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OPINION! Google Sales Director Fionnuala Meehan: Productivity as a conscious decision

Fionnuala Meehan is Sales Director at Google Ireland in Dublin. In the interview she tells how she manages her work environment with energy control.

Fionnuala Meehan is Irish. She studied European Studies in Ireland and completed an academic year in Freiburg. Therefore she speaks excellent German. After completing her studies, she worked in customer service at Best Western Hotels for five years, then moved to AOL for another five years and has now been with Google for ten years. Meehan is married and has three children.

Google is well-known for the fact that employees are already starting work on the road: where do you start your job?

I also start on the road, on the train - with the eMails. Because overnight are numerous eMails arrived from Mountain View, which I work off first.

When I come to the office around 8, I usually have meetings with Google's colleagues in India, because that is lunch time and therefore a good time for it. Meetings with colleagues from the USA take place in the afternoon.

How do you cope with the demands of a company like Google?

I am very tidy and organized and can make quick decisions. With 20 years of professional experience, I have also learned how to control my energy and to leave problems in the office, to switch off and continue the next day.

What tools and productivity methods do you use at work?

Google Docs I find ideal for collaboration. As I work with people from Asia, London, Hamburg and the USA, we can gather and discuss the many different views and opinions here perfectly.

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I also make lists to gain an overview of my tasks and to prioritize them. Every Monday I create to-do lists for the week and write down what is really important - and what is just a “nice-to-have”. I also always have a notepad with me for new ideas. I also tried an iPad - but for me, writing down tasks is a very personal process, it works best on paper.

Where do you prefer to work?

In the office. I rarely take work home with me. If, then I do at most phone calls from home. I am important that I have a different life next to Google and for example every day around 18 clock with my family dinner. Therefore, 16 or 17 clock for me is evening. I do not work at the weekend.

Is not that difficult in a company like Google?

It is true that Google's demands on employees are very high. Is expected to do his work well and completely; on the other hand, there is no pressure to be a certain number of hours in the office. It is above all my own conscious decision how long I work and when I can be reached.

The colleagues accept this because I communicate it to them just as clearly. Because only when I shut down, I can concentrate fully in the office on Google. So I do not spend my free time with colleagues. Because I have children, the shutdown is also easier for me.

How do you manage a stressful workday?

I change the subject and let a problem rest until I have a better idea. Or I discuss the idea with colleagues from around the world - that's the great thing about Google, that we have very good people here. It is also important that you do not sit at the desk all day. I go in between to get some water or go for a walk.

And how do you manage to remain productive in the long term?

It is important for me to have a good energy balance - eg by taking breaks and holidays regularly. We also have seminars here in the office. In addition, my work experience helps me to organize my time better.

How many hours do you sleep per night?

I usually go to bed between 22.30 clock and 23 clock and stand around 6.15 clock. I sleep mostly 7 to 8 hours. Less does not work, then I can not work more efficiently.

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6 responses to “OPINION! Google Sales Director Fionnuala Meehan: Productivity as a conscious decision ”

  1. Jochen says:

    Interesting article about productive work. Especially the Google Docs are highly recommended as a tool for mobile and site independent cooperation. More information on http://google-experts.de

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