Archive for the ‘Personal Development’ Category

Our learning: Teamwork – So far and yet so close!

February 7, 2022

A lot has changed over the past number of weeks as we somewhat return to ‘normal’ life and are hopefully waving goodbye to all of the constraints and negatives associated with the pandemic for good.

And while there were so many negatives that consumed our lives over the past nearly two years, we can’t ignore the positives that have changed our lives. We were forced to adapt and change, review our processes and get on with life in a whole different way.

We had to be resilient and innovative, flexible and caring and so much more to navigate our way through this unprecedented journey.

Professionally and personally, teamwork and how we strengthened this has played a huge role in our journey. Working from home has been a game-changer for many reasons (I especially do not miss the endless hours sitting in traffic) and it would not have been so effective without some great teamwork along the way. As a team in Fuzion, I can honestly say that we have never felt so close across all departments and locations, despite not seeing each other in person for months!

Key to this and something I definitely recommend to businesses if feasible, is the introduction of a regular team catch up. For us that happens as a 30-minute, 9am social catch-up every Monday morning with the whole team on Zoom, chatting about weekend events and hearing about what everyone got up to.

Its impact has been extremely beneficial, really bringing the team together as one rather than the separate locations and functions. Our team is spread out across all four corners of the country and there are always plenty of stories to be told and ironically we’ve really gotten to know each other far more than before the pandemic and without even realising it!

For me, it wouldn’t feel right without our team call as it is something that we all really enjoy now as it gets us in the right mood for the week as well as helping to shake off those Monday morning blues. It has allowed us to strengthen our relationships with each other, improving how we communicate and work together and ensures a positive team environment, even during the height of a global pandemic!

With so many benefits, we certainly won’t be waving goodbye to this pandemic learning for a very long time.

Saidhbh

Saidhbh Sweeney is a Senior PR Account Manager with Fuzion Communications: PR, Marketing, Graphic Design and Digital Marketing from offices in Dublin and Cork Design

Dinner is at Olivia’s ….!

January 31, 2022

At Fuzion, we like to share lots of things between the team, not just work related, so, recently we asked the team to share their favourite food to cook, and we got an insight into all of our cooking skills, some good, some bad and some great!

My favourite is slow cooked Spaghetti Bolognese, in particular because when cooked this way the mince tastes so delicious.

I could tell you that it was a family recipe handed down from generation to generation but I saw it on Instagram posted by the lovely Sandra Murphy (@sandrainthecity), the ex proprietor of The Rising Tide bar and restaurant and now a friend.

For me it can be either a treat or an every day meal, but it is glorious on a chilled out day when you have the time to potter around and allow the delicious smell of the dish to get those hunger pangs going.

While many would drink a fine red with this dish I just love it with a glass of chardonnay and my perfect guests for this very special meal are my lovely family!

The how to.. Slow cooked Bolognese

Ingredients – for 4 people

1 large onion

3 garlic cloves

1 red chilli

Carton of passata

1 tin of chopped tomatoes

1 tin of plum tomatoes

1 tablespoon of tomato puree

1 beef stock cube

Mixed herbs / oregano (optional)

500g beef mince – less than 5% fat

Chop the onion, garlic and chilli – add to a pan, heat them, do not brown them, just soften. Add the mince meat

Once the mince is browned, add a carton of passata, the tin of tomatoes, the tomato puree and the beef stock cube.

Then add the mixed herbs. Cook on a medium heat for approx 3 hours, keep checking so that it’s not bubbling too much. The sauce will reduce here. Once ready, boil the spaghetti to your liking and serve…

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Olivia

Olivia Trought is the Office Manager with Fuzion Communications, Marketing, PR and Graphic Design from offices in Dublin and Cork.

Learning a new lingo and other new habits

January 10, 2022
Duo Lingo

It’s important to me that I am learning something new all of the time, whether it is something professional or personal – in fact it was one of my New Year’s resolutions last year and again this year, 

A love of Italy and a dream of returning there (Tuscany please!) in a post Covid world (we can dream at least) had learning Italian on my list.

I had heard from my brother Colin that the Duo Lingo App was a great way to learn so I signed up for the free App and quickly switched to the subscription version – you can only watch so many adverts every time you make a mistake!

As well as Duo Lingo I also signed up for some other courses including video editing on the Udemy platform. The courses on Udemy are really affordable and when I signed up I was determined to complete them.

The big learning difference between each is that Duo Lingo have thought deeply about how people operate, their will power (or lack of), their ability to stay focused and stay the course and how your motivation can change from the minute you sign up to afterwards when all of the other life stuff can throw you off track.

I guess in a way it’s like the gym membership in January, which starts with all of the very best intentions and ends up how it always does unless there are some very special motivation factors that will keep you coming back.

With all of that perspective Duo Lingo successfully gamified their App and built in features that keep you on course and keep you coming back.

They give you points for every exercise you complete, they send you messages to stick with it, they put you in a league table and constantly tell you where you are on that table!

When you complete an exercise they ask you to go again and earn double points, they tell you how you compare with others and they give you bonuses for being an “early bird”. The other very clever thing is they allow you to follow others and it lets you know when those people hit certain milestones and you can congratulate them from within the platform. That’s how I found out my sister is also using the App and how my brother is pretty serious about learning Spanish!

The most addictive element in my opinion is the “days streak” that you are on and you get constant messages to remind you that your “streak” may end if you don’t do an exercise!

It’s a very simple thing but it has me each day waking and thinking that I better do an Italian exercise to make sure I keep my streak going. A new habit has infiltrated my busy life!

I couldn’t tell you the last time I did a session on the video editing course – in truth when I go back to it I will probably have to go back to earlier sessions as I will have forgotten what I had learnt.

Knowing how I work and my busy schedule I was careful enough to schedule times in my diary to do the training sessions on Udemy but mostly that never worked out because something else took my time and attention – I haven’t missed a day of Italian learning in 146 days (not as important to me as the editing),

My point in all of this and making the comparison between the learning systems is that I know and you probably do as well that learning which involves some new habits is really really difficult and unless there is something significant motivating you then you probably won’t stay the course,

As well as my own objectives this year and the things I want to change both personally and for the business I do need to think about gamifying these in some way to increase the chances of success.

Is it a league table, setting reminders in my calendar, having a learning buddy, making a no messing time of the day/week that can’t be interfered with, counting my successive days and rewarding myself when that happens – maybe a very very special of red wine from Tuscany from the fabulous Wine Buff ?

Whatever it is I need to crack it.

What do you do to stay on track with those New Years resolutions and good luck with them!

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications who offer Marketing, PR, Graphic Design and Digital Marketing services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

Is “Bias”​ blinding us to opportunities?

December 1, 2021

The Authority Gap – Why women are still taken less seriously than men and what can be done about it.

On the latest episode of the #WinHappy podcast I chatted with political and economic journalist, broadcaster, non-executive director and author of the best seller, The Authority GapMary Ann Sieghart.

Her life experiences and three years of extensive research brought her to writing this book and taking on the challenge of closing the gender gap.

Mary Ann wants men to listen so when I reached out to feature her on the podcast she agreed.

We had a lively discussion including areas where there might be a different type of authority gap when it comes to men such as parenting.

It’s a big issue, that I suspect we will always grapple with..

Click the link here to enjoy the show!

All episodes of the podcast are available on all the usual podcast apps as well as Spotify.

I’m interested in what you think..

Greg

At Fuzion Communications we produce the Win Happy podcast as well as many podcasts for clients.

The diary of a newbie!

November 2, 2021

I am delighted to have joined the Fuzion Communications team three weeks ago.

I have been working as a freelancer for the last two years, and there are many benefits to that… but also a lot of negatives (if you know, you know!).

Last winter, I realised that I missed working as part of a larger team and the bigger projects that tend to come with that.

I wanted to join the right agency for me, a place that truly cares about delivering the best results possible for their clients, and has a fantastic team at the heart of the organisation. Thankfully that is absolutely the case.

In my first week I was keen to be in the office as much as possible while the team was adapting to work towards the hybrid style, everyone was so warm, friendly and straightforward about everything, which is something that I really appreciated. In addition to this they were fantastic in dishing out tips for the best local coffee and where the best lunch spots are…Tir on Baggot Street is my new firm favourite for sandwiches just in case you were wondering. You weren’t? well, sure now you know!

Some of my observations and learnings from the first week are that a good office manager is everything and already I can’t count the number of times I’ve said “Thank God for Olivia!

Everyone joining a new organisation needs to have that person that knows everything and like Olivia is so helpful in sharing her pearls of knowledge with new joiners.

One of my first tasks was to prepare a presentation for a potential new client.

What was amazing about this process was talking through everything with Dee the founder of Fuzion, where she explained with heart the ‘why’ behind each action as opposed to saying “this is just what you do.”

Last Friday was a team day in the gorgeous Montenotte Hotel in Cork, which was a lovely opportunity to meet everyone off-screen, in person over a cup of coffee… who would have thought something so simple is in fact so important to our working lives?

One of the main items on the agenda in Cork was reflecting on the year just passed and future planning for 2022.

One of my key observations was just how engaged everyone on the team was while their colleagues spoke, every idea and wish was noted to see how it could be brought to life down the line. I’m not sure I’ve ever witnessed that in action before, it was lovely.

There was a shared sense of respect, and yes, of course, we all have to and want to work hard but there is an onus on everyone to make the best of it, by speaking up and being a part of the brilliant ideas that are at the heart of what makes this organisation tick. I am so excited about what is to come, it’s been a long time since I had that feeling that I was truly in exactly the place I am meant to be.

Sarah

Sarah Murphy is an Account Manager with Fuzion Communications a Marketing, PR, Graphic Design and Digital Marketing agency with offices offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

Transition from college to work. Thor and the things that nobody told you!

August 13, 2021

There’s been so much written about the beautiful years of college.

However, many seem to forget to tell you about the transition from college to work and how it can impact graduates on their mental health.

So, you’re right there in the final semester, you can even see the silver lining but now let me guide you through the turmoil of emotions that are coming your way!

Once you get your final results you will feel like the new Steve Jobs (or Thor), flooded with emotions of achievement and pride. The world is your oyster!

My Advice:  Write yourself a note to remind you about this wonderful achievement and how it made you feel (because ……you’re going to need it later!).

Now here are the three main stages that I experienced:

Round 1: Post-Graduation Depression.

It’s been years studying late at night, meeting up with your team for projects, many reports submitted, and so on. And now what?

You might start feeling stagnant, anxious, or even depressed. This is when the grieving process begins, grieving for a period in your life that is gone.

My advice:

Give your brain some time to adjust to the new situation. Accept those feelings and let them go.

Round 2: The Job Hunt & Rejection.

Once the post-graduation depression is over, you might start with the job hunt filled with ambition and passion. Your resume is the hammer to your inner Thor!

But here is when the rejection game happens. You might apply for five jobs a day and get ten rejection emails in exchange (ok, those maths don’t work, but trust me, it will feel like that).

The brain will wander and the negativity will set in and a possible guilt trip will start. Am I not good enough? Why didn’t I go to the career services in my college? And so on.

My Advice:

Don’t take the rejection personally. Take a day or two when it gets too much to reconsider your approach and adjust.

Also here is the moment to read the note you left for yourself when you finished your degree, and remind your inner Thor that you’re the God of Thunder, the All-Father and King of Asgard, and Son of Odin (well maybe not that, but you can try with the God/dess of TikTok, The All-Father/Mother of Buddy (your dog), king/queen of your cul-de-sac and son/daughter of Finbarr & Mary!

Round 3: New Job & The Imposter Syndrome.

Eventually, you get a job, and just when you think the whirlwind of emotions is all gone, here is when the final round kicks in.

Do you feel like you don’t know what you are doing? Do you feel like everyone else is smarter than you?

Don’t worry, it happens that often this “feeling” or condition even has a name, ‘the Imposter Syndrome’. It is based on an internal belief that you are not as good as others perceive you to be.

My Advice:

Avoid comparing yourself to others and be brave enough to question your own thoughts. Most likely they are not real, but just that little voice in your head.

Now, and after all this experience I am proud to say that I got the job that I wanted.

Just one week in Fuzion Communications and I already realised the great value the company places on being brave and ambitious. Which it is exactly what my inner Thor taught me during my journey.

#WinHappy as we say in Fuzion!

Patricia

Patricia Perera is a very bright, insightful and intelligent person who has just joined the Fuzion Communications team and begins her career, starting as a Communications intern with a fantastic future ahead!

Note from editor:

Thank you Patricia for reminding us what it is like for anyone at the beginning of their career, trying to get a start in a fog of disappointments.

Starting a new job during the pandemic!

June 16, 2021
Sarah Hayes - Fuzion Communications


So, you’ve made the decision to leave your job and start a new venture from home during the pandemic?

Firstly, congratulations!

Making the leap from one job to the next is never easy but particularly when you’re starting from your home. It adds another dimension to first day nerves knowing that you may not meet your new colleagues for weeks or maybe even months. Of course, working remotely has its benefits and comforts – particularly, when you have the support of your family and friends quite literally around you but it’s certainly different.

I’m a good few weeks into my new role with Fuzion Communications as a Junior Account Manager and thought I’d put together some tips that I’ve learned on how to start a job remotely during the pandemic. So, whether you’re someone who’s like me – just having started the job – or you’re thinking about making the leap, then this one is for you.

Tip number one – dress to impress:
It’s definitely something that sounds obvious but we might forget – make the effort and dress to impress when you start. One of the biggest aspects that I’ve found is trying to figure out the culture of a company without the luxury of having a desk buddy to guide you. Start as you mean to go on by popping on that nice blouse or blazer – not only will it make you feel good but it’s easier to have to dress down than up once you figure out the dress code of an organisation with working from home.

Tip number two – set up one to ones with your new team:
I think one of the biggest downfalls to working from home when you’re starting a new job is that you don’t get that personal time or kitchen chit-chat with your new colleagues. So, I’d definitely recommend setting up one to one calls to have a non-work related chat with your new colleagues. Fortunately, Fuzion was fantastic and had these set up for me before I even started and they truly made all the difference. If it’s something your manager hasn’t organised for you, take the initiative and do it yourself – grab a cup of coffee and get to know the people you’ll be working with!

Tip number three – keep your camera on:
You might be coming from a culture where having your camera off is the norm but when you’re starting in a new job, I’d highly recommend keeping that camera on. Let your new colleagues get to know what you look like and make sure to always introduce yourself on calls. It can be pretty daunting because as we all know, Zoom calls can be hectic but make your presence known. I’d also suggest putting a profile photo on your emails so that other people in the organisation can get to know you too.

I think the general theme that I would say is important when you’re starting a job from home is to be proactive – organise those calls, turn your camera on, make your presence known and most importantly, be proud of yourself because starting out anywhere new is difficult… never mind from the home! Give yourself time to settle in and just observe your colleagues in order to get to know the culture of your new organisation.

Good luck in that new job!

Sarah

Sarah Hayes is an Account Manager with Fuzion Communications, who has recently joined us from Tourism Ireland.

When passion meets work, work becomes a hobby!

June 8, 2021

Ever since I was a young child I loved creating things.

Drawing pads, colouring pencils, glue and scissors were my best friends. I was one of those kids that was never bored and always felt like there weren’t enough hours in a day to do everything that I wanted to do and bring all my crazy ideas to life.

I was keeping myself occupied making cardboard furniture for Barbie dolls, big cardboard houses, cars and trains for me and all the kids living in the apartment blocks nearby. I even made sure that each of them had a name and badge like real cars did, except they were all made up by me. When I think of it now, they were very similar to the cardboard colouring houses that a lot of supermarkets were selling lately to keep children busy during the lockdown. If there was such a thing as Covid back then I would have made a fortune on them!

When I was 10 I started making exercise books for young children. They included colouring pages, crosswords, handwriting exercises and anything else I could think of. I used to “design” and draw every single page of the book by hand and get it photocopied so that I could give a copy to all my neighbours with young kids.

When I got older I got more into drawing, painting and writing. I have a collection of short stories and poems that I wrote as a teenager. My creativity had no limits and I had this never-ending urge to express it in every possible way.

My brain never takes a break and is always “on the go”, constantly coming up with new ideas. I wish my body didn’t need any rest so that I could work on them and bring them to life as soon as the light bulb lights up in my head. It’s so frustrating when you want to do so many things and your body refuses to cooperate!

When I was finishing secondary school and needed to pick a career path, I had no doubt about what to choose. I picked the Visual Communications course in Cork Institute of Technology and loved every single minute of it and when I say every single minute I really mean it… that also includes all the sleepless nights that I spent working on college projects in order to meet the deadlines. Nothing beats the feeling I got the following day when I was treating myself to a delicious hot chocolate, minutes after handing in the project that I worked on until 5am that morning! It felt good because I knew I put all my heart into it and the satisfaction I got out of it was stronger than the tiredness. 

I always knew that whatever I end up doing in life, it will have to be something creative, and so, the exercise books that I used to make as a child turned into brochures, annual reports and all kind of booklets. The cardboard cars turned into innovative signage solutions and the made up car badges’ turned into powerful and professional brands that serve clients for years. I turned my life-long passion into a way of living and the fact that it brings me money is like winning a lottery. 

I love bringing clients’ ideas to life and seeing their excitement when what I’m giving them is exactly what they needed and more.

Graphic design is a combination of art, creative thinking, problem solving and a little bit of mind reading!

As a designer you really have to tune into the client’s thoughts to figure out what they’re looking for, and a lot of the time they don’t even know what they’re looking for until you show it to them! Getting it right the first time is the best feeling ever and to get it right the first time you have to truly love and enjoy what you do. If you put your heart into something you can never fail.

Make sure that whatever you do in life, it sparks your soul and makes you feel alive.

#WinHappy

Martyna

All Figured Out

May 21, 2021

Your 20’s are strange years, some of my friends are still in college finishing their degrees, others have great jobs in different counties and countries, and a few have brought beautiful children into the world.

Although I’m only three years in, the most prominent learning of my 20’s is that there is no clear path to adulthood.!

People change, which includes careers, families, relationships and interests. I don’t think there is one single point in anyone’s life that signals you’ve entered adulthood, but believe me when I say alarm bells were ringing loudly in my head when I noticed I was receiving Dunnes Stores Clubcard vouchers in the post!

We seem to be under the impression that a simple age cutoff such as turning 18, or a celebration like a college graduation should make us feel like adults. After all, there are certain privileges that come with crossing those thresholds, the right to vote, to purchase alcohol, drive a car etc. Why do we assume that the years between 16 and 23 are the years that you must get everything set up for the rest of your life to fall in place?

I was given my first car when I was 16, a Ford Ka, a beautiful piece of engineering if you ask me.

Before even completing my first driving lesson, I was signing myself into a contract with an Insurance company for a comprehensive package coming in at €3,200 for the year. I remember the monthly payments cost €260, all my hard earned money was gone into insurance for a car that was probably worth €400! Hindsight is great though, now I can look back and be proud of myself for being able to learn to budget from a young age and manage that considerable outlay. I should really write a letter to Axa and thank them!

I know people say they don’t have it all figured out either, and that you shouldn’t worry about the future but it’s difficult when there seems to be such a structured way of doing things. School – College – Job – House – Husband – Child, it just doesn’t seem like a chain that should be broken when you’re at this age.

I love that people are learning to rebel against the ‘rules’, going back to education at a later age, not buying a car because public transport suffices, having children when they feel it’s the right time and so many more examples.

There is no clear path to adulthood and from what I’ve learned so far is… not to worry!

Everything will fall into place, I might be biased because I’ve only recently downloaded ‘The Secret’ on audiobooks so I’m really trying to stay positive about everything!!!

You should try to be too…

Heather

Heather Lordan is part of the Marketing and PR team at Fuzion Communications

Heather Lordan

How I survived a year of Working From Home!

April 16, 2021

Many of us have a variation on the story now, but in March of 2020 I found myself working from home as a full-time employee for the first time. I make the full-time distinction as I had worked for myself and on my own terms for a few years, but this was different.

Or was it?

In actuality it turned out that the lessons and good habits I had developed prior to re-joining full-time about 6 years ago, were very much still applicable.

When we decamped to our home workspaces in March of 2020 “for a few weeks” we weren’t to know what a paradigm shift it would be. At Fuzion, we had to hit the ground running as some of our clients became extra-busy, especially our design clients, so there wasn’t a lot of time to adapt. Luckily there were some quick hacks that could be applied to make for a productive and positive work from home situation. Here are some of my favourite tips that allowed me to survive and thrive in a year of WFH.

Segregate your work and home life, even if just in your head.

After all, how do you avoid bringing work home, when you work from home? Little mind-hacks can be a great help. For example, you can create a home mood or a work mood, through use of light and sound. I’ve back-lit my Mac, which is only on during work hours and I have taken our Fuzion Design favourite radio station BBC Six Music with me, which I only play during work hours.

After all, Techno Tuesday is great for focus and it just may save your life. When it’s time to stop, the Mac goes off, the lights change and I swap the radio for a playlist or TV.

A Good Workspace is Key.

Many of us kicked off last March on sofas or at kitchen tables. Try and avoid this, get a desk that you can keep just for work. Use a comfortable chair, that you can roll away at end of day. Pay attention to ergonomics as you’ll be sitting there 8 hours a day. Keep your workspace minimalist and uncluttered, distraction free. Apply the same to anything in your peripheral vision, if you can.

Remember to Stand.

Your back will thank you and your focus will thank you. Heck, if you have to, do as Haruki Murakami said and Dance, Dance, Dance. Especially if it’s techno Tuesday. Who’s to stop you? (Magic Carpet Ride by the Mighty Dub Katz is on the radio as I type, be right back).

Choose to Commute.

Take a walk in the morning or the evening straight after work. As much as you might think you don’t miss a commute, the post-work exercise helps reset your brain. Take a camera with you so that you’re always watching out for a good photo and engaged with and interested in your environment, even if you walk it every day. That’ll also help you stretch your eyes after a day of staring at a screen. Some days do the route in reverse! Every bit helps.

Keep good work practices.

Filing, admin, communication. Manage and track your time, keep notes to mitigate the COVID brain fog. Use tools that suit your new work environment. Whether for note taking, collaboration or file transfer. Don’t have a NAS server? Use Google or Dropbox or other collaborative file sharing tools to ensure that your shared files remain in a central location and are always up to date.

Have a department chat group or Slack (we use Google Chat). It’s great for quick questions or a bit of idle chit chat (not to be underestimated).

Get up, get dressed!

Get dressed for work every day, even if you’re only going to be seen on Zoom. If you have to plan what to wear the night before, you’ll instantly feel organised the next morning. Pride in your appearance is great for instilling some positivity and good for your mental health. The ritual of getting ready is familiar and helps you get in a work frame of mind. Don’t worry too much about dress code, but dress in a way that makes you feel good and ready to have a good day.

Watch your breaks

Have a good breakfast and stick to your lunch breaks. Taking breaks is important, even if to stand up and step out of the room. Don’t overdo the breaks either, remember you are at work and if you’re a designer too, you’ll know it ruins that sense of flow we so often need.

Don’t be a hermit

Network, stay in touch with peers, whether via social media or otherwise. Use organised feeds to ensure you’re getting enough good news and inspiration. Avoid doom-scrolling on social media by making lists that you can check in on. If you’ve to catch up with a colleague, take a few minutes extra and do it by video, studies have shown the positive effects of that level of human engagement (see wired article TBC). Even a short DM chat to touch base with a colleague can help your team grow.

Make time for the team. At Fuzion we have a semi-formal Monday morning catch up and briefing. At week’s end it’s Fuzion Friday – which is as informal as you get and a nice way to finish your week. When you’re out for a walk, arrange to meet a friend for a coffee or a chat, even just to feel normal. Especially if you live alone. Just because you’re WFH doesn’t mean you have to be be a hermit.

Be flexible.

For some people. Standard office hours won’t always work when you’re at home. Small people (children) and home life can interrupt. Plan your work when it’s practical, even if that’s earlier in the morning or later into the evening. Enjoy the flexibility, rather than fighting against it.

Take pride in achieving that balance.

Sh!t Happens

Remember, sh!t happens and it’s rarely the end of the world. If the server goes down, your Zoom will only show you as a cat, or a colleague can’t find files at the last second, don’t sweat it. You’re all doing brilliantly. We ARE all in it together. Stay positive. Positivity is contagious.

Thanks for coming to my TED talk!

Mark

Mark Kenny is a Senior Graphic Designer, part of the Graphic Design team with Fuzion Communications who provide a full print and digital design from offices in Dublin and Cork.


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