What habits are you bringing into the season? Part 1 of 3

written by Erica Quam

As summer winds down, orientations and training camps are already in progress, and athletes are beginning to report back to campuses all over the country.

This is an exciting time in collegiate athletics.  Everything is brand new again, everyone is undefeated, and most teams, athletes, and coaches are riding the summer high of optimism.

This was always my favorite time of the year.  To begin again.  To build a team.  To start from scratch.  To prepare to form, storm, norm, and perform all over again.

There were things I hoped my returning athletes had done a good job of over the summer and other things I hoped my freshman class would add to the group.  I hoped a fresh start would allow them to begin the season with good habits! 

Over the next few weeks we're going to look at your habits as a coach - so you can start the season off right and then maintain that momentum.  

We'll take a closer look at your daily habits in the following 3 areas:

  • PRODUCTIVITY - we'll start here.

Coaches ALWAYS complain about how stressed out and overwhelmed they are and how little time they have to get things done.  It's almost like they wear it as a badge of honor on their sleeve!  When we take a closer look at their schedules, we find a few small things that they can change to make a big difference in their day.  

Let's begin with a simple 3-question yes or no survey about your productivity habits:

  1. Do you check email when you first walk into your office? 
  2. Do you consider yourself to be a master multi-tasker? 
  3. Do you have clutter in your office? 

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then try implementing one of these three new habits and be more productive.

CREATE instead of REACT
Set aside 15-30 minutes one to two times a day to check your email.  Instead of opening your email first and reacting to whatever fires pop up, look at your to-do list, and tackle your biggest priority of the day FIRST.

Email can be a BIG distraction, an energy suck, and momentum stopper.  It can lead you way off-track from what you actually need to be doing.  

When you schedule windows of time to check your email you are in a position to create the day that you want instead of reacting to everything that comes into your inbox.  If something is important enough and deserves your immediate attention - they'll call.

Instead of having 3 or 4 things going on at the same time, focus on one project at a time.  Once you finish it, check it off the list, take a deep breath, enjoy a short break, and experience the energy of completion!

Eliminate the little things that don’t matter during your workday and have a minimal effect on your overall productivity. 

Truly productive people aren’t focused on doing more things at the same time; this is actually the opposite of productivity. If you really want to be productive, you’ve got to make a point to do fewer things.

CLEAR instead of CLUTTER
Clutter impacts your clarity, your focus, and your productivity.  If you have an office with lots of clutter, you are literally draining your energy every day.  Consider this example:

  • Imagine you begin your day with 100 energy points.  As you drive to work you notice your car is like a locker-room - full of bags and piles you've meant to clean up.  Subtract 25 points.
  • You walk into your office and you notice the box outside your door you've meant to take to recycling.  Subtract 25 points.  
  • You get ready for morning workout and look for a file that has the spreadsheet you need to keep track of a test set. You can't seem to find it as you rifle through the pile of files beside your desk.  Subtract another 25 points.
  • It's not even 8am and you are already down to 25 energy points left to spread out over the rest of your day! 

Even if you don't believe me, try this: choose "the worst" spot in your office, take 10-15 minutes to clean it up, and see how you feel.  

Usually it feels so much better that you want to clean more!  Instead of dropping everything and going on an all out cleaning binge, take 10-15 minutes to de-clutter one small area every few days.  Once you've removed your clutter, schedule time one day each week to keep things closer to clutter-free.  

Remember as you change your habits - take time to acknowledge the small progress that you make.  It's not about perfection.  

I'll leave you with a great quote by a pretty bright guy, Aristotle, "We are what we repeatedly do.  Excellence then is not an act, it is a habit."

Which of these 3 will make the biggest difference to your productivity?
What specifically will you change over the next 21-days to create a shift for yourself to be more productive?

If you liked this post and want to read more articles for athletic coaches then click here and get free access to the Who Coaches You? weekly eZine.

Erica Quam is the Founder of the Coaching Experience, where she teaches athletic coaches how to think more strategically about coaching, how to balance the demands of their career, and how to create a life that they enjoy.