Productivity Mentor Helen Bolger-Harris shares her story on Business Radio talkers.fm, discussing how she helps women become more productive.
Helen supports women who are in small as well as corporate businesses, teaching them productivity methods, incorporating what she calls ‘right-brain’ ways or approaches around productivity using creativity, and intuition or non-traditional ways. She loves focusing on those who find that the traditional methods aren’t working or they’re missing something.
Helen is a Productivity Mentor who supports women in business who want to become more productive and grow their work and themselves in ways that focus on the ‘being’ as much as the ‘doing’.
Helen’s background is in the health sector, originally in nursing before venturing into the corporate world. However, as she yearned for more freedom and self-expression, she realised that this would be best done by commencing her own business as a certified Productivity Coach and Mentor, where she could serve women in both small business and in the corporate world.
Helen, herself, identifies as being both creative and intuitive (‘right-brained’) and logical and structured (‘left-brained’). Thus, she can blend the strengths of both these worlds to create a unique and impactful approach for clients based on her own successful journey to balancing achievement and fulfilment.
Bron Williams: Well hello everyone, this is Bron Williams here from Business Radio talkers.fm. I have with me this afternoon the delightful Helen Bolger-Harris, who is a Productivity Mentor. Helen is the CEO and founder of Helen Bolger-Harris. Good afternoon Helen.
Helen Bolger-Harris: Hello Bron, thanks for having me.
Bron: It is an absolute pleasure. You and I have had lots of conversations over this wonderful internet media platform and so I know we’re going to have a great time talking with one another today. So can you tell our listeners what it is that you do and who you do it for?
Helen: Okay. So I support women in business to become more productive. Obviously being a Productivity Mentor, I have been mostly since I’ve started my business focused on women in small business and I’m actually finding it’s even happening so to speak that I am being called back to actually do the same for women in corporate businesses and so the need to hire sort of tier. And what I particularly love supporting women, really in both of those target markets, wanting for a better word is around not just the traditional productivity methods that are around getting things done, how you can focus better, your prioritization, project management if that’s appropriate – that type of thing. It’s actually also which is what I call “the doing,” it’s as much about “the being.” So what I mean by that is what it is that actually we need to be in terms of our
mindset around productivity. So it can be for areas like the procrastination or clutter, so we can know at a surface level at a conscious level what are all the productivity tips and trick and apps and software and all that sort of thing that’s out there but if we don’t do what I call the inside work and that’s around setting boundaries, can be fit for a lot of women saying ‘no,’ incorporating what I call right-brain ways or approaches around productivity using our creativity, and our intuition and those sort of more perhaps non-traditional ways. That’s what I love focusing on with women and often, it’s those women who find that the traditional methods aren’t working or they’re missing something and they’re the women that I love working with.
Bron: I love what she said about missing something, because I know you and I have had conversations around masculine and feminine energies and you used the word ‘traditional’ and traditional by and large comes from a masculine mindset because men have been the ones who’ve been the leaders in business, who have set the standards, have set the way things have done and there’s nothing wrong with that and it works by a large for most men. However, as more and more women are moving into the marketplace, into the corporate sphere, into their own businesses, we do benefit from smart goals, logical thinking, all the things that you say are traditional methods of building a business, achieving our goals. However, we do think differently to men we have all those synapses that go across our brain and so learning how to utilize those is probably a new space actually I think for a lot of women, isn’t it?
Helen: Yes, it is a new space. I think it’s becoming aware that there is something more that is available to us and it’s new, I would think certainly in the corporate world and I’m generalizing of course but it definitely is and a lot of it wasn’t one: recognized and two: valued.
Helen: I do find though, I also work with a number of women that are perhaps more in creative, spiritual type businesses or focused businesses so for them, it’s actually quite not new, it’s actually their natural ways of working and thinking. They may not have applied them to productivity though, that might be the new aspect.
Bron: I see.
Helen: Which is really interesting. So they, and I am generalizing here, but they may be more what we would term ‘right brained’ – creative, intuitive, spiritual – and it’s actually more of the structure or organization that they might need or benefit from in terms of becoming productive. But either way, what I bring is some support around utilizing those, I referred to them before as soft skills around becoming more productive in that way and I was talking before some examples there with mindset and that sort of things as well.
Bron: You mentioned about fitting boundaries and you used the obvious one of saying ‘no.’ What other boundaries do you feel that women perhaps specifically need to set for themselves?
Helen: Thank you, good question. So of course my specialty is productivity so when I think about boundaries with regards to that, it’s about first of all what is my “agenda” versus somebody else’s agenda and actually becoming aware of that. It might sound really simple, of course we would know but we don’t always, I don’t think. And I think and again I am generalizing, but with us as women we will tend to want to please, want to help, it’s a nurturing sort of quality than a lot of us have which is absolutely magnificent. I don’t for a second say that that’s not a good thing to be or to have. However, when it comes at the expense of ourselves and I mentioned the word ‘agenda,’ is what are our priorities? What’s going to help us either move our business forward or in our own life? Because for me, productivity I look at it as a holistic thing. I don’t believe that we can actually just separate ourselves, split ourselves into two people. This is me at work like ‘this is the work me’ and ‘this is the home me.’ So I think it’s around identifying when I said our agenda or what are our priorities, what’s going to as I said progress us the most? And it’s this idea of having this over the flying cup and if and when we have more that we can be offering to others and it’s not being selfish. This is the thing, it’s not being selfish. It’s knowing that we can give to others in the ways that we may well want to when we actually have met our own needs first.
Helen: And I know that can be used in so many other areas of life of course, not just productivity but that’s really I think one example of how we can learn to say ‘no’ and be comfortable with saying ‘no.’ And of course that’s one side of it, then it’s knowing when to say ‘yes.’
Helen: And so that then follows on but I think often, because we tend to say ‘yes’ first as a lot of us a lot of the time so starting off with the ‘no’ first in that way.
Bron: I often think that something that all of us, whether we are an entrepreneur, a small business owner, or in the corporate is the email. And we check out inbox first thing in the morning and often before we’ve got out of bed, we’ve checked our emails. And I have come to realize and I’d be the first to put my hand up and say “I do this. I need to stop doing it.” Because emails in your inbox are by and large someone else’s agenda and they can set the tone of the day. Like even something random or silly can take our mind off that focus that we actually need for the day.
Helen: And what we have hopefully decided is going to be our focus for that time rather than as you said responding to somebody else’s email or getting distracted basically which is what I think is what you’re talking about, so yeah.
Bron: Yeah. That’s good, isn’t it? Because like I said, productivity and being distracted are the opposites because you cannot be productive if you are distracted by whatever it is. And I think what you talked about being what we sometimes see as women as being selfish, wanting to put our own needs maybe ahead of our family’s needs or our partner’s needs but there’s a need to do that for us because we aren’t productive because if our own cup isn’t nice and full.
Helen: Yes, I was just going to say what I’ve seen so much. And I mean I’ve had it myself, I can only support where by and large a lot of the experiences I’ve had myself, is we think we can do it all. We think we can. Exactly, yes Superwoman, Wonder Woman, whoever. We think that we can do our own stuff and meet our own needs and the needs of everybody else and a lot of the time, we can’t. And if we actually don’t serve ourselves first, then the quality of our ‘help’ with other people is actually probably not going to be as great as what it could have been had we actually been able to meet our own needs. And that might even be something like “I can’t do it today (or I can’t do it whenever, perhaps the other person has asked us to do it) but I can do it whatever time and date.” it does not have to be a “No, I can’t do it.” It can be “Let’s negotiate this.” With me knowing clearly what my needs are, what my priorities are, what my capacity is.
Helen: And again, it’s all about making decisions and then thinking based on that and talking with the other person. So communication is capable of this as well to actually, maybe they think there can be a compromise or an agreement that might be a little bit adjusted from what was originally proposed and that’s great.
Bron: It is, it’s about being clear. So we’ve just about come to the end of our time together Helen. So if people want to connect with the Productivity Mentor, what’s the best way for them to do that?
Helen: Sure. So I would suggest either my website which is www.helenbolgerharris.com or also on my Facebook Business Page. If you just go onto Facebook, look up pages and then put in my name which has the hyphen, then that will come up with quite a lot of different information and also contact details so that would be great. I welcome anyone who would like to make contact with me. If this has resonated with you, happy to talk with you further.
Bron: Great, thank you Helen. And what’s one thing that you’d like to leave with our listeners that they can take away?
Helen: Well you mentioned about the focus or that being distracted, I think that that is one of the absolute keys. It’s part of the sort of maintenance that I talk about, being able to learn how to focus which is not necessarily natural. It’s not necessarily what we were taught in school, I don’t think unless things are changed since I went to school. This ability, because it is a skill of being able to focus and then of course the other part of that is what to focus on and that’s where the prioritization, that sort of thing comes in. So just encouraging listeners to think about what their focus is like and where they may want it to be in terms of improving it.
Bron: Well thank you so much Helen, it’s been such a wonderful time talking with you.
Helen: Thank you.
Bron: So this is Bron Williams from Business Radio talkers.fm and today I’ve been talking with Helen Bolger-Harris, the Productivity Mentor.