For us coaches, time is without-a-doubt our number one resource. We always wish we had more of it. I bet this applies to your full-time job or on the practice field. Your time is important, in the classroom, at your desk, on the field or at home.
Here are a few tips to help us through our day so we can spend time on what is most important to us.
#1 Time Management Hack: Batch Your DayGroup everything. Breaking down film? Do it one column at a time if it’s down and distance. Grading papers? Do all the multiple choice stuff stuff first.
The easiest way to do this is your emails. Only answer emails at certain times in the day (i.e. beginning of the day, half way point in morning, lunch, after lunch, end of day).
Assign folders to your email — that is if you follow this silly tactic and don’t trust your search feature — in these batches. Only put things in folders at certain times of the day, or delete them at certain times of the day.
Put all the items you’ve been CC’d on in one folder AUTOMATICALLY with an email filter. Or, put any email that has an Unsubscribe link into a “newsletter” or “promotions” folder using the filter feature. Batch time to go through these folders less (maybe once or twice a day).
If an email is important enough, someone will tell you about it again.
#2 Time Management Hack: Done is better than perfect
This might be the hardest. Remember that done is better than perfect. Only a few things in life need to be perfect. For the other 95% of your to-do list items, just get them done.
Don’t waste your time fixing every typo (see my blog for instance!). You’re not here to impress people with your grammatical prowess, you’re here to be effective.
In the classroom, understand that not every lesson has to be perfectly executed. If you’re ever worried you did something that wasn’t picked up on by the students in the classroom, go over it again the next day. Don’t waste your time on it today when there is more important things to do.
This applies to the football field as well. Coach on the fly in drills or during team periods. Don’t stop the play and go over it 15 times to get it right. Talk while they’re running back to the huddle or to be next in line. Don’t stop momentum so you can feel better about it. Reps > Chatting in most cases.
#3 Time Management Hack: Set Time Constraints
This piggy backs on the last one a bit. Set time constraints. You can only grade papers for an hour today. Setting the deadline will make you work faster and more efficiently. You’ll focus on being done – not perfect.
When you get home, don’t let work cut into your family time. If you’re busy, promise to watch your spouses favorite TV show uninterrupted and eat dinner uninterrupted (that mean’s no checking your phone!). Give them the time and energy they deserve, then they’re a lot less likely to have an issue when you say you need to finish a project or two for work or coaching the next day. But just like work, make that time meaningful or it will be worthless. Dedicate your time to the task at hand, nothing else.
#4 Time Management Hack: The Notepad
Keep a small notepad or voice recorder (like an app on your phone perhaps) with you at all times. I find that the #1 way I procrastinate when I’m busy is I think of that oh-so-important thing I forgot and I Google it. Next thing you know, I’ve been on Wikipedia for 2 hours, going from page to page. I started looking up something for work, then I got locked into some silly article on Strong Football called “4 Time Management Hacks for the Field and Classroom”. Who’d of thunk it?
Use the notepad and write it down instead. Guess what you can do later? Go back to step one and batch your procrastination! When you need a break from digging in excel, look up your list of wonderful nothingness. But then go back to Hack #3, and set a time constraint. You have 20 minutes to look up stuff on your note pad. No more, no less.
Worried you might go over your allotted time limit, for good or bad reasons? There are some browser plugins and apps that can work as timers. That way, your day is never ever wasted.
Time management hacking is all about common sense and discipline. You could probably write down 5-10 things you could get better at just by looking at the list. Try this tactic and see if you can find some better time management hacks.
Oh, and feel free to share this with your colleagues. I don’t mind the extra eyeballs on the site.