn’t complete so why was I so happy? It dawned on me, I had started it and I could see progress.  What’s more, I had a clearer understanding of what I needed to do to complete the next step! I was motivated, I had engaged with my ‘Goal’ and could see progress.

So, what New Years resolution did you make? Is it working for you? Make your list, break it down, engage and keep it fluid! Let 2014 be your year!