Personal development

Ten tips for top performance

DSC Associate Trainer, Heather Brierley, provides you with some tips for improving performance.

All linked to your wellbeing, these ten tips can help you feel better and ultimately, perform better!



There are so many benefits to staying hydrated including improved mental capacity, more energy and reduced fatigue. Yet we often forget to drink water during the day. So buy a one litre refillable water bottle and keep it by your desk. Fill it every morning so you can keep topping up your glass all day (feel free to refill the bottle more than once a day).



Just like forgetting to drink water we forget to eat. Make sure you take a break to eat your lunch. Away from your desk. And have healthy snacks to graze on so you don’t end up getting so hungry that you grab the nearest chocolate bar for a quick energy fix.


Yes it sounds ridiculous but often we don’t breathe enough and we certainly don’t breathe properly!

So firstly, remind yourself to breathe… At your desk, in a stressful conversation, when you are running between jobs.

Secondly, take some time out for dedicated breathing to help you relax… It doesn’t need to be for long. Simply take five minutes out whether that is first thing in the morning to set you up for the day, at the end of the day to wind down or at lunchtime to distress midday!

Thirdly, learn how to breathe. Often we breathe from the chest – it means we don’t get as much air into our lungs as we could and we aren’t expelling all the ‘old’ air. Deep breathing from your stomach is what we need – it means you are getting maximum oxygen and clearing out your lungs which brings lots of health benefits. When you breathe out, your stomach should go out. To help you do this, sit cross legged (or however you are comfortable) and put your hand on your stomach. Breathe in deeply and your stomach should go out and then breathe out slowly. Once you have learnt this you will be able to do it anywhere a lot more easily!



We all carry tension around in our bodies, whether it is in our head, neck or shoulders. Sitting still for so many hours a day or being in the same position means that we are tensing and we are not getting enough oxygen to our muscles. Do a few simple stretches throughout the day to keep your muscles mobile.


To yourself!

Let’s face it, we all talk to ourselves a lot.

But how useful are the conversations that you have with yourself?

Often we are our own worst enemy. We can end up turning a situation into a complete disaster simply by the conversation that we have with ourselves. This in turn makes us feel stressed, out of control and miserable.

So be aware of the conversations you are having with yourself. If you are going down the path of negativity, tell yourself to stop and have a new conversation. Look at what has worked, is working, what you have done, what are the possible positive options, what you can do, what you are good at, what would you like to do… You get the idea!


To each other!

One in four of us will have a mental health problem in any year. It is something that should be talked about openly without being ashamed or embarrassed. So check out how people are. And talk to people if you need some support.


Take your annual leave! Take a break from work and recharge the batteries.


On one thing!

How often do you have several emails open at once and at the same time you as trying to answer those, you are on the phone, speaking to the person standing at your desk and trying to finish ‘that piece of work’ off? (OK so maybe a slight exaggeration but there is probably an element of truth in this!)

Doing too many things at once can make us feel overwhelmed, panicked as we sift between information, lacking in concentration, annoyed because we aren’t finishing anything and just damn exhausted! And it can mean we are neglecting our relationships.

So focus for a minute on just this article and think about what this means for you – ignore any distractions, just for a minute!


To your body.

Is it telling you to slow down or take a break?

Be kind to yourself! Does that thing you are doing or planned to have done really need to be done now? Can it wait?


Why, why, why – it is something I often refer to in my training sessions – that vital piece of information that is often missing from our communications. The piece of information that can really help someone else understand your actions, behaviours, reasoning and requests. We can often make conversations a lot easier and less stressful by ensuring that we are explaining the why.

For example, sometimes we do something that makes complete sense to us because we know why we are doing it. But to someone else it may seem strange. Or make them feel a particular way – maybe they feel frustrated, confused, or uncertain. This can often lead to strains in the relationship you have with them. But often if we tell people why we are doing something, people ‘get it’. And even if they don’t always agree with things, at least they understand! Another example could be when you are asking someone to do something for you. Again, it makes complete sense to you why you want something done and why you want it done in a particular way and why you want it done in a particular way but does the person you are asking know!? Again, we often end up having to deal with difficult situations which can be stressful because we haven’t communicated the why behind a request.

It is also useful to ask ourselves why we are doing certain things – is it because we aren’t really thinking about it but we have got into the habit of doing something and so are blindingly continuing? Is it because we are telling ourselves we have to do something as opposed to choosing to do something? Or is it that we have no reason why we are doing something, we just are?! Knowing why we are doing something gives us motivation, helps us focus, be more productive and helps us do the things that we want to be doing!

So what are your whys?!