Coaches / Interviews

Balancing the Grind with Dr Kim Granland Psychologist & Executive Coach

Dr Kim Granland is a psychologist, psychotherapist & executive coach, focusing on peak performance, work motivation and career inspiration for individuals and groups.

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1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?

I am an experienced Psychologist with a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology and a Masters in Counselling Psychology. I am also an Executive Coach with clinical research and expertise in helping executives optimise their cognitive health and performance.

Interestingly, I began my working career as an Investment Banker working for more than a decade in Banking and Finance specialising in derivatives trading and risk management.

I have been fortunate enough to work in many exciting and stimulating environments including London, Tokyo, Singapore, Melbourne and Sydney.

Drawing on my own personal international banking experience and my clinical doctorate training, I run my own practice where I see a range of clients from executives and entrepreneurs to busy parents and clients looking for inspiration to make changes in their work, life or relationships.

I help empower my clients to become their own therapist or executive coach so they can transform their own lives. I am also currently conducting research into how to achieve post pandemic growth.

2) What does a day in the life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?

A typical day for me starts early with a purposeful 10-minute mindfulness session, focusing on my positive intentions as soon as I wake up.

Our brains have the most neuroplasticity in the first minutes of the morning, which means that by practicing meditation or mindfulness we can shape our mindset for the whole day. Then I get my three children off to their schools and myself ready for work.

I have recently expanded my practice to collaborate with wonderful colleagues in Sydney on George Street in the Wellshare group, which is essentially like-minded health practitioners sharing a flexible workspace focused on wellness and wellbeing.

I head to the office for a day of clients with scheduled breaks to go for walk and talk meetings or a lunch and learn workshop that I conduct during the day.

Mostly my clients prefer to come and see me in person, which I must admit I prefer over virtual sessions, however, zoom sessions are extremely useful and available for those who need them.

During my commute home I listen to podcasts and books to maximise my work hours and productivity. Sometimes I start my workday later after an early workout or walk with my dog Honey, especially if I have evening zoom sessions with my overseas clients.

Once home I often have dinner with my children or sometimes out with friends and then I go offline for the evening. I find having two hours of a digital detox each evening before bed crucial for inducing relaxation and enhancing the quality of sleep.

3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?

Working for myself I am so fortunate to have flexible hours and locations for my work. This allows me to schedule my hours around my children and my personal life which is especially important to me and helps promote a healthy work-life balance.

I love the variety and flexibility of being able to see my clients in different settings and in different ways from face to face, walking meetings, zoom telehealth type sessions or even a phone call.

Covid-19 has created so many more ways for Psychologists to reach and support their clients. Medicare now supports telehealth sessions which is a financial blessing for many during these challenging times. During lock-down as an essential worker I was able to still see clients at my practice however I began seeing a lot of clients using telehealth mostly via Zoom.

I find changing the way I work throughout the day helps improve my concentration and performance, especially as I enjoy variety and flexibility.

I recently rescheduled sessions and joined a walking half marathon for charity on a Friday morning, to meet some executives who have had difficulties recently with job security and pivoting their work and businesses.

4) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?

A large part of my work is helping my clients create work-life balance and I do this by running workshops teaching them the art and science behind juggling their life with joy.

For me, as a mother of three children and running a psychology practice, creating work-life balance is the most fundamental aspect of what I do.

It is not a destination that I will ever arrive at or a goal that I will achieve but a daily life journey that guides me, a value that gives my life direction.

Work-life balance for me is guided by three principles. Firstly, find your true values in life, these values will guide you in the direction you need, especially when you feel overwhelmed. I often get clients to write these values on their vision board or in a journal.

I value genuineness in my relationships with others, the pursuit of intellectual creativity and finally compassion for others but also importantly compassion for myself.

Secondly, to gain work-life balance I believe you should strive to acknowledge and accept your own feelings and encourage your feelings to come along with you for your life journey.

For me, this includes being mindful of my stress levels and how I act on this stress but also importantly mindful of embracing moments of joy, often by collaborating with other people that inspire me.

Finally, to achieve work-life balance it is essential to create realistic boundaries that you can stick to.

If you struggle to not read text messages or emails from your clients or work colleagues when you are having a break with your family or friends then invest in another phone that you physically turn off or even leave in your office, explaining to your business colleagues that you will return their calls or messages during business hours.

Creating these boundaries to protect our mental health is especially crucial when working from home.

5) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?

This is such an important topic and during this pandemic I have encouraged my clients to find their “corona keepers” and “corona cast-offs” which is exactly this, little things we have started or stopped doing, creating a positive impact on our lives.

I have started walking my dog more regularly in the park or at the beach, whilst listening to podcasts and books.

This has had a wonderful impact on my mental wellness, being in nature, living in the moment with an overly excited and friendly dog plus opening my mind listening to new and interesting ideas and opinions.

The one important thing I have let go off is an overly scheduled timetable with my children, the simple act of doing less has sparked so much joy in my children and myself.

6) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?

I have been obsessed with books and podcasts lately as it is such a great way to learn and upskill.

I usually have a few books on the run and lately I am reading Brain Wash by Dr David Perlmutter, Phosphorescence by Julia Baird and Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker.

I have three podcasts I can’t live without: Brene Brown’s Unlocking Us, Recharge Your Mental Health by Chelsea Pottenger at EQ Minds and How to Fail with Elizabeth Day.

7) Are there any products, gadgets or apps that you can’t live without?

Hands down I can’t live without Audible as it has been a game changer for me being able to exercise, run a household and commute in the car listening to so many great books.

After decades of being a Psychotherapist listening to my client’s stories and difficulties, I am more efficient at listening and understanding information than when I am reading it.

I also recommend and use many meditation, relaxation and sleep apps like Calm.

As far as gadgets go, I love my AirPod Pros with the inbuilt outside noise enhancing feature which makes them super safe for outside running and exercising so you can hear the traffic.

8) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?

After reading Becoming by Michelle Obama I would really like to hear her thoughts about work-life balance, she is quite remarkable.

9) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?

Aspiring for balance in your life needs to be a priority that you must believe in before you will make sustainable changes.

Developing new habits is not easy and takes time, even longer to unlearn old habits so build up your stamina for change slowly. For improved motivation try small wins, something you believe in and can commit to 100%.

Finding small changes, you can implement easily will slowly enhance your psychological wellbeing through balancing your work and life in harmony.

If you are struggling to find work-life balance I would always recommend reaching out to a professional who is trained and experienced in this area.

If you are interested in the work that I do then please connect via my website which has further information about how I can help you and my contact details.

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About Author

Hey there! I'm Hao, the Editor-in-Chief at Balance the Grind. We’re on a mission to showcase healthy work-life balance through interesting stories from people all over the world, in different careers and lifestyles.