written by Erica Quam
One of the things I work with coaches on is their mindset around time management.
It's less about managing your time. It's more about managing yourself.
A question I start with is, "What activity do you begin your day with?"
Most coaches answer, "I check my phone to see what emails or texts came in that I have to get to."
The next question I ask is, "After you check your phone, what comes next?"
Most coaches verbalize how checking their phone leads them down a rabbit hole. Some coaches say they can easily spend the next hour on email alone. Others jump from email to text or scrolling through social media. Before they know it, it's lunch time and they haven't gotten to a single thing on their to-do list.
Once coaches realize this, the next thing that happens is they get down on themselves. They feel bad because they realize the habit, yet trying to break free is a total paradox.
As a coach, you have to check your phone because there are things you need to respond to. That's your job.
And...instead of getting pulled down the rabbit hole are there a boundaries and limits you can set to keep you in the driver's seat rather than go unconscious?
You aren't behaving this way because you're undisciplined.
You're behaving this way because you've programmed yourself to do things a certain way.
That’s it. Plain and simple.
My guess is you're not undisciplined.
My guess is you're proactive.
My guess is you're a bit of a perfectionist.
My guess is you're overwhelmed.
Or, you’re all three.
Wanna know the upside of this? You can train yourself to get stuff done. Just like you train your athletes new skills. You can help yourself accomplish more each day by tricking yourself how to get things done.
Here are my favorite tricks to help coaches get more stuff done (even the worst procrastinators!):
1 – Take the first step.
Whatever you need to work on - whether it's writing a workout, filling out paperwork, or writing the newsletter for your alumni - you have to begin.
If you've put it on your to-do list and it's a priority for your day, take one little step to get you started.
Don't look at your phone first.
Don't clean up your desk before you do it.
Don't worry about how busy you are for the rest of the day!
Stop doing this!
Write the warmup.
Make an outline.
Write the first sentence.
Once you start, it's easier to keep going.
2 – Use small windows.
All coaches complain about not having enough time.
My guess is you have more time than you think. You just can't do everything at once.
Are you waiting for a full afternoon of free time to open up with nothing else scheduled?
Don't wait! for many hours of spare time to begin your idea, your project, or your taxes?
Learn how to utilize small chunks of time to get small chunks of stuff done.
3 - Do it imperfectly.
Begin with a rough draft...as rough as it can be.
Make it your goal to get something down.
Don't worry if it's perfect.
Don't even try and perfect it.
Do part of it and do it badly.
4 - Clarify your quantities.
If you set goals that are unclear and undefined, you won't get the results you hope to achieve.
“I've got so much to do” is a lot like saying, “I should really do something to change the world.”
Most coaches have a hard time figuring out priorities and getting clear on what specifically needs to be done...and by when. Most coaches just want results - like everything needs to be done RIGHT NOW!
So ask yourself before you get started each week:
1. What do I need to do? (Prioritize)
2. What's realistic to get done this week? (Chunk it down)
3. When am I going to do it? (Write an exact time in your calendar)
4. How long will I work on it? (Have a start and stop time)
Your brain will love having this kind of clarity!